Sunday, 29 November 2009

Deaf News

I have just watched the news with signing for deaf people.

The poor woman doing the sign language just had to give up after 3 attempts at signing Cockermouth.


Apparently they're now having terrible flooding problems in the South Yorkshire town of Penistone

Money, That's What I Want

All this fuss about thieving MPs and their abuse of the expenses system.

One sees the Labourites, having dragged themselves up by the bootstraps and still hip to the mores of the working man, putting in for a Remembrance Day wreath here, a tin of corned beef and 10 Benson there. The Tories generally had a far better handle on the opportunities on offer, what with their duck houses and moats and mood lighting and Bang and Olufsen stereo systems for the stables.

But the whole thing suggests to me a lamentable lack of ambition. The rest of the world must be pointing and laughing at this shower of craven milksops.

For example, those African chaps know how to make a few quid out of a decent government job. General Sani Abacha, de facto president of Nigeria from 1993 until 1998, is reputed to have mulcted the public purse of some US$ 3–4 billion in but 5 years. Now that's proper troughing, Mr Elliot Morley MP.

Closer to home, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has this week been voted 'Rock Star of the Year' by Rolling Stone magazine in homage to his debauched antics with an array of models, aspirant actresses, plain old tarts and foot-worshipping lesbians. Partying the night away in a manner that would have caused Caligula the odd moment of self-reflection.

Commenting on the fact that the 73-year old had been chosen unanimously by the panel for the prestigious award, Editor Carlo Antonelli observed:

'This year the choice was unanimous, for his obvious merits due to a lifestyle for which the words "rock 'n roll" fall short. Rod Stewart, Brian Jones, Keith Richards in their prime were schoolboys compared to him.'

73! And the fellow couldn't be more popular in his native land. Hell, if I were elected leader I'd behave just like that. And more besides. Scenes that the brush of Hieronymous Bosch would have hesitated to paint. Whoo yeah! Otherwise, what's the point?

British politicians would do well to take note. Forget bailing out banks and allocating more money to the cleaning of festering hospital cesspools. A little more blowing the loot on cocaine-fuelled orgies with an array of crack whores and Gordon Brown and his madcap crew of crazy funsters would be a shoo-in for the next election.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

An Eye for an Eye

Those Saudis don't fuck about, popular wisdom would have it.

The party line runs roughly thus: ruthless application of Sharia law means some pretty condign punishments for breaking the waves. Shoplifting hummous? They'll lop your hand off, without so much as a pre-sentence report.

But I'm not so sure.

Take the case of Muhammed Basheer al-Ramaly. Murdering paedophile, so to let the punishment fit the crime, the authorities have decided that he's going to be publicly beheaded with a sword, crucified, and have his head stuck on a pole pour encourager les autres.

Call that an execution? Whatever happened to chopping off his tackle, sticking it in his mouth first?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


OK you crazy cats.

Latest random long playing record is a thing called "Oh Scorpio" by a jazz beat combo that style themselves 'The Films". Fucking stupid name for a band, for a myriad reasons, but bear with me here.

Great retro sleeve, great sound! The sort of cynical yet up for it indie pop that gets MotCO playing and playing on the tortured and ill-used iPod. A serious candidate for my Record of the Year*.

Imagine, if you will, a cross between the Arctic Monkeys and the Cars, with a singer that has a twang (when affecting pain) of that fellow out of the Killers. Back when they used to be good.

You can hear some of this fine stuff here.

It's a fucking great record, but 2 things really bug me.

First, in this age of instant information, I can't find jack shit about this lot. Seriously. A wikipedia ferret-around finally gets this. It's all in sodding Greek!

Second: no publicity. No fanfare. Even Amazon seem scarcely to have heard of them. WTF?

Ah, but ranting about the music industry is a fool's game. That is why lowest common denominator wank prevails.

Unless it's something to do with decent bands apparently craving anonymity.

*An awards ceremony in Finchley awaits, with balloons, jelly, and last year's copy of The Supreme Court Practice for the lucky winner

A Gap in the Market

On the cheesy listening station of my Hackney carriage driver's electric radio set this morning, the mournful ditty 'Solitaire', as sung by the Carpenters.

Not really my cup of tea: frankly the thing's a lugubrious dirge. But with my keen ear for a tune and eye for a story I resolved to investigate the central premise, that "Solitaire's the only game in town...".

And what do you know? They're all at it. The Carpenters hailed from New Haven, Connecticut. Another version was recorded by Andy Williams (Wall Lake, Iowa). More recently Sheryl Crow (Kennett, Missouri). "A little hope goes up in smoke", indeed. Even some bloke called Elvis Presley (Tupelo, Mississippi).

All across the United States, miserable communities whose sad and empty lives remain unenlivened with a little Twister, a couple of rounds of Ker-plunk.

So here's the plan: I'm gonna open me a chain of bowling alleys, multiplex cinemas. Give those mid-western folks a taste of the good times. It'll be like printing money. Gonna sell 'em some chess sets out the back. I'll clean up!

The song was originally written by crooner Neil Sedaka, whom Wikipedia tells me was born in Brooklyn, New York City. Now either he's the biggest liar on earth, or those Islamo-fundamentalist crackpot chaps have got their heads seriously up their arses on this whole Great Satan thing.

Monday, 16 November 2009


The hot tipple amongst the kids that know is Bordeaux Clairet. Light, voluptuous, fresh and very aromatic wines with a luminous ruby colour; a lighter, more aromatic version of Bordeaux AOC wines, made according to the tradition of the first wines exported to the United Kingdom.

Darker than a rosé, lighter than a red. Nose of redcurrants and fox terriers. South facing slope. Trodden by Serge and Gaston.

Best yet: gets a chap utterly rendered, but with style.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Class Envy

So Gordano and his henchmen in ZanuLabour P.F. now plan to withdraw the child care vouchers that have proved reasonably successful in getting folk off their arses and back into work. The reasoning seems to be that occasionally the odd family that might just about class itself as middle class might actually save a few quid in tax through the scheme. The sort of riches that leads to a new pair of shoes for the kids once in a while, the ability to pay for them to go on the school trip.

I declare no vested interest in this, as I pay through the nose to educate the MotCOlings privately. Why? (a) because I (just about) can, and (b) I do not want them taking crack in the playground and being stabbed.

However, the whole thing fucking stinks.

It's another dogwhistle to the sort of lumpenproletariat welfare-guzzling scroungers that voted for this shower of faeces in Glasgow last night. 70 years - 70 YEARS - of ceaseless deprivation and they're still too thick/off their tits on Buckie to get it.

"Yeah: all your problems are caused by those nasty middle class characters, what with their jobs and their shiny cars and their clean kids that are actually encouraged to eat food and study. So we're going to take some more money off the fat greedy sods and use it to make your lives a little better. Few more benefits, more ciggies and smack for you."

The dribbling fools lap it up. It's why there are still 'safe' Labour seats.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Speaking Unto the Void

Blimey: feel like I speak unto the void, like that dude in the Bible, but what the fuck.

Today's theme: pop music snobbery.

Cecilia Bartoli (bless her) having finally introduced a sense of ennui, the MotCO iPod now features the new long player from Echo and the Bunnymen as Top of the Week's Pops.

Entitled 'The Fountain', for fans of this sort of thing, I think it's skill! Really! Jingly jangly indie-pop with a dash of world-weary cynicism and the near-tearful plangent sound of Ian McCulloch's voice. A dashed cut above the scrawny devils that infect the MotCOlings' chums' stereos, that's for sure*.

You'd think that fans of Ian M and indeed the band would rejoice in a new record with decent songs and all the rest of it, not least to rise above the common pap. But no!

Look at these cunts!

And these!

"Oh well they were far better in my day, and it's not the same thing, and I was into them before they were anybody, and the songs are a bit too good now, blah blah blah de fucking blah...."

Pretentious fucking tossers. They would seriously prefer that their favourite band had stopped making records in, like, 1982, so they could now spend their time listening to Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver and introverted shite like that.

Lesson time, pals: these dudes are now 30 years older.

As are you. Now fuck off.

*as part of their expensive education, the MotCOlings are at present rationed to a diet of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Their pals (such as they have) call them weirdos. But they will SUFFER.

Executive Relief

Anyway, who says it's not big or clever to drink?

I'm 6 foot 3, a professor of Ontological Dualism, and get royally slaughtered on a nightly basis.

And based on my epidemiological studies conducted in a nameless Irish city over a recent 3 day period, 100% of respondents over 6 foot in professional employment drank at least 15 pints in any given 24 hour period.

So fuck off, teetotallers. And the arse to your lies.

Who Says You Can't Polish a Turd?

In today's exciting episode, Telly Savalas does Portsmouth.

He sounds a tad jaded: if I didn't know better, I'd say Birmingham took a little out of him.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Romantic Weekend Minibreak

To Cork, for a weekend's cultural stimulation.

It may have a climate to make Manchester look like the Côte d'Azur, and over-zealous hotel staff who become a trifle exercised about a chap or two exercising the equitable remedy of self-help, but for my money a fine city, with many many fine buildings worthy of detailed scrutiny.

A typical art gallery

As a place with more than its share of more or less ginger-haired alcoholics, a chap like me could feel right at home. Much like Telly Savalas and Birmingham, "I can't sing it like he can, but I can assure you, this is 'My Kind of Town' ".

Thursday, 5 November 2009

A & E

To St Bart's Hospital, where I trust they will be able to staunch the blood flow after next door-but-one's ginger Tom got wind of my culinary schemes and engaged in a spirited self-defence

Fact of the Day: Bonfire Night Special

Guy Fawkes chose November 5th as the evening to blow up Parliament because the sound of the explosions would be hidden by the fireworks of bonfire night.

Carrion Porn

Fascinating article on Melvyn Bragg's radio 4 show today, all about the Münster Rebellion of 1534-5

Dovetailing nicely with the central themes of one of my favourite books, 'Q', by a posse of Italian know-it-alls masquerading - for knowingly ironic reasons I cannot fathom - under the name of former Watford association football player Luther Blisset, the article featured a trio of donnish types rattling through the mayhem that ensued when a motley crew of Anabaptists seized control of the German city duting the Reformation.

Prophecies, rebaptism, God's judgment, famine, warfare, unimaginable acts of cruelty, demagogue cocks having their cocks nailed to doors and some uber-loon running the show taking unto himself 16 wives* before it all went tits-up with terrible inevitability, segueing gently into insane acts of torture and the bodies of the ringleaders being hung from the church steeple in cages that are still there to this very day. The story really has it all: I don't know why nobody's made a movie out of it yet - perhaps a Bollywood version would suit, with lots of jolly singing and dancing. That Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall chap would do well to take note before making any more of his action-light carrion porn.

But the central message I take from all of this is that folk really will subscribe to any bug-eyed, batshit nonsense you can conceive of - and then some - in the name of religion. And once we've sorted out the world economy and developed a cure for swine flu and all the rest of it, we're still gonna be left with that one.

*He's alleged to have chopped one of their heads off in the market square, although such of his pals as survived the slaughter claimed this to be Papist propaganda, thus foreshadowing the antics of both Henry VIII and the population of Ulster.


Owl pellets!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A Cautionary Tale

According to my secret sources, a black bear is alleged to have set about and killed a bunch of jihadists in Kashmir.

What part of the Almighty's plan were they engaged in when this evil fate befell them? Washing and praying? Setting roadside bombs? Beheading villagers?

No! Loafing in a cavern. Eating pudding.

That was no bear. That was Shaitan. Punishing them for their decadence and greed.

The Post Office is Shit

Just had to go and send something recorded delivery. Or was it registered? Fuck knows.

What a miserable, depressing place. After I'd roamed the streets of London Town for ages trying to find one that hadn't been shut down (the 2 nearest to the Slave Pits having recently taken the axe), one enters this drab, overheated, tatty shithole, peeling posters enticing the gullible with 'best value' travel insurance, a row of 'service' windows as far as the eye can see, all but one unmanned, and a queue that stretched twice round Aldwych and all the way to Nelson's Column.

Old biddies paying 'the electric'. Dossers collecting their pitiful stipend to squander on fags, cider and Sky Sports. And the occasional business type actually seeking to conclude a business transaction, forced to waste oceans of time waiting. Endlessly waiting.

I'd compare the experience to waiting in line to see an official about, I dunno, a permit to purchase bread in communist East Germany. Except I expect that the officials there, as a minimum, actually spoke intelligible German.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A Quiet Evening In

Last night, for the first time since about 1997, I sat down and watched a DVD.

Entitled 'Cook on the Wild Side', it featured an engaging fellow named Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. A floppy-haired, well-educated chap, he reminded me very much of me, except that instead of suffering excruciating hangovers on a daily basis and occasionally dispensing legal advice, Hugh seems to spend his time driving around rural Wales in a battered Land Rover and eating crows.

While to my mind the show could have profited from a few deviant sex angles and the odd car chase, I'm all for the basic premise of self-sufficiency and harvesting nature's bounty. Inspired by his lifestyle, I have resolved to try the Hemingway thing, hunting, gathering, catching my own supper, for myself.

Admittedly wildlife is a bit thin on the ground at and around MotCO Towers. The odd squirrel, a few wood pigeons, nothing more than an amuse-bouche, really. I shall therefore commence my new culinary Odyssey with the neighbours' cats.

Monday, 2 November 2009


Edwin Starr famously asked "War War, huh, yeah. What is it good for?".

His conclusion - absolutely nothing - rather missed the point. War's great for invading one's enemies, imposing one's political and social systems upon them and murdering and enslaving their people. Plundering of resources and generally fucking shit up is a bonus.

It's also a neat way to road test your new military hardware. Keep the common soldiery out of domestic mischief. And let the world at large know you're not going to stand for any tomfoolery.

Few countries understand this like my own. Since the end of World War 2 the UK has become embroiled in more international armed conflicts than any other on earth. That's a fact, fact fans.

Oddly, for a nation of cookery-obsessed pansies, the French run us a pretty close second. I expect that fairly soon the UN will organise a Charity Shield-style play-off for the title of Hardest Nation on Earth.

Spiders on Drugs!

Not sure why the cretin that upped this to Youtube had to stamp the words 'real funny' on the thing, mind. American, I'd wager.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Gaping Maw of Hell

Crap jokes aside, I am heartily sick of pumpkins.

Much of the year goes by in a thankfully pumpkin free blur of root crops, salad greens and the occasional butternut squash for amusing phallic relief.

But for one weekend... I have been obliged to carve, insert candles into, peel, dice, reduce with garlic and purée the devil's own legion of pumpkins.

Next year they get plastic ones. Curse them.

Hoots, mon

Prince Charles is visiting an Edinburgh hospital. He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness and greets one. The patient replies:

"Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin race,
Aboon them a ye take yer place,
Painch, tripe or thairm,
As langs my airm."

Charles is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient. The patient responds:

"Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat an we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit."

Even more confused, and his grin now rictus-like, the Prince moves on to the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:

"Wee sleekit, cowerin, timrous beasty,
O the panic in thy breasty,
Thou needna start awa sae hastie,
Wi bickering brattle."

Now seriously troubled, Charles turns to the accompanying doctor and asks "Is this a psychiatric ward?"

"No," replies the doctor, "this is the serious Burns unit."

Caged Beast

Took the kids to a zoo at the weekend.

All they had was one poxy dog.

It was a Shih Tzu.