Sunday, 11 May 2008

Pissing in the gene-pool

There’s some jolly good stuff in the Daily Telegraph still. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s shrunk to the size of a goblin’s foreskin, the good old Tellywag is still the last bastion of all that’s uprighteous in the world.

I cast my monocle over their internectical website thingy every so often in order to get a balanced view of humanity. Uncle Justin inculcated me with this habit before he "went away". Every Lent he would eschew the cosy familiarity of the chukka and board an "omnibus" to go to watch a game of "football", as the hoi-polloi are wont to call the brutish pastime of soccer. He would come back with wondrous tales of meat pies and painted faces - of tribal chants about the testicular hypertrophy of someone called "Chris Moyles", and startling revelations about bizarre sexual practices involving one Stan Collymore and his dog.

So the Telegraph is honoured with an occasional squizz from me now and again, and the following letter to the Editor caught my eye recently:

Sir - I’m puzzled. If Barack Obama’s mother was a white American (Ann Dunham) and his father a Kenyan (also known as Barack Obama), why is he persistently referred to as black (for example in John O’Sullivan’s comment piece in Issue 865)? The Swahili have an apt term for what Obama actually is, namely "nusu-nusu" (half-half). But to do my part in redressing the balance, henceforth I will be arguing around the dinner table that he is white.

Mike Wood, Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa

Silly, silly man. Don’t y’know that being called "white" is privilege you have to EARN?

All those millions of white folks out there weren’t called "white" when they were born. They had to work hard for it. Like Michael Jackson.

He’s got a point though. As a bit of a nusu-nusu myself I’ve got a problem with our relentless social habit of trying to compartmentalize people, whether or not we attach any different value to the people we put in those different compartments. I’m a fucking chocco and proud of it!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

5 tunes to hum while running a half-marathon

Since Miz Billings Montana tagged us I’ve been racking me brains to figure out what the five purely mintest albums are. It’s a birruva shan like cause I cannot decide among me top 300. Trouble is there’s no album that I like all the way through. There’s always at least one track that’s fallen out of a loose sphincter. So I’ve decided to go for me top 5 SONGS. No bugger buys whole albums nowadays anyway. they download fucking TRACKS off the fucking internet. Sometimes we even pay for them.

So - presuming I’m not allowed to include anything I’ve recorded meself, my most favouritest choons are:

Way down in the hole - Tom Waits. I loved The Wire. I fucking loved the way that you couldn’t instantly classify it into "white TV" or "black TV" like you can with so many American TV shows. And I loved the fact that its got no fucking SCORE. If you hear some music it’s because its part of the scene itself, playing on the radio or on the jukebox in a bar, and the mood has to be created by the actors and the script, not hyped by some fucking orchestra hidden under the floorboards. The only out-of-context music you get is the intro and the outro. I also REALLY FUCKING love the way they’ve done a different take on this same Tom Waits song for every series. I find it hard to choose between the 5 different versions so I got to go with the original. I can only imagine that Waits has been giving head to an overendowed mule to explain the sound that his ravaged vocal cords come up with. It’s like Satchmo gargling ready-mix.

Bliss - Muse. This was the one that made me want to become a musician when I saw Muse doing it on Top of the Pops (yes I know top of the pops was 90% shite but me influences were a bit limited at that age). Matt Bellamy had the volume turned up on the guitar and the mic so it was all distorted and then tried to smash the amp and kick over the drumkit at the end of the set before staggering out and I were well impressed. I resolved there and then to disrespect volume knobs wherever they raised their nasty knurled little heads. And here’s the album version just for good measure.

Foxy Lady - Jimi Hendrix. One for you classical music buffs. Me mam used to play this when Father were down at the pub, and since Father were down at the pub 24/7 I got to know Hendrix pretty well. The opening bit with the high-tension feedback before it resolves into that crunching F-sharp chord-riff always makes me want to lowp on the couch and start jumping up and down.

Agaetis byrjun - Sigur Ros. It’s a lie that I hate all slow music. It just puts me to sleep. But I’d walk across the road to hear Sigur Ros play this one. It reminds me of an interesting time in my life. There’s nowt like a bit of Icelandic to get the juices flowing. And I like the agressive fret-squeaks, just to remind you that they’re playing real instruments and not pissing around with a sequencer and a bunch of samples.

Colony of Birchmen - Mastodon. Aw fuck it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw in at least one Mastodon track, would it? Why do I like Mastodon? They fill me with awe, is all.

Alicia Billings is probably wondering where the Genesis is. Well it didn’t make my top 5 by a long chalk but me Mam reckons she used to play Foxtrot a lot while she was groaning under the burden of carrying me around for 9 months like the parasite in "Alien" (she says), and this one rings a few bells.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Is Tibet the Cumbria of China?

I see the Chinese Government is preparing for the Beijing Olympics with its usual generosity, carefully dusting down the free-speech provisions in its constitution, and generally taking the opportunity to showcase the aspirations of its ethnic minorities to the rest of the world.

Other governments are also rising to the occasion - stumbling in their haste to extend the same support to Chinese citizens in exile, like India ...

... and Thailand

... Burma

... and the USA ...

You circus clowns got the best goddamn job, yessir

"The Chinese government will unwaveringly protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

Then he turned his briefing paper over and said, "Ah! Wait a minute. No. That was last week. What I meant to say is that the Chinese Government is committed to the principle of self-determination for all historically autonomous, ethnically coherent regions within its borders, and will shortly announce a master-plan that will lead Tibet to economically sustainable independence within 5 years."

"We welcome the Dalai Lama home and guarantee freedom of cultural and religious expression for all. And if they stop claiming that they’re the only legitimate government for the whole of China, we’ll stop hassling those guys in Taiwan as well. In no way will we renege on any of these promises after the Olympic Games are over. See - my fingers ain’t crossed. No way. Ain’t nobody here but us rabbits. Yes, siree! LOL"