Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tory sport monkey apologises for Hillsborough slur

Jeremy Hunt, Tory Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has been compelled to issue an apology after suggesting that the 1989 Hillsborough disaster was caused by hooliganism rather than the South Yorkshire police force's somewhat  laissez-faire approach to crowd control.

Apology not withstanding, I suspect that the good people of Liverpool will henceforth exploit the potential of young Jezzer's surname when engaging, as they frequently do, in spirited debate regarding matters of issues of sport and culture, as in 'He was a right Jeremy Hunt that ref'

You can find out more about the Hillsborough disaster and the campaign for justice for the 96 here and here.

The photograph of the Hillsborough memorial was taken by superbfc and is available under a Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0 Licence So thanks for that, mate. And before he gets ideas above his station, it's only here because my almost identical one has vanished into the digital swamp that is the My Documents folder

Monday, June 28, 2010

My success I owe to the little people. Thank you, Thank you, one and all

Well fuck me old boots, I never thought I'd see the day that this would happen:

Who'd have thought that a punctuation error and a dead fictional character could bring this kind of success? Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for the royalty checks to roll in (That is how it works, ain't it?)

You can read the post that put me top of the Google dog-pile here

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pete Quaife 1943-2010 RIP

Pete Quaife, the original bass player with The Kinks passed away this week.

There are some really cool pictures of the band in their Mod heyday over to that Yank, hippie publication, The Rolling Stone
Via Dangerous Minds

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sid Perks' death: A mystery resolved

The lack of fanfare surrounding the recent off-air death of actor Alan Devereaux from the long-running BBC Radio 4 rural soap has continued to puzzle Archers' fans across the globe. Both the actor himself and BBC mandarins have remained tight-lipped regarding the reason for his abrupt departure after more than 40 years in the role of Brummie rough diamond Sid Perks.

Where Angels Fear, whose earlier fearless report on this mystery is available here, can  now exclusively reveal that Perks' demise is not quite what it seems and is part of a major shake-up designed to bring the programme into the Age of the Fruitbat  20th Century 21st Century.

According to our moles inside the show, Perks' death was but a sham designed to pave the way for his eventual return to the series as the leader of a mysterious cult of dwarves, elves and small creatures with large appetites and hairy feet. Sid, or Gandalf Greyteeth as he now wishes to be known, is set to re-enter the show in the coming weeks.

Perks' transformation from beer-pusher to cult leader will be explained as a consequence of his visit to the Southern Lakes of New Zealand, the setting of much of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings cinema franchise.  In one story-line, Perks will successfully challenge Ambridge vicar Alan Franks for the spiritual leadership of the village.

The scouring of the shire will begin with the old homophobe's campaign to rid Ambridge of out gay couple Adam Macy and Ian Craig. A purge of the cricket team is set to follow, as Perks attempts to use runic lore to untangle the mystery that is the Duckworth Lewis method. Eventually it is hoped that an internet spin-off of the revamped format will challenge World of Warcraft  for the premier slot amongst MMPORGs

According to sources within the show, such a radical format change has become necessary to attract younger listeners. BBC chiefs are said to be worried that the programme's  demographic is a very elderly one.The average age of an Archer listener is now 107 and its audience may disappear altogether within the next few months, if not weeks. As one insider said 
For too long now, The Archers has concentrated on being a hard hitting documentary of English rural life, full of doom, gloom and agricultural disaster. We're hoping these changes will put the magic back into Ambridge and attract a different  audience more in tune with contemporary pop-culture, or at least one that doesn't need an ear-trumpet.

Other storyline developments being considered to attract younger listeners involve Jill and Josh Archer starting a on-line pornographic video production company specialising in granny porn and 'rural pursuits' (if you get my drift). Our source also said that  Pip Archer and her boyfriend Jude are to embark on a Borchester-wide murder spree after the bloody shotgun killing of  parents David and Ruth in a row over  Pip's decision not to complete her A Levels.

Unconfirmed sources also identified several promising storylines which were rejected in the shake-up. These included the discovery of oil under Grundy's Field (too folksy); a plane crashing in to the Bull (no-one wanted to work with Phil bloody Redmond) and a violent, internecine conflict over the attempt to obtain a wines and spirits licence for the Ambridge Village shop (apparently that had already been done in an earlier cast cull).

Friday, June 25, 2010

For weeks when the bed's too big and the frying pan's too wide

In every generation, for any given instrument, there comes a giant. Our instrument is the ukelele, our giant is Sophie-Madeleine. If this tune doesn't touch your heart and make you smile, then it's not a heart you have, it's a swinging brick.

Regular readers will know I like this kind of collaborative work. It's what the internet should be for.

The original tune is available for download at Bandcamp with half the dosh going to Macmillan Cancer Care. A brilliant wee tune and a good cause. What are ye waiting for? It's only coppers, after all

(Via Boing-Boing)

PS. Rosie, if you hadn't worked it out already, this one's for you.

Biggest surprise of the World Cup so far

Forget the  fabulous humiliation of the French, ignore the Italians' inglorious exit with a finishing place somewhere south of New Zealand, even put behind you the near miracle of England managing to make it through to the knockout stage on the basis of performances so moribund that the recently deceased were ringing up Gary Linneker to complain.

No, by far and away the biggest surprise of the World Cup so far was the drunk I found sleeping off England's historic scraping through the group stage victory over the footballing giant that  is Slovenia in my front garden. Yes, you heard me, MY FRONT FUCKING GARDEN!

I don't know how long he'd been there, but he wasn't tucked up in the land of Nod when I left for work. Now this was not just a run of the mill 'had a rake of drinks and dropped off while waiting for the last bus to Ballyfermot' kind of thing. We've all done that in our time. Nor was it even a 'flaked out in a shop doorway having missed said bus and it's too far to walk in my condition' fellah-me-lad. Not at all. This was more a 'what the fuck are you doing in my bedroom' class of animal at 2.45 in the afternoon. Bottle of Stella in hand,  he was curled up on my decorative gravel and dead to the world and all its occupants.
Having established that he was just drunk, not dead or in a diabetic coma, getting him out of my front garden proved harder than I expected.  I began by trying an approach I'd used many a time with pub-based drunken cat-nappers. A gentle but persistent coaxing 'come on lad you can't kip there, time to go home, etc., etc., etc.',  After 5 minutes of this he turned over, grunted and gave me the kind of look that the 14 year old me  used to give the auld one when she had to get me up for the paper round on a Sunday morning. He was going nowhere and something stronger was called for, clearly. I prodded him with the toe of me Dr Martin and went full-blown scouse on him. "Ey lah why don't you fucking do one before I call the bizzies/piss in yer ear/fetch the fuckin' hose from the garden". Nothing. Just the baby-like smile of a man at peace in the arms of Morpheus. I wondered what drugs he was taking and where I could get some.

I considered the options. I was tempted to leave him there. He might in time become a feature, like hermit in the rockery of an 18th Century aristocrat. Unfortunately, the residents association are already unhappy having a Scouser in the street lowering property values. A Scouser who gives dormitory rights to  itinerant drunks is never going to get an invite onto the parish council or the WI sale of work. In these parts, such things matter. Running the garden hose up his trouser leg and administering a Rainham Spring enema was also an option to which I gave thought. And then rejected. He knew where I lived, after all.

After a few more futile attempts involving bad language, threats,and general bluster I was no nearer rid of sleeping beauty, so I left him there and wandered up to the local cop shop. Now it's a long time since I had anything to do with the peelers in England but I had heard there'd been changes since the days when a bobby's basic response to the likes of me was a clip around the ear or a kick up the arse to send me on me merry way. It was true. In fact today, English police officers are far too rare, too important and too busy shooting suspected terrorists and arresting speeding motorists and ASBO kids to have anything to do with ordinary members of the public such as meself.

Instead of a grumpy police sergeant counting down the days to retirement, the desk at the bridewell was staffed by a civilian, a woman who wouldn't have looked out place preventing sick people from annoying a GP. After I had confided my problem she looked at me as if having a drunk England supporter asleep in the front garden was akin to admitting a case of crabs or a weakness for gin first thing in the morning.  She walked to the back of the station and emerged 5 minutes later with two 2 Police Community Support Officers. For those of you unfamiliar with the species, these were two nice young people a bit like this: 

Armed only with notebooks and walkie-talkies and completely lacking any powers of arrest, they accompanied me to the garden and bearded the rascal in what was now less my garden and more his boudoir. It took 35 minutes, several radio conversations with HQ, and a lot of cajoling and pleading to get the bugger off my property. The PCSOs' approach was hampered by the fact that both parties knew that despite their uniforms they lacked the appropriate powers to arrest and dole out a good kicking  back at the station. Flicking his ear with a finger was as close as they got to actual police brutality.He simply ignored them for the most part and just turned over and went back to sleep. His persistence in ignoring them was remarkable. He neither spoke nor acknowledged them at any point. And it was clear by the tone of the on-going burst of R/T that the lads back at the station weren't going to stir themselves while Italy were playing Slovakia on the Sky TV.

Eventually I guess it dawned on him that a mid-afternoon 40 winks in his present location had become out the question or maybe the  pleasure in winding up the nice young people had just palled and it was time to start preparing for England's defeat on Sunday next. Whatever. His departure went in stages. First he ran into the corner of the garden and hid like a naughty seven year old. That took 10 minutes.  Then he was persuaded gently onto the garden wall where he sat like a surly teenager,round-shouldered and sullen for another 10 minutes.  After that, he just went. I suspect Chav honour had been satisfied and it was time to move on. I don't know. The strangest aspect of the whole episode was that he did not utter a word throughout the whole affair. It was as if the whole thing had been staged as an attention-seeking act of dumb insolence; a kind Chavvy performance art - street theatre for the underclass.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Songs of the Summer No1: The Japandroids A Younger Us

I came across these geezers here (via the mighty Hype Machine). They too are Canadian (what is it about me and Canucks lately?) and I suspect they'd be fun guys to go for a Moosehead or a Molson with. You can find them at home here

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making the nation safe for international capital

Apart from the fact that the Lib-Dems should be ashamed of themselves, my thoughts on yesterday's budget (or should I say Phase 1 of the Tory plan to turn us into America or Indonesia or something) can be succinctly expressed thus (pay particular attention to the lyrics, kiddiewinks)


And if you want an explanation why budget took the form it did, then look no further than this chap:

Pure pop for now people

Eloquent indie pop someone called them. Sounds about right to me.

See, it just goes to show that being Canadian doesn't mean you have to sound like Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young or, God forbid, Rush. Go Canucks!!!!!

They're called Stars and you can find out more about them here   And  just by chance they have a new album out and its rather good. It's called Five Ghosts.  Compulsive shoppers amongst you can buy it here

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cheats never prosper

Cheats 1 Plucky little Ireland 0

Mexico 2 - Cheating Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys 0

Cheating Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys 1 Come on you Boers 2

Enjoy your the rest of your holliers, Thierry, with the blessings of Irish people everywhere!

Plastic Paddies to be certified: What will the feckers think of next?

According to yesterday's old lady of D'Olier St Micheál Martin has decided to go ahead with a plan to swizzle up to 70 million plastic paddies out of their hard earned hard currency in yet another scheme to bail out the blackguards above there in Dublin.

Following up on a complaint made at the Irish Global Economic Forum that indigene enterprise was failing to bleed the diaspora dry  exploit effectively the economic resource that the diaspora represents, our Micko plans to rectify the matter by issuing, for a small fee (naturally), a certificate of Oirishness.

Inspired by that ginger headed gobshite David McWilliams, the Forum noted that there was a disconnection between Ireland and the wallets ofthe diaspora, particularly those not previously ripped off  by the exhorbitant price of a passport unable to qualify for citizenship by virtue of having a parent or grandparent born in Ireland.

According to the Irish Times, Mr Martin said the Government had taken a broad and inclusive approach to defining Ireland’s global community:
“The Irish diaspora is not limited to Irish citizens living abroad or to those who have activated citizenship. Instead, it encompasses all those who believe they are of Irish descent and feel a sense of affinity with this country.”
Micheál, in an act uncharacteristic of a politician,  appears to have ripped the idea off those amadáns above at Irish Diaspora.ie  who proposed the introduction of a global ‘Emerald Card’ that anyone can apply for on proof of an Irish heritage. The card would  entitle the holder to 'various forms of acknowledgement in the tourist, travel, leisure and hospitality sector'. Aye, and anyone with an English or an American accent who has holidayed in Kerry or Connemara knows what that means, if you get my drift. And you don't need a fecking certificate to evoke it either.

Turning Irishness and Irish identity into a revenue stream isn't new, of course. I've written about the patronising,exploitative and frustrating attitudes held by indigene society towards its diasporic members before. I suppose all this does is put the roof on it and make patronising the diaspora an official state-sponsored enterprise.

I also expect that there'll be plenty of fools ready to line up and hand over their spondulicks to give a dig out to the gangsters and gombeens who run the Irish state. They'd be the same class of eejits who swallow this stuff, I suppose: 

Frank Sidebottom Dies: A Nation Mourns

A keystone of Manchester alt.cult life in the the 1980s, along with the late Hovis Presley and the fortunately still thriving Henry Normal and John Shuttleworth, Frank Sidebottom, the top man of Timperley hung up his papiermaché head for the last time yesterday. The village of Timperley would have declared a day of mourning  but decided that no-one would notice anyway. The important question remains, however, what's to become of little Frank? (Via Feasting on Roadkill)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day


James William Greenslade (1917-1969)

Liked: A pint of Threlfalls Best and a Capstan cigarette; Thin Gillette and an Easy stick; trotters, tripe and dripping on toast; Audie Murphy, Randolph Scott, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy (especially Stan); 3 card brag; Old Spice at Xmas; Al Bowly, George Formby and songs about cowboys, hobos, and dogs; 3 horse accumulators and the odd game of darts; a well cut suit with polished shoes; a good right hook and a clean kayo.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Man-Drawer

I had one of these:

Long before I saw this:

Observational comedy - It's funny because it's true.....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

If I can't dance, I don't want to to be in your revolution

People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have corpses in their mouths.
 Or, put another way

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Bloomsday: Marilyn reads our Jimmy

Stumbled across this gem of a piece of popular culture today.

Photographed in 1954 by Eve Arnold from Joyce and Popular Culture (via Dangerous Minds). Apparently she couldn't read it consecutively - well that puts her with only about 99 percent of the English speaking world then, the bimbo.

God, these bloody English. Bursting with money and indigestion: Bloomsday 2010

I shall miss my kidney breakfast and, if the weather be fair, the cycle down to Sandycove to stand at Joyce's Tower above the Forty Foot.

I shall miss the toffs in period clothes and puzzled Dubs a-wondering why an exiled, godless heathen should evoke such fuss.

I shall miss my night town ramble from Kennedy's on Westland Row, to Davy Byrne's and then to Temple Bar.

I shall miss my drink with the King of Spain's daughter or someone claiming to be such, while he, above in Capel St, outstays his welcome in Jack Nealons.

Meanwhile in the evil domain that is Apple, comic book writer Robert Berry wins a small victory and overcomes the fruit company's ban on naughty apps. His free comic book version of Ulysses is now available in an uncensored form for the iPad. You can check it out here (Thanks Sean!)

Other Bloomsday links:

Joyce Walks

Radio Bloomsday

Molly Bloom on Twitter

And if you fancy actually reading the bleeding thing.....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Birthday for black country boot boy

The old codger above used to look like this:-

and sound like this:-


I often wondered from whence David Bowie nicked that Di-di-di-di-di-didi-di bit in Starman. Now I know.

Anyway so, he's 64 today. Happy Birthday, Uncle Nodders!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

No messin' with this kid: The best live gig I never went to

I can't believe it's 15 years today since we lost Rory Gallagher. What's more I can't believe it's almost as long since I  played one of his albums. They're all in a box in my sister's attic and have been since I moved to Ireland in 1998. I've never replaced them with CDs because there's something fundamentally wrong with listening to Gallagher in a digitally remastered form. When it comes to your blues gods, crackly vinyl's yer only man, says I.

I've some fond memories of Gallagher. A single track, 'Blister on the Moon' on a Polydor sampler called 'Supergroups' sometime in 1970.(For you young 'uns, samplers were the mash-ups of their day).

That was enough. And when I found out they were Irish it was hard to contain myself. You could keep your Creams and your Pink Floyds and your Led Zeppelins who were all pussies as far as I was concerned. These guys were blood. Like subbies on payday, they did it harder, faster, sweatier and louder. Sadly, on a paper-boy's wages by the time I could afford the albums they had already broken up.

I saw Rory live only once. It was on an Island Records triple bill at St George's Hall in Liverpool with the then unheard of Roxy Music and the best forgotten Nazareth as support. As I recall, there were lots of lads in check shirts, beards and bell-bottoms who didn't really take too well to Brian Eno's Venusian chic.

But the best Gallagher gig I ever went to was a late night screening of Tony Palmer's film of Gallagher's 1974 Irish Tour at the Essoldo Cinema on Conway St in Birkenhead.  Some forward looking soul had decided to sweat the asset by opening up the fleapit to an after-hours audience of  hippies, trogs, paddies and assorted post-pub and post-summer-of-love ne'er do wells.

Economically it was probably a good idea,  but you wouldn't have to be the Gypsy Petulengro to predict public order problems with the posse assembled that night. Imagine, if you can, an ABC minors matinee audience ramped up on speed, weed, acid, cheap cider, and whatever you're having yourself. For some of these lads just the sheer excitement at being out after the pubs had closed was an excuse to riot. It would take more than an usherette with a chrome-plated torch and a sharply enunciated shhhh to get them to sit down once the first chords of 'Walk on Hot Coals' filtered into the collective consciousness.

And that was all it took. They were off and running down the front forming a sweaty drunken mass of patchouli and pot fumes: "Rory, Rory,Rory". That was the chant. It didn't matter that the man himself was probably touring half a world away. He was there in spirit 20 feet high and 40 feet wide performing full-on for the faithful.

And when it was all over, it still didn't end. Nobody noticed the end-credits and if they did, it didn't matter anyway.  The crowd had drink, they had drugs, they had the chips they'd smuggled in with them. In short,they weren't going anywhere and neither was anyone else until the man had played his usual 3 encores.

It took some time to settle down but the realisation that it was only a movie dawned on all but the most die-hard  Gallagher heads  before the bizzies were called. And, as is the way of gigs everywhere, the crowd faded into the night leaving only their detritus of chip-papers, beer cans and fag-ends as evidence of  its presence.

Anyway, here's a memento of that night.  

The photo at the top is  © 2008, Pilise Gábor.Thanks for the loan of it

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Some people have nothing better to do with their time (Thankfully)

This is the kind of geeky thing that redeems geekiness, I think. You can get the details from Daniel Drucker's page  (via Boing Boing -thanks)



Saturday, June 12, 2010

Waiting for Bonaparte: Citizen Mutineers at The Nore

if Liberty be ours O say why are not all protected
Why is the hand of Ruffian sway ‘Gainst Seamen thus Directed
Is this your proof of British rites 
Is this rewarding bravery
Oh shame to boast Your Tars Exploits
then doom those Tars to Slavery. 

It was around this date in 1797 that the naval mutiny at The Nore finally ran aground. Unlike its predecessor at Spithead the same year, the Nore mutiny was a resounding failure which resulted in the executions of 29 men.

There's a fascinating eyewitness account of the mutiny written by a Mr Bastard of Sheerness. You can find it here.  A somewhat more partisan, naval version of events by Charles Cunningham is on Google Books.

It's been suggested that the mutineers might have been influenced or at least exploited by the United Irishmen in the hope that part of the North Sea fleet might defect to France and end up as part of the fleet that would eventually free Ireland from the yoke of the British Empire. James Connolly certainly thought they were central to the mutiny.

Accounts of why the Nore mutiny failed vary but the most compelling one suggests that the Admiralty had learned its lesson after Spithead and used its own PR machine to depict the striking sailors as a kind of 'enemy within'. Presenting them as agents of revolutionary France cut them off from the popular support enjoyed by the Spithead mutineers and enabled the Government to repress the mutiny far more savagely.

Anyway, lest you're wondering, I haven't changed trades and become a naval historian. I just now live in this part of the world and there are reminders of British naval history everywhere I look. On a clear day I can see the Nore from my staff room window. But more importantly, I just wanted the chance to put this video on me blog:

The picture at the head of  this post is entitled 'Mutiny' by Geoff Hunt. If you like that kind of stuff you can find it for sale here

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sid Perks death: An Ambridge Mystery

You can find an update to this story here

As is me wont, I was lying in bed last Sunday morning catching up with the goings on down Ambridge way. I don't know what prompted it, but it occurred to me that it had been some time since I last heard the dulcet Brummie tones of old Sid Perks, genial mine homophobe landlord of the Bull.

Hello,  I thought, do we have another Pru Forrest/Kenton Archer scenario developing here? Has our Sid become a character who for years only exists in the the off-mic world, oft mentioned but never heard or seen. A denizen of the twilight world of dead air and the 3rd person reference:  "I see Sid's put 3p on a pint of Shires. I told him that's me off to the Cat &Fiddle"

Or, I postulated, has Alan Devereux, the actor who plays Sid,shuffled off this mortal coil in real life and it's but a matter of time before the script catches up events in the non-Ambridge universe. So it came as no surprise  to hear that Sid Perks had done a Jim Fixx somewhere in the wilds of New Zealand and had been killed off with nary a chance to bid his loved ones a fond farewell, let alone see England get knocked out in the quarter finals.

However, a piece in today's Times  suggests that the plot surrounding Sid's demise is thicker than Carrie Grundy's Borsetshire clotted cream. Alan Devereux has been in the show since 1962, what can he have done to incur such displeasure? Is this another case of PC gone mad?

The licence-paying public should be told.
Bonkers Boris Backs BP in Blowout Beef

In a moment to gladden the hearts of blonde bimbo enthusiasts everywhere, populist Mayor of Gotham (East) and erstwhile despoiler of Oxford hostelries, Boris Johnson today called for the people of the USA to lighten up and recognize that the BP oil disaster was 'just an accident'.

Well known Kyoto skeptic, Johnson was responding to news that BP shares had fallen 12% in the light of recent events in the colonies.

Given Boris's own immaculate record on environmental and other matters since donning the mayoral chain it's hardly a surprise to see him rise to the defence of a corporation consistently named as one of the Top 10 worst multinationals this century.

I think I hear the sound of someone's dividend about to be deferred. No new tyres on the Raleigh this year, me old son, perhaps Tony Hayward will chip in with a set for ye.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mood Music

It's a rainy afternoon in Kent, the bedsheets need changing and the vacuum cleaner is beckoning from the other side of the room. Time for a bit of Butch Walker then....

I do so like an artist what wears his influences on his sleeve.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Why religion is mad

Read this and then watch this

I may be wrong but I feel a Fatwah coming on, lads
Ok so it's nearly a year since me last post. Sorry. Now let's just move on shall we?

This was just too good to pass up

Oh how the fallen are mighty