Monday, January 30, 2006


Over on his blog, the redoubtable Jim Bliss has done a blog meme that's going round called 7x7. Seven questions to the blogger that want seven things listed in response.

The last one is who you want to do it next, and he's tagged me. So here it is.

There's two questions that I thought would make it more interesting - 'things I've done only once' and a music one (books and movies but no music?) - so I added them. Then realised that'd make it 9x7. In order to preserve the neatness of the title I gave nine things for each answer, and so it's 9x9 that I expect my list of tagees to answer.

Nine Things To Do Before I Die

Hmm, if I have plans then I tend to be setting them in motion, so it doesn't leave a lot of room for long-term aching desires. Still, let's have a go.

I do agree with Jim Bliss' 'meet David Bowie', but it seems too easy to copy his, even if they're mine too.

1. Dance on Margaret Thatcher's grave.
2. Write more political work - more important, more compelling, more convincing, and more by sheer volume.
3. Be in a band that really means something but is still loads of fun. Yeah, I know.
4. Play a major role in the eradication of all extant copies of the recorded works of Chris De Burgh.
5. Dance again out of pleasure rather than to prove a point to myself or because I've overdone my intake. Having my thighbone held together by an assortment of metalwork is an impediment on that front, but Thatcher karking it might be just the incentive I need.
6. Go and make it happen.
7. Take the world in a love embrace.
8. Fire all of my guns at once.
9. Explode into space.

Nine Things I Cannot Do

1. Get by in any language other than English. Oh the joys of an imperialist education system.
2. Abide David Sylvian. I once had a terribly convincing article published entitled 'Why Japan Are The Worst Band Ever'.
3. Put both my legs behind my head at the same time. Any more.
4. Drive a motor vehicle. Well, I drove a Citroen BX estate home one time, but it was an automatic at 4am with no other cars around, so it doesn't really count does it.
5. Roll the letter R. This has been an admittedly small factor in my Welsh vocabulary remaining static at about 50 words.
6. Remember all the words to All You Need Is Love. It was written to be broadcast on the world's first satellite TV link-up, so in order to be understood around the globe it was deliberately made memorable and simple. Yet I bet you can't remember them all either. And how many times have we heard it? Weird.
7. Draw.
8. Keep up with Jim Bliss' bong intake. We tried once. My daily maximum was about a tenth of his.
9. Be concise much. As if 7x7 didn't offer enough answers already.

Nine Things That Attract Me To A Person I Find Attractive

1. Sparkle.
2. Warmth.
3. Compassion.
4. Drive.
5. Playfulness.
6. Up for it ness.
7. Ability to sense significance in small things, and to make big significant things seem straighforward, simple and easy. Feels like there should be a one-word way to say it. 'Thoughtfulness' comes close.
8. The sense that I'm going to learn a lot from them.
9. A love of gratuitous weirdnesses.

Nine Things I Say

1. Fuck (and assorted cognates thereof, including a particular favourite in 'fucksight', meaning 'large quantity')
2. That's the badger
3. Your first allegiance must be to truth
4. It's like at Newbury when...
5. Yer ma's arse
6. Everyone have what they want and I'll have all the rest
7. Mornings are wonderful, just not at the start of your day
8. You can't beat a good otter
9. Put these on and call me your bitch

Nine Things I've Only Done Once And Don't Expect To Do Again

1. Snorted chilli sauce
2. Bought methadone
3. Had a notably muscular man try his best to shove a pineapple up my arse. There is photographic evidence of the event. Which has been made into a jigsaw.
4. Been shut in a room with just me and a millionaire
5. Been to Norway
6. A bloke tied out to a 6 foot pentagram
7. Stayed awake for four days
8. Not shat for a week
9. Met Patti Smith

You have to guess which, if any, of the above events were interrelated. Anyone who comes up with a one-week scenario involving all nine wins a prize.

Nine Songs I Don't Think I Could Live Without

1. High Hills Lament - Seize The Day. Although the recorded version is awful (cheesy keyboard and off-key harmonies), but the song itself is the most powerful I know. More likely to make me cry than any other.
2. Ace of Spades - Motorhead
3. Natural High - Bloodstone. The loveliest thing ever recorded, like a warm bath of chocolate duvets.
4. Northern Sky - Nick Drake
5. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) - Frank Wilson. The ultimate soaring Motown stomper.
6. Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks. It's all about the backing vocals with the Kinks, you know.
7. The Way You Look Tonight - Peggy Lee
8. Headstart For Happiness - The Style Council (the free-flying early B-side version, not the clumsy album version with Dee's awful vocal)
9. Electric - The Church. They've done loads better and loads I prefer but, unique among their repertoire, there are times when only this song will do.

Nine Good Books

1. The Modern Antiquarian - Julian Cope
2. Collected Essays, Letters & Journalism - George Orwell
3. Suzy, Led Zeppelin & Me - Martin Millar
4. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things - Jon McGregor
5. What A Carve Up! - Jonathon Coe
6. Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut
7. So Shall We Reap - Colin Tudge
8. Complicity - Iain Banks
9. Love - Mahalia

Nine Good Movies

1. Cinema Paradiso (Director's Cut)
2. Casablanca
3. Withnail & I
4. Once Were Warriors
5. Amelie
6. Stardust Memories
7. The Last Temptation of Christ
8. Apocalypse Now
9. Head

Nine Blogs To Tag

1. Goldfish Nation
2. Kerosene Oyster Hell
3. Pandemian (formerly Green Fairy)
4. Uncarved
5. Dreamflesh (that one so interesting and intelligent blogs so rarely is truly a loss to us all)
6. James Davies
7. Rhythmicginger!
8. Cookie Loves Cake (she'll be embarrassed that her travel journal gets shoved above the parapet like this, but I'm too intrigued not to nominate her)
9. Boris Johnson. Nine things to do before he dies? Have just enough time to count quickly to nine right now, hopefully. Twat.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

la lucha continĂșa

Just got an email from a friend who's fluent in Spanish and English. She got a last-minute call to go to Venezuela to interpret at the World Social Forum.

The WSF started five years ago to provide a platform for people and groups opposed to globalisation to meet with others from around the world. It hosts tens of thousands of delegates from a broad range of anti-capitalist, social justice and anti-corporate struggles.

The mass media still don't want to get it, either painting it as scarily radical or - like the BBC saying delegates are there to 'discuss fair trade, debt forgiveness and indigenous rights' - thinking it's merely about Bono-esque tinkering with the fringes of the system.

My friend's ticket out there was paid for by the Venezuelan government! Can you imagine the UK government paying for translators to come to the London WSF?!

the forum is incredible, in the sense of unbelieveable. the most chaos i have ever seen in my life! i am staying in the hilton, which resembles a luxury refugee camp - we are crammed 13 to a room, but every morning they come with clean towels and make the beds!?

and the political stuff is amazing. last night i was interpreting for a group of venezuelan women who have got into politics through the last elections, campaigning for chavez, and who were so shy they would not speak to the meeting, but they would whisper to me so i could translate, and that way, communicate with a radical turkish womens activists. it nearly made me cry!

the day before i was in a conference booth, interpreting for a seminar about the victory of evo morales in bolivia and the nationalisation of bolivia's oil. that was really amazing, a big theatre, totally full. one of the speakers was from petrobras, the brazilian oil company, nationalised by lula, but also a multinational that controls the oil in bolivia. he made a speech supporting the bolivian constituent assembly and the nationalisation of the oil, it was really weird.

the rest of the panel were indians from brazil and ecuador, talking about the new south america, and an end to 500 years of colonialism. the talks had to stop for 10 minutes because the audience got so excited, shouting and stamping. and some of the indigenous women who spoke from the floor were so amazing we had to keep changing interpreter, because it brought tears to the eyse to translate it!

the government involvement is pretty wierd. there are military everywhere. yesterday i was interpreting at a military airport, with planes and helicopters landing on the other side of the field, and lots of indians in full head dress walking around! but there really seems to be a grassroots involvement in politics that i have never seen anywhere. there are stalls all over the place selling copies of all the different laws, and people actually buy them and read them. all the venezuelan people i have met here seem to really "own" their political process, like they feel that it is theirs and they actively take part in it. and murals everywhere, with everything from "viva the revolution" to "pay your taxes for good eduction"!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

an evening at the crow

The other week I went up a mountain an whoah, I loved it. The big sweep of rural vista hit something primal, essential and marvellous.

But oh how i love the urban environment too. The feel of so much life going on around you, and the peculiar beauty to be found. If you ignore what the rules and the money are telling you to do, there's so much to discover.

In the middle of Leeds is an underpass that was closed a few years ago because nobody used it, preferring instead to take their chances crossing the busy road above.

As Bill Bryson said,

Architects and city planners and everyone else responsible for urban life seems to have lost sight of what cities are for. They are for people. That seems obvious enough, but for half a century we have been building cities that are for almost anything else: for cars, for businesses, for developers, for people with money and bold visions who refuse to see cities from ground level, as places in which people must live and function and get around.

Why should I have to walk through a damp tunnel and negotiate two sets of stairs to get across a busy street? Why should cars be given priority over me? How can we be so rich and so stupid at the same time?

Coming up out of the central Leeds ex-underpass is an escalator, now also disused. The steel steps are collapsing and it is being colonised by moss.

I love the way such a slow-growing, so soft and gentle an organism is reclaiming something so hard as steel, something usually moving, scraping and shiny.

When I consider not just its aesthetic value, but its symbolic value too, what it says about how readily nature reclaims land, how there are secret special places all around, then I have to say it is one of the most moving and beautiful things I've ever seen.

And it's just sat there, in the open, for anyone to see if they would look.

There are so many bits of useable things left around the place, and those with a bit of imagination and suss can make a lot from it. Not just in what it makes us think and feel, but in the opportunites of things to do.

There are hundreds of disused buildings just there for the taking. In Leeds we periodically open one up under the name Aspire and show political films, run a cafe, do workshops to educate each other and put on the best parties the city ever sees.

Aspire's not the only ones. Last week a disused pub by the Tetley brewery was opened as a squat gig venue. Previously called The Crown, the n was removed to rechristen it The Crow (giving rise to innumerable Withnail 'an evening at the Crow' references).

Last night there was a Queer Mutiny gig.

Queer Mutiny have done nights at Aspire and other squats before, making a space that's pushing for joyous demolition of gender roles and gender itself, giving people the space to challenge and celebrate their notions of sexuality.

The bands were corking. I was late so missed The Unpleasants, which is Gareth Brown out of Hood doing a solo thing that sounds like creepy European fairground music soundtracking a tense horror movie. Incidentally, by coincidence McClusky once did a song called Gareth Brown Says that has one of my favourite opening lines ever; 'all your friends are cunts and your mother is a ballpoint pen thief'.

Which brings us to the first band I did see, Boycunt. Guitar, drums and vocals, mean riffing, power-clockwork beats and low cathartic vocals. This was raw, mesmeric, moronic, serrated yet somehow eerie punk. Fury, power, simplicity, significance. It's the first time in over a decade I've seen a band that made me want to start one just like it of my own.

On the way in to the gig I hadn't understood what was meant when someone on the door had asked if I wanted tit tape. When Jean Genet hit the stage I realised. Both of them, and all of a sudden a good half of the audience, had bare chests with an X of tape over each nipple, as pioneered by punk original Wendy O Williams of The Plasmatics.

It's not just the tit-tape they have in common with Williams' band. Theatrical, hyperactive, stridently sexual, playful; they have punk energy continued on a totally different tack from Boycunt. The heavy pounding darkness is nowhere to be found. With guitar, keyboard and laptop, they jump and grind like horny felines with heads full of tartrazine. If Boycunt are semtex, Jean Genet are a fireworks factory going up in flames.

This feels like all the intent and reason for punk rather than punk in the sense of 1977 chord progressions and shouty macho vocals. Fun, fizzing energy and the sense of something to say take precedence over musical prowess. They sing bold infectiously kinetic songs about their lives and hearts, and that honesty and wit is utterly compelling. It feels bouncy, real, bright and powerful, it makes almost all other music seem boringly tame, coldly cerebral, cynically commercial, lifeless, overworked, or some combination thereof.

Using a karaoke version of Eye Of The Tiger as the backing track for rapping! Singing about how if this mic was your penis you'd have shot your load by now! Doing a songs about your lover taking ages to come and you really need to piss so eventually you piss on them and that's the thing that makes them finally pop, and preforming it writhing on the floor with a water pistol!

They are The Clash to the Scissor Sisters' Elton John. It's many years - since I first saw Spearhead in fact - since I've seen a band that made me want to catch them at all future opportunities.

Stood there, seeing two amazing bands in one amazing squatted venue for free, drinking wine made for free out of fruit rescued from the bins at a city centre wholesalers. How totally DIY, how totally cool.

I so love the urban life. I seriously doubt whether you could find a gig like that in Rhosneigr or Ormskirk on a Wednesday night.

Monday, January 23, 2006

donkeys vs lizards

As regular readers will know, I hold a deep conviction that Chris De Burgh is evil.

And I'm pleased to report that, despite - let's name and shame here - Jim Bliss trying to stuff the ballot box in De Burgh's favour, the poll in the sidebar shows that a clear majority of you agree with me.

So share in the emotional turmoil that has overwhelmed me since I discovered that De Burgh is nice to donkeys. In 1999 he joined a sponsored walk for a donkey sanctuary and played two benefit gigs for them.

Chris De Burgh and some donkeys

Perhaps he's trying to mess with our understanding of moral absolutes, he's trying to soften us up, it's all part of his evil plan to let the lizards catch us unawares.

Don't let the equine cosiness make you drop your guard. He could strike at any time.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

coming for your nuts

First they came for the smokers, and I did not speak out because I was not a smoker. Then they came for the peanuts...

Last Thursday The Independent published a truncated version of my post about cannabis reclassification on their letters page.

The next day there was a response:

Peanuts in peril

Sir: Merrick Godhaven should be careful (letter, 12 January). Peanuts are banned on major airlines because of their potential to cause injury to a few passengers. The airlines led the way in banning smoking, soon to be ubiquitous. Peanuts may be next.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

rob the poor to pay the rich

Bob Geldof has been recruited to advise the new shiny sexy touchy-feely Tory party on stuff.

He says, 'I'll shake hands with the devil on my left and the devil on my right to get to where we have need to be'.

Thing is, when you shake hands and do deals with the devil, the devil tends to have his price, and he makes sure that he wins.

The Tories have seen the cred that the Blair and the G8 got from rubbing shoulders with Geldof and garnering his praise even when they reinforced the systems of poverty the G8 preside over. Unsurprisingly, the Tories would like a bit of that.

After their decade of unelectable slapheads, here is someone who can possibly give the Conservatives an effective rebrand. As well as hiring Bob Geldof, they've got The Ecologist's editor Zac Goldsmith on board for their environmental overhaul.

As Jim Bliss has said, with the big environmental issues like climate change and the energy crisis, there is nothing the government can do about it so they are ideal opposition party issues. The Conservatives can say they'd do it all better and be oh so green and brandish Goldsmith and his top tips as evidence of it.

But it's all just like the way Cadillac offered to let members of The Doors have personal input into the development and promotion of fuel efficient hybrid cars if the band would let Break On Through be used in a new TV ad for Cadillac SUVs. It's not about getting any development of the fuel efficient cars, it's a way to get what they want in order to sell loads of the gas guzzlers.

In finding out from Geldof and Goldsmith what to say in order to appear righteous, the Tories will give themselves the kudos they need to regain power and funnel wealth to the rich.

Cameron talks about people wanting 'prosperity for themselves and progress for the poor'. Thing is, the progress for us is largely predicated on the poverty of the poor; it's one versus the other. No prizes for guessing which side Cameron's on in that fight.

Nor is there any whiff of criticism from the Tories about the conditions put on the G8's debt 'relief'. The Tories, like the G8, exist to continue and consolidate rather than confront the power of the rich.

In accepting his position with them, Geldof presumes that the Tories are changeable into a force for global economic and social justice. This presumption also lay behind the G8 lobbying in the summer. These rulers are somehow going to voluntarily give up their sources of power if we only ask nicely. If we tell them of the horrors, they will agree it's bad and make the necessary changes.

Do we really think that they would change what they do if only they knew the effects? That they don't already know full well what they're doing?

With the stark contrast between what the G8 deal meant and what Geldof said about it, many started to ask what he was doing.

With customary incisiveness, George Monbiot wrote a piece on Geldof called The Man Who Betrayed The Poor.

He rightly drew attention to the fact that the G8 fucked the poor nations over, that many of the Make Poverty History organisations said as much, and yet Geldof says it was all great. 'On aid, 10 out of 10; on debt, eight out of 10 - Mission accomplished frankly'

But Monbiot's reason for Geldof's betrayal never sat right with me: 'by ensuring that the campaign was as much about him as about Africa, he ensured that if they failed, he failed. He needed a story with a happy ending'.

Sure, Geldof clearly has an ego the size of a cricket pitch, but it's equally clear that he doesn't do this stuff just for his own personal glory. He's not got any long term goals riding on the success of Live8, and as anyone who's read Is That It? knows, he's robust enought to handle failure.

But what else could there be? He's not so stupid as to believe aid conditionality is benevolent, he undoubtedly did want to say there was a happy ending despite knowing it wasn't the case.

A recent BBC TV documentary showed behind the scenes footage of the organisation of Live8. Two days before the concerts, word reached Geldof that the summit wasn't in fact going to be benevolent. Up to his ears in sorting out where Mariah Carey and Pink Floyd were going to be in the running order, he didn't have time to speak out. Curiously, nor did he want to.

He said (I may be paraphrasing slightly) that you have to make the people who supported the campaign feel like they'd had success, or else you create a generation of cynics.

Firstly, the people who turned up at Live8 weren't really trying to change anything. They were going to a gig.

But turning to the real issues, the G8 is not about solving world poverty or handing out real charity, let alone justice. It is about consolidating and expanding its own power. It is about increasing the scope and depth of global inequality and injustice.

If Geldof had said, 'the summit was a bag of shit. These people are never going to relinquish their power easily. They use poverty to keep themselves rich,' it would certainly have made those who put hope in Make Poverty History feel let down by the G8. It would encourage them to take power back, to seek the more radical solutions that are the only way poverty will ever be made history. Centralised power of the rich is not a mechanism for equality, it is an obstacle to it.

What of those people who - in their millions thanks to the efforts of Make Poverty History - have a good working knowledge of trade barriers, international debt and the other devices and methods the rich nations use to make the poor suffer? Those people who saw the conditionality and knew the deals were a stitch up; how cynical will they get seeing Geldof praise the things that do not make poverty history but make poverty worse? Those people - newly awakened to the issues, keen to make a difference, ready to devote serious effort - are being told that it's all fine, shut up and go back home.

Seeing someone with no party allegiance, with experience, insight and credibility, go and knowingly lie and praise the machinery of poverty; that will breed cynics on a scale far beyond anything caused by telling the truth.

Such momentum is being made to fizzle and die because, what, it's a bigger job than we thought? Let's allow the rape and robbery of the majority of humanity to continue for our material benefit cos, what, it'll take real commitment and sacrifice and we don't know if we'll succeed?

You see the most monumental injustice ever perpetrated. You see who's pushing it. You see millions wanting to turn it around. But you're told that it's gonna take more than a few weeks of asking nicely, so in fact there's not actually a problem at all. How cynical will that make you?

To treat all those well-informed people as being too stupid to realise what the deal meant betrays them, their intelligence and their potential.

But more and worse, it betrays those who will continue to be the victims of the globalisation Geldof has reinforced and, in handing himself over as a marketing tool of the Tories, continues to reinforce.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

talking shite on cannabis

Independent columnist Deborah Orr agrees that the proposed re-grading of cannabis back up to Class B is daft.

She points to the supposed motive for the plan - the mounting evidence that cannabis can trigger psychotic episodes in people predisposed to them - and notes that the link seems to be stronger with skunk than with weaker forms. So she concludes, 'I'd be happy to see skunk and hash given different legal classifications.'

Firstly, there is hash made from skunk that's every bit as strong as the simple herbal stuff.

But ignoring that, let's take the point that the stronger forms are somehow more dangerous. Cannabis users do not toke and toke until it's all gone, they hit a point of feeling high enough. Stronger cannabis means the user uses less cannabis to reach that desired level.

As smoking is by far the most common form of ingestion, weaker forms mean more smoking and more smoking-related ailments, ranging from bronchitis to fatal cancer.

Also, herbal cannabis in plant form cannot be cut with adulterants. Resins and processed products, however, have bulking agents added. I'd readily wager that the paraffin wax and plastic and assorted other crap mixed into resin do more harm than smoking pure resin.

She also challenges the idea of 'no victim, no crime'.

so many people are untroubled by the idea of taking part in illegal acts that they perceive as being damaging only to themselves. (Not true, of course, since the international drug trade is so ruthless and pitiless).

Increasingly, people in the UK are growing their own cannabis. Home growers do not process their crop into hash, that's something for those who want to ship it around the world, the ruthless and pitiless people Deborah refers to. This is another way in which herbal cannabis does less harm.

The trap both she and the Home Secretary have fallen into is the presumption that legalisation implies endorsement and encouragement. This would be no more true of legalising cannabis than it was of repealing the Suicide Act.

When cannabis was decriminalised in the Netherlands, use went down for the following six years. Today, despite our different legislative approaches, Dutch people are approximately half as likely to use cannabis as a British citizen.

Legalisation brings the production and distribution under control, thus eliminating the ruthless pitiless gangs from the picture, and the toxic adulterants from the product.

Prohibition increases the damage done by recreational drugs and completely fails at all of its stated objectives.

Even if the evidence of cannabis as a trigger for psychotic episodes in the predisposed does turn out to be absolutely true, it is still no reason to change the legal staus of the drug. As I've said previously;

Millions of us enjoy peanut products every day, but for a few people with undiagnosed latent allergies, peanut use is very damaging, even fatal. There has been a massive increase in peanut allergies in recent years and the government has done nothing, effectively encouraging this dangerous peanut use.

How dare the government be soft on peanuts. How dare these people who use peanuts recreationally - not one of whom truly needs the nuts - want them to be freely available and thus allow those with latent allergies to be exposed to the dire consequences. Pubs and supermarkets across the country are pushing deadly peanuts, profiting from the suffering of innocent children. Those who call for the legalisation of Star Bars and peanut butter M&Ms are calling for peanut-allergic children to fall dead in the playground. Ban these evil peanuts.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

thunder in the mountains

A bit achey today but glad of it, as yesterday I climbed Ingleborough which is, by a whisker, the second highest mountain in Yorkshire.

There are of course more appropriate climbs for me

but sometimes you need the variety.

There's a satisfyingness to the kind of discomfort I now feel, an honesty to being tired like this; it reconnects with something primal and integral that modern plasticised life denies us.

Certainly, there was beauty to behold and consider up there. The peculiarity of limestone pavements, the spectacular views, the frozen bubbles in chunks of ice two inches thick we pulled off pools that glowed and prickled as the light caught them, drinking the cold water coming straight from the mountaintop spring - but these weren't the half of it.

The real value is derived from the things that discourage your mind. Up on top of the mountain there was a terrific icy wind, like having a sub-zero CO2 fire extinguisher set off in your face. When you stop flinching and revel in it, it delivers an exhilaration that non-physical or easily alleviated experiences simply cannot.

Despite being too tired to speak for the last half hour of the descent, it was not overstretching. Indeed, this hitting of limits and becoming less cerebral and more animal is a lot of the point. It leaves you refeshed, more complete, rejuvenated and ready to do your other stuff better.

One of the pioneers of modern mountaineering understood it in precisely these terms. Although his day job was Professor of Chemistry at London University, Norman Collie knew that the nourishment one's soul can derive from high open spaces is beneficial to the other more urban and intellectual parts of one's life.

A hundred years ago he wrote:

Many are the memories one can bring back from the mountains, some of the peace and some of the stern fights with the elements, but they are all memories of freedom. The restraints of ordinary life no longer hold us down, we are in touch with nature - the sky the winds, the waters and the earth, surely these ancient elements of life can teach us secrets that a more protected existence hides from us.

Monday, January 02, 2006

climate indymedia

The facts speak for themselves.

2005 was the hottest year on record in the northern hemisphere. The ten hottest years on record have all been in the last fifteen.

The Thames Barrier was completed in 1983; it has had to be raised against tidal surge more times in the last five years than in the previous eighteen.

If we're to have any hope of finding a solution to the problems of climate change, we can't wait for those at the top to take the lead nor merely change our own individual lives, we have to co-ordinate info and action.

Taking the successful grassroots Indymedia format and applying it to the most important issue of our time, the new Climate Indymedia site compiles mass-media reports with direct action write-ups and activist inspiration and networking.

Also worthy of a mention, the Rising Tide network of small groups and individuals. The RT site has loads of resources and info as well as ideas and info on doing something about it all.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

happy new year

The festive season is a time for intoxication and tradition. As ever, at the new year turn of midnight I was drunkenly singing Ace of Spades, and I note now that new traditions are emerging.

Last new year the most memorable thing was one of my mates fucking an orange. My friend Ben was absent from that particular highlight as he'd hired a car to do an illegal urban minicab service and make some cash. He lost about 20 quid on it.

This new year the two factors - one man's sexual debauchery and Ben's foolish losing of money - combined.

The orange-fucker wondered if it'd do any real harm to put a party popper up your arse and set it off. Ben, fresh in from a night's work at a restaurant, foolishly bet me 50 quid - more than his night's wage - that Captain Orange wouldn't do it.

A deal was brokered (20 quid to me, 30 quid to the man himself), and an audience of a dozen stood in the gents in rapt amazement and admiration as the pooper-popper was set off.

What delights these traditions may bring us next new year, only the most squalid of minds could dare to imagine. Suggestions please.