Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Do you ever go to a funeral and worry that you might not be so big an attraction when your time comes ? I had of course chosen my glossiest patent boots, my distressed web skirt and a 12 button velvet top that perhaps showed more flesh than is common at these events, but as I glanced over the crowd that filled the church, and counted myself glad I wasn't stood with the poor souls in the wind and rain outside, I couldn't help but wonder.
When Raven rids herself of this mortal coil, will I fill a church ? Knowing my popularity at high school and now at work, I might fill my fathers hobby shed, and where will my poor family find black roses for the coffin ? Would it be terribly distasteful to have a vampyre themed wake ? I hesitate to use the phrase di rigeur, or is that di rigor ?
"What are you doing Stephen ?" Say I. "Blowing kisses at me ?"
"No, I'm trying to stop the snot from from running into my mouth."
Sunday, November 28, 2004
So, without googling, who knows what the Kindertransport was ? I've read fairly extensively about WWII and the Holocaust, and I had never heard of this before.
In the months leading up to WWII, as the persecution of the Jews in Germany became ever more violent and, world governments were asked to take Jews into their countries to allow them to escape from the Nazi regime, almost universally they refused to help, with the exception of Britain, which agreed to take Jewish child refugees.
A remarkable process began in which children of all ages were sent by their parents to Great Britain in the hope of finding a better life there. Once here they were adopted by families, many Jewish, but not always, and in many cases never saw their parents and families again. Roughly 10,000 children were saved from the Nazi's by the Kindertransport.
The book is a series of recollections made by the Kinder themselves, a few surviving parents and two brave rescuers, one English and one German-Jewish.
I set off naively reading this thinking how overjoyed the children must have been to escape the ever worsening situation in Germany, but of course in reality that was not so. Children were separated from their parents and thrust into a strange (and sometimes backward - outdoor toilets!) country. Often children and foster parents did not share a common language, many of the Jewish children came from fairly well off business families and were appalled at the relatively poor housing conditions they encountered over here.
Some of the Kinder were housed with non-Jewish families who made no attempt to understand their religious needs, or were housed with people who immediately tried to convert them to Catholicism/Methodism or Anglicism. Many children were used as servants, and some of the teenage girls suffered sexual predation by their adoptive 'fathers'.
The Kinder boys were often arrested at age 18, as foreigners with possible German sympathies they were sometimes deported to the States or Australia. One of the boys relates the quite dreadful time he spent as a prisoner on the British, and the foul treatment he received at the hands of both our army and navy as he was detained and then deported. After all this, he still swore loyalty to queen and country in order to come back to Britain and join the army.
Of course, after years of separation, when the war finally ended, there was to be no happy ending for the Kinder, for most of them they would be forever orphans, their entire families murdered in the death camps. Even for the ones whose parent/s survived, reunions were filled with mixed emotion, children had often forgotten how to speak German and their parents were strange foreigners.
This book, as it is written by the people involved, gives great insight into the emotional state of the Kinder, all of them have had to do some soul searching to write their parts, some explain how uneasy they are at dredging up these memories after all this time.
Some of the Kinder went back to Germany after the war, not often to live, although some few did, but to look for family, or to see what had become of their childhood homes. Virtually all of these children regarded the entire German people as their enemies now, they relate how that, before the war, even in tiny rural villages with no official SS presence, they were still reviled and maltreated, beaten and punished, homes and belongings 'legally' stolen. Kindertransport makes a more damning criticism of the German people as a whole than any other work I have read about this period.
This is a powerful and emotive work, the suffering of children is always harder to bear above any else, and it is a credit to the Kinder that they managed to cope as well as they did.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Crikey! As if I wasn't all that keen on fast food in the first place, although I do enjoy KFC. After reading this though, you'll never want to eat another mass market fast food meal again.
Is it the health risks that Schlosser details ? Well I think most of us know the risks of fast food, although I was surprised to learn that McDonald's Chicken McNuggets contain more fat and salt than a Big Mac, and this in a meal aimed at children. McDonald's are now advertising a healthier McNugget, yes, but healthier compared to what ?
The really appalling stuff that Schlosser brings to light are the appalling conditions under which fast food employees have to work, and the even worse conditions which their major suppliers impose upon their workers, and lastly the damage being done to the farming industries.
The industries' leaders were caught admitting that the wanted an annual staff turnover of 80%+, all the better to avoid holiday pay and health insurance. The big companies have all adopted a highly aggressive anti-union stance, opposed all manor of legal improvements to working conditions and operated various, dubious working practices. One such highlighted in the UK recently was the practice of requiring a worker to be on site at a certain time, but only starting to pay them when it got busy.
Vegetarians may quake/retch after reading the chapter 'Why The Fries Taste So Good', well, in some cases, it's because they had beef in them. I'm not kidding.
If you think your job is crap, just read about the conditions endured in the meat packing factories that supply the big burger chains, the terrible injuries and almost complete lack of health care.
Schlosser's book has been attacked by all the big fast food companies, and he includes in this updated version many comments made by those people, he also notes however, that not one factual point that he claims in the book has been legally challenged by any of the companies he writes about, and we all know just how litigious these companies can be.
Schlosser makes a good point when he says that all the problems he points out could be solved by the companies if they so wished, they have such vast purchasing power that any condition they imposed would be followed by their suppliers, or risk losing their biggest, and often sole, customer.
It's just a shame that Fast Food Nation is probably preaching to the converted, the poor souls who think they are giving their kids a treat by hauling them down to McDonalds/Burger King etc. are, most likely, not going to be reading this well researched, vastly informative work. If you are at all interested in what you, or your children, are eating, and the effect this has on the world around you, you really should read this book.
There is a big buzz about this band at the moment, people are saying they just migt be at the forefront of a new wave of metal, and on the strngth of this, their second album, they might just be right.
Mastodon have produced a concept album based on Herman Melville's Moby Dick, well done anybody who can squeeze Mr Queequeg into a lyric.
Musically, Mastodon stand a bit to the right of the likes of Metallica but without being wholly extreme, there is plenty here to enjoy if you like big, fast riffing and power chording, although for those who like to be able to hear the lyrics, only the odd demented shout of "White Whale" emerges from the din.
Mastodon are definately heavier than most music I listen to, but I have really taken to this album, it's no nonsense metal all the way through, a band doing what they want to do with only the merest nod to comercialism.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
I've been pottering around on the 'puter, and I've burned what I believe to the the ultimate Wildhearts CD, now I'm searching for a title, how about Sex and Drugs And Drugs And Drugs And Drugs ?
Tracklisting....in no particular order...
Stormy In the North, Karma in the South
Lake of Piss
You've got To Get Through What You've Got To Go Through To Get What You Want
Welcome To Shitsville
My Baby Is A Headfuck
Sick of Drugs
Red Light/Green Light
In Like Flynn
I Wanna Go (Where The People Go)
Just In Lust
How about that for an album ? Or a setlist, did I miss anything ?
If you are worried that your bumhole is a little, well, overly dark let's say, you can now hire someone to come round and bleach your bottom. Who worries about this sort of thing ? Porn stars ? Paris Hilton ? Same thing ?
Anyway, what I was working my way around to is this, Yorkshiresoul soul is now ready to offer a new service to addle headed women with too much dosh and free time.............
YORKSHIRE SOUL'S NIPPLE COLOURING BOUTIQUE
Ladies, do you worry that your nipples are dull ?
Are you fed up with with the same old boring aureola's all the time ?
Well then, get yourself over to Yorkshire Soul's Nipple Boutique, the initial consultation is free.
Our resident mammary expert with provide a warm and friendly, tactile, hands on consultation and measurement process.
Whether you want to really stand out on the topless beach, or just provide a hint of intrigue when you're wearing a white t-shirt, Yorkhire Soul's Mammary Enhancements will do the job.
Blue ones, red ones, ones with little stars on them, special themed nipples for sports events and general elections, no job too strange.
Don't waste time ladies, get your nipples 'coloured for Christmas' , and don't forget, the initial consultation is FREE!!!!
As always, answers to Yorkshiresoul@gmail.com on or by Friday 2nd Dec. No lists of possible answers, have fun, no spoilers please.
1) In the provocative speech given by Goebbels, what event did he alledge had happened that provoked Kristallnacht? (1)
2) What are the next two names on this list, and what is the list called ? (2)
3) What is the top classification of Tokaji wine ? (1)
4) Put these in the correct order, North to South. Collectively, what are they known as ? (2)
Moulin A Vent
5) Who was awarded a Nobel prize for his theory of energy transfer processes in biological systems, and in which year ? (2)
6) What is Mr Spock's blood group, and what colour is it ? (2)
7) A young king, and three of this friends, vow to spend 3 years without the company of women, and to dedicate themselves to self improvement. This is a precis of the plot of which work, and by whom ? (2)
8) Joe 'Mama' Bessemer, Eric 'Stumpy Joe' Childs, Peter james Bond and Mick Shrimpton were all what ? (2)
9) Audrey Hepburn looks like she's singing in 'My Fair Lady', but who really provides the vocals ? (1)
10) Name the English sculptor who rejected classical Renaissance ideals in favour of his 'truth to materials' method and who was influenced by ancient Mexican and Sumerian carving ? (1)
Mugabe has sacked nearly all of the Zimbabwe team and replaced them players who are supportive of (or at least not demonstrating against) his totalitarian regime, and yet the ICC is still willing to give these joke matches first class status. The ICC has been spineless for far too long, it's about time that Zimbabwe were dropped from the international cricket roster.
The England team should never have been pushed into this situation, it is only because of the ECB's perilous financial situation, coupled with threats from the ICC about heavy fines, that the tour ever looked to start at all.
The whole thing has been an embarassing shambles, thankfully it seems to be all over.
It's a strange, mad place. You could accuse the Americans of being insular, not wanting to visit other parts of the world, but are they so insular as to not want to travel in the USA ? Here, for the residents of Nevada that can't be arsed to go to New York, you can see the Statue of Liberty, and in the skyline behind, the Empire State and (just out of shot) the Chrysler Building. This is the front of the New York-New York hotel and casino.
The very butch looking lion in front of the MGM Grand hotel. Las Vegas came about as a result of the Hoover Dam, in the middle of the Great Depression the dam was built, the relaxed gambling laws in Nevada drew in the dam workers to drink, gamble and enjoy the company of, ahem, ladies of easy virtue. The city has continued to grow ever since.
Don't think this one will go far. Although Vegas is best known for gambling, for folk like me who don't gamble all that much, there is a heap of stuff to see and do. Have a stroll down the strip, especially at night, and you can see an erupting volcano, the dancing fountains at Bellagio, a giant two ship pirate battle, and if you take one of those glossy cards from the shifty blokes that press them into your hand, you can have a beautiful girl in your hotel room in 20 minutes ! For only $43 ! (Odd price) Sin city indeed.
Mrs YS inside the Aladin, the light changes in here as you walk around, from dawn to midday to dusk (in an hour) followed by a quick thunderstorm, I kid you not, for a few minutes it pours with rain and lightning flashes across the mock sky. Go inside the Venetian hotel and you can take a gondola ride, real gondolas, on a Venetian canal, five stories up, inside, mad I tell you.
Them's proper Yorkshire legs look, they havn't seen any sun, YS himself in front of the fountains of Paris.
The Bellagio hotel at night (as featured in Ocean's 11), it is really rather pretty.
Every fifteen minutes during the evening, you can watch the dancing fountains of Bellagio, and it is really good. Hundreds of jets of water shoot up and swirl around to music, and if you're really, really lucky, you might get to see Tyra Banks doing a Victoria's Secret photo shoot using the fountains as a backdrop, wahey!
The strip at night, gaudy neon as far as the eye can see.
The disney castle like Excalibur hotel.
The Eiffel Tower all lit up, and very pretty, who needs to see Europe ?
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
She seems to serve beer, unless you discover differently, but she will perform a number of actions when you type rude words in, tell me what you can make her do!
Monday, November 22, 2004
As is usual when Mrs YS and myself are on holiday, we don't do laid back and lazy, for two weeks we have assiduously explored Las Vegas, New Orleans and New York, we have tried wherever possible to immerse ourselves in the culture, food, and of course wine, of our hosts, we have searched out every interesting thing we could in the short span of time we had in the three cities (and beyond).
I will provide more piccis and scribblings over the next few weeks, but here is a photographic sampler of our tour......
The dancing fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas, they're fountains, they dance, it is most pretty.
Big skies over Arizona, which is flat, for hundreds of miles, and then some.
Las Vegas Veterans Day Parade, like our Rememberance Day Parades, except that people actually take part and turn out to watch, in their tens of thousands.
Oooh spooky, tombs of dead folks in Lafayette No.1, New Orleans.
Anne Rice's house in the Garden, New Orleans, but by the signs, she's moving out. From the front this just looks like a large house, from the other side it looks like a mid size hotel with grounds, Lestat must have done alright for her.
The Seven Sisters Voodoo Shrine, Algiers, New Orleans.
The Hoover Dam.
Mr and Mrs YS, she's thinking "Just because we're on holiday, you could shave at least once a week."
Caverns of light, New York.
Ground Zero, New York.
The kitchen at the excellent, and cheap, M&B - New York.
Times Square, New York.
View from the top of the Empire State Building, looking across to the Chrysler Building and the Hudson River.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
We also went to Ground Zero to see the work on the new Freedom Tower getting under way.
More later webTV driving me mad.
Monday, November 15, 2004
By 'eck, it's another city that never sleeps. We've spent two days in the capitol of Louisiana, been up the river, to the zoo, aquarium, IMAX, on a mule drawn buggy ride around the French Quarter, on a tram through the city, and done a walking tour of the St.Loius No.1 Cemetary.
Bourbon Street here, named for the French family rather than the American whisky, is a 24hr party hole, half the bars don't even have seats, you just buy some form of foul cocktail (hurricanes/hand grenades etc) and stagger off to the next bar. Alcohol casualties can be seen at all hours.
We dined last night at Ralph&Kacoo's a cavernous seafood restaurant that seats 650 covers! In my quest to consume any strange creature placed before me, I had 'blackened' alligator before a fairly normal main course of catfish and soft shell crab.
I've jus spent an hour at a live jazz bar, I'm not mad for jazz, but I like almost any live music, plus the beers were 2 for 1.
Last day in NO tomorow, then on to New York, did I see snow on the weathr forecast?l
Friday, November 12, 2004
This is our last night in Las Vegas before we move on to New Orleans.
We hired a car for a couple of days and went driving through large parts of Nevada and Arizona, an 11 hour drive to spend an hour looking into a big hole in the ground (Grand Canyon). Arizona appears to be mostly flat, deserted and Godforsaken, stopped in Armpit for a bite to eat, the Roadkill Cafe! The place claimed to be the birthplace of Route 66, I think it was stilborn. We also went to the Hoover Dam, that's awesome.
Food here is generally good, and plenty of it, we have frequented the eat as much as you can buffets. We went to see the Queen show - We Will Rock You, a couple of nights ago in Paris, er, that's Paris, Nevada as opposed to the real one.
This really is the city that never sleeps, it takes a hardcore gambler to be at it at 7am on a Monday morning, but Mrs YS was down there. I lost $11 and called it a night. The casinos here are improbably large, the MGM where we are staying is about the size of Huddersfield.
This morning we went to the Veterans Day Parade, I like this side of American life, they have a real pride in their armed forces and a deep seated appreciation for those who have served. The parade went on for nearly three hours with hundreds of veterans associations and schools represented.
Tonight we are going to a flash restaurant, there are plenty of them here alongside the cheap and cheerful, you can easily spend 30 quid on a main course.
I shall relate one other small story to amuse you dear readers. I was combining two of lifes pleasures, drinking, and reading, when I thought I would combine them with a third, having a nice hot bath. Not really paying attention whilst I ran the bath I poured a bottle into the water, it was only when the minty smell hit me that I realised that I had not emptied bubble bath into the water, but rather the bottle of complimentary mouthwash.
Yours, smelling fresh and minty, Yorkshiresoul.
P.S. This toothpaste tastes like shampoo.
Monday, November 08, 2004
We are here, finslly, we had a bit of s nightmare time travelling here, out last flight from Chicago was delayed three times so we've missed out on our firste missed out on our first night in Las Vegas.
We have hired a car for two days and plan to go off and see the Hoover Dam and bits of the Grand Canyon.
We can see some quite impressive storms out over the desert, hoping for better weatherhoping for better weather tomorow.
On the good news front, I might be the slimmest man in Las Vegas, there is a four course minimum at breakfast and I have just had the worlds sloppiest hotdog.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
One of the advantages of owning your own business is that you can purchase fireworks that are an order of magnitude larger than those available to the rest of the populace. Thus, with the help of Duncan and JR, Mrs.YS and myself managed to stage 45 mins of thunderous noise and the sort of airborne explosions that had low flying aircraft taking evasive action.
After the explosions we all went in for a traditional bonfire night pie and pea supper (with seconds for fat lads) and a few beers and vinos. Indoor entartainment was provided as always by the toddler squad - Joseph, Ellie, Stephen, Natalie, Joshua and Kayleigh, and for those bored with the toddlers, well, there were a handful of curvaceous waiteresses (and their friends) on hand.
I'm shouting "Are you Ellie" and Elie, complete with a mouthful of parkin, is gleefully shouting back "Yeth I am."
Waiter Ric (of Ricssite) and Chefette.
The lovely Robyn, looking not at all pissed.
I don't know. This babe just wandered in off the street, I recognise that dodgy bloke behind her though, it's JR.
Friday, November 05, 2004
I don't know anything about Howard Jarvie, be he came to Europe, along with tens of thousands of American boys, to help rid the world of the Nazis. He died fighting the German breakthrough in the Ardennes, the action that was known as The Battle Of The Bulge, and is buried in the cemetery at Hamm in Luxembourg, along with around four and a half thousand other boys.
Patton's grave. Patton was buried along with the young men he commanded, although he didn't die in combat but in a car accident. Oddly, this is the only grave of an American commander never to have been visited by a top level US government official.
Day Turner is a Medal of Honour winner. He was ordered to hold an exposed flank gainst a German attack, with only nine men he held off a seemingly overwhelming force of infantry supported by tanks and artillery. Turner fought on as the enemy pressed attack after attack. With only three men left fighting, and almost no ammunition, Turner threw a can of blazing petrol at his attackers, then bayoneted two, just as the situation seemed hopeless, the German attack surrendered to Turner, they took 25 prisoners.
Everything we hold so dear, we owe to these boys.
A team of karate type fellas doing some astounding moves **NSFW** Warning as above, but do watch this one, look at those two lads holding themselves horizontal on the wall bars, ouch!
I'll try to report back once or twice. I'm particularly looking forward to New Orleans, river cruises on a sternwheeler, we're thinking of taking a swamp boat tour and the wonderful seafood. Mrs. YS is going to drag me around Macy's in NY, and up and half half of 5th Avenue no doubt, but we'll try to be proper tourists and do the Empire State as well.
When we went to Los Angeles, I dragged Mrs YS to a bar called the Rainbow Bar and Grill, to most of you this may mean nothing, but to metalheads it's sort of Mecca. I sat in the booth where Guns 'N Roses drank, smoked and snorted lines, fondled loose women and made their plans to conquer the world. All the big LA acts are pictured on the walls, they all drank here, and played at the Whisky A Go Go next door.
So this year, when in NY, I'm going to try and drag her to another musical holy site, the birthplace of New York punk and alternative music, CBGB's & OMFUG. The only thing is, I havn't actually told her yet. On the Saturday when we are in NY, we could see this awesome punk line up......DOA, The Nihilistics, Urban Riot, Void control, Molotov Cocktail, do you think she'll go for it ?
Thursday, November 04, 2004
I thought this was going to be a duff year for music, there has been some shoddy work by Avril Lavigne, The Strokes, Slipknot and a heap of other rockers, I've found very few really great bits of new music, until, here at the end of the year there's a barrage of great stuff. Green Day, The Music, Magnum, Mastodon and this..............
Heavy, heavy, sung in German, and laden with the most awesome riffs available in heavy metal today. Rammstein are not afraid to experiment, but they are putting out some of the best strait metal that you can lay your hands on at the moment.
Reise Reise is stunning album, following on from the heavy rythyms and crunchy melodies of 'Mutter' and the breakthrough single 'Sonne' they have made themselves into pop stars with the double edged 'Amerika'. With parts of the song sung in English (but only a line or two) Till Lindeman takes what might be seen as a big swipe at American global culture, but at the same time acknowledging our reliance on the USA. That's what he claims anyway, he also says that English speakers won't understand the songs subtleties and the Americans won't get the joke anyway.
The first single lifted from the album, 'Mein Teil' (loosely, My Tool) with it's tasteful knife and fork cover and hideous screaming/cutting/frying sequence has certainly caused a storm, moreso in Germany where the Armin Meiwes story on which it is based is still fresh in the memory.
Other high points include the utterly bloody fantastic 'Keine Lust' (I Don't Feel Like It) with it's monstrous opening riff (what doesn't Till Like ? You know his taste in lyrics by now, masturbating, buggering large animals, that sort of thing). Los ('Less') with its twanging metallic guitar work makes a good change of pace, 'Moskau' kicks in with more thundering riffs and Tatu soundalikes chanting lyrics in Russian.
Morgernstern ('Morningstar') and Stein um Stein('Stone by Stone') have Till at his growling best and the band even manage a love song, well, of sorts anyway, for the album closer 'Amour'.
Reise Reise is a stunning piece of work, hard and heavy, very well constructed and filled with interesting tempo and mood changes. Till's lyrics remain fairly dark and obtuse, but who cares as I don't speak any German beyond 'Ein Grosse Beer Bitte' anyway. German could be the perfect language for heavy metal, combined with Lindeman's gravel/well bottom voice even a polite request for a cup of tea could sound brooding and menacing.
Musically the rest of the band have taken the evolution of the band seriously, as 'Mutter' was a progressive step on from both 'Sensucht' and 'Herzeleid', so Reise Reise takes the band on another journey. Music in other languages can be hard to get into, I'm a lyric freak myself, I love to know what the musicians think, what they are trying to say, so it's doubly hard to get into a band that don't (and absolutely won't) speak your language. Persevere though, because there is an awful lot to enjoy about this lot.
All together now............."Ich habe keine Lust mich nicht zu hassen
Hab' keine Lust mich anzufassen
Ich hätte Lust zu onanieren"
Scroll back to Thurs 28th Oct if you want to see the pictures again, the correct answers are.....
1) Arch of Severus, Rome
2) Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong
3) Einstein Tower, Pottsdam
4) Habitat '67, Montreal
5) Temple of Horus, Edfu
6) Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal, Mexico
7) Vietnam Veterans Memorail, Washington
8) The Royal Liver Building, Liverpool
9) The Corn Exchange, Leeds
10) The Sorbonne, Paris
Week 3 Scores from a possible 20
Malcolm R 20
Dr. P 12
Alex H (Yorkshire Ranter) 10
I Am A Donut 9
Katherine (Chatiryworld) 4
Eleanor (Bellus Animus) 4
Penny Farthing 2
Tony T 0 (But he swears he knows lots about Australian rules footie)
League Table Week 3
1) Malcolm R 49
2) Dr. P 39
3) Eleanor 36
4) I am a Donut 30
5) Chez 28
6) Alex H(Yorkshire Ranter) 15
7) Penny Farthing 11
9) Tony T 0
Over in the God blessed US of A, a man with the brains of limpet and the morals of whichever energy company happens to be bribing him at the time has won the election over the man with all the charm and personality of a tree stump.
Bush or Kerry, it's a bit like asking would you like a smack in the nose or a knee in the balls. This one or that one, that's all the choice we've got. The two candidate/party system doesn't allow the voters any choice. If you went to the butchers and they said 'We have pork sausage or beef sausage' but what you actually wanted was a couple of nice lamb chops, well, you'd go and shop somewhere else, but you are rather stuck with your country.
I posted a couple of weeks ago about the lack of choice in British politics, I always feel that whoever you vote for, you have to betray some of you own moral choices. I can't in all honesty vote Conservative any more because I believe we should be in with Europe, not piddling about on the sidelines, well, that and the fact that the entire Westminster section of the party have been behaving like rowdy schoolchildren for the last decade.
I have never been a Labour man, I don't ever want to be part of a Union, but the current Labour party has become so right wing that the Conservatives are having to consider becoming the Nazi Party to stay right of them. I don't suppose all those tens of thousands being sacked from the Civil Service thought they were voting for the dole when they made their mark.
I've voted Green and Liberal in elections recently, people might say it's a vote wasted, but sometimes you have to vote for what you believe rather than who might win and push forward a small selection of your policies.
Perhaps with the rise of electronic media and communications we could do away with the politicians altogether. We could log on to our PC's and be presented with the vote of the week, given a multi choice box to tick and bingo, back to real democracy.
If you don't like wealthy folk telling less well off folk what they should do with their lives, remember that your Labour MP, and Cons, and Libs, earn a minimum £57,000 , and most of them are helping themselves to around £118,000 in expenses a year. The MP for the area I used to live in, Chris Leslie, has never held a job outside of politics, he came strait from university into the House of Commons, he receives a junior ministers salary of around £86,000.
So Chris Leslie (work experience - paper round and part time bar work at Uni), gets to rake in well in excess of £200,000 per year to tell the decent, hard working people of Shipley how to live their lives.
How much did the US election cost ? I bet it ran into tens of millions of dollars. Money squandered and wasted, money that could have been spent better elsewhere. More than anywhere else in the world, money talks in American politics, unless the two parties in charge vote to change the political system (and turkeys don't vote for Thanksgiving), America will always be saddled with some rich chump with mega wealthy 'friends' running the show.
Aaargh, bloody politicians, I'm off to lie down in a dark room for a while to calm down. Do you know which current politician I admire most ?
Dennis 'The Beast Of Bolsover' Skinner! And me a right winger and all.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
A - At least Hitler tried to finish the race.
I'm sure you have all heard that joke before, along with various others about pulling up, pulling out and generally failing to complete things. the target of said puns, and paga upon page of vitriol in the press, was, until a failed Olympic marathon attempt, the golden girl of British athletics.
Q - Who ran 12th in the '92 women's marathon ?
We can be a dismal lot us Brits. For years our press has been saying "We must be more ruthless, we must achieve more, we must do better." Look what has happened, we have installed better, more ruthless, highly skilled coaches. Our cricket team has emerged from it's two decade doldrums, our football team competes well at the highest levels, our rugby union side took the fight to the Southern hemisphere and retunred with the world cup, our Olympians and Paralympians achieved record medal hauls, and even 'Tiger' Tim Henman isn't completely crap.
I'm not defending Radcliffe blindly, there were c;learly problems with her training that led to her failure in the marathon, but the amount of criticism that was levelled at her after she failed to complete the 10,000m has been entirely unjustified. What should she have done, run herself into an injury ?
Radcliffe possesses all the qualities we have been demanding from our athletes, she is determined, obsessive even, driven to perfection. She desires only to do better, to improve, to win and win and win again.
Paula has now left the country to train in the USA, where she feels she will not face the endless pressure from press, media and public. Well done the couch potato, petty minded, build 'em up knock 'em down Brits, we've driven away one of our best.
It shames me that I live in a nation that would chee Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards but could jeer Paula Radcliffe, what fools we can be.
I sincerely hope that the next time Paula sets foot in a British stadium, the crowd absolutely raise the roof for her, and if you think of booing, just make sure that there isn't a ponytailed, bearded chap within slapping distance of you.
Oh, and who came 12th in the '92 marathon ? I don't know, you don't know, we don't care, Valentina Yegorova won the gold medal though.
P.S. As I penned that article a couple of weeks ago I hadn't yet heard that Paula will be running this months New York marathon, go on girl.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Kerching!! Another day, another discworld book, another Ankh-Morpork dollar in the bank.
'Going Postal' is alledgedly the 33rd Discworld novel, I still miss the luggage.
Moist von Lipwig is a man about to be hanged, or to work for the Patrician until the day he dies, his choice, hang now or take a desk beneath the damocles sword. The familiar supporting cast of Ankh-Morpork characters provide the background for a business war between the newly resurgent post office and the cross continent clacks towers.
Pratchett provides us with another little morality play, this one on the evils of uncaring big business, with a few daft names and puns thrown in. This is probably the least funny of the discworld series, but it is still a good read. Although the daft gags are being relegated to the sidelines, instead we have better characters who we actually care about. Will Moist save the post office ? Will he win the heart of the chain smoking, golem tending Miss Dearheart ? Will Junior Postman Groat's socks ignite ?
Discworld is still very enjoyable, Pratchett's novels do have a bit of a samey feel to them now, but at least it's a good sort of samey.
Odd Thomas sees dead people. Sometimes he also sees evil spirits that act as premonitions of evil acts yet to happen.
Sometimes the dead people communicate with Thomas, sometimes they want something done, some measure of retribution for a life cut short, other times they want to wave their severed arm in a mock cheery halloween gesture, whatever, Odd thomas takes them as they come.
Odd Thomas gets up one day, meets a ghost, goes to work, a customer comes in, a man that likes to eat. The man is followed by bodachs, the black harbingers of evil tidings. He is followed by a pack of the beasts, visible only to Odd Thomas. Groups of them are gathering all over town, seemingly rubbing their insubstantial hands in glee at the thought of some awful terror to come.
Odd Thomas investigates as best he can, he wants to help out his friends and the citizens of Pico Munde. The hungry customer turns out to have a filing cabinet and trophy room based on the worlds most terrible serial killers, and his house is thronged with bodachs.
Dean Koontz is one of the most prolific horror/supernatural writers working today, he has written approximately four and half thousand novels, I think, give or take a few, and they sell well. What I'm trying to get at here is that if you like Koontz's style, you'll enjoy Odd Thomas. It is a good read, and although I should have seen the final plot twist approaching from a country mile away (and you might), it doesn't really diminish the story if you do guess it.
Like Stephen King, Koontz churns out his novels at regular intervals, and although I think King has expended many of his best ideas earlier in his career, Koontz is now keeping up a good standard. The 'Moonlight Bay' novels ('Seize The Night', 'Fear Nothing') are some of the best of his work, and his recent novel 'The Face' is also an excellent read. Of his recent works, only 'One Door Away From Heaven' isn't so good.
If you like this but have not read Koonz extensively, look out for 'Watchers', 'Strangers', 'Twilight Eyes' and 'Shattered' from his earlier work.
Mrs. YS was hosting a poker school, so I picked a gig at random and went out. I (mis)spent half my youth at the dear old Duchess Of York, which is now yet another branch of Hugo Shite clothing, The Vine evokes many memories of the Duchess, a long narrow room, sticky carpets, toilets you have to wade through and a 'crowd' measured in handfuls.
It's always hard getting going in front of ten people, but Natasha Noramly (love the red boots) gets her band rolling. She's a welcome change from most of today's post-hardcore singers, she switches between all breathy and forced to shouty and domineering. The band play a noisy, off centre indie rock with shades of PJ Harvey.
Natasha's confidence grows to the point where she descends from the stage to bellow a few lines at the punters sans mic, guitarist Paul Mellon introduces a few songs but SPEAK UP MAN, I can't hear a word he's saying, it's no use being the quietest man in rock. Good show, well constructed songs, they should have been on last.
Misled Vision, I bet singer Jan's favourite vocalists are Angela Gossow and Cristina Scabbia, and I think I've indicated there pretty much where Misled Vision's musical style lies. There was some competant musicianship, a couple of half decent songs supported by good riffs, but this band has a weak point and Im sorry to say that is it Jan, her voice just isn't powerful enough. I'm not in the majority here though, the crowd has suddenly swelled to about forty souls, most of whom are crowded in front of the stage.
Topping the bill then are all girl quartet Blood Sundae. Fronted by the striking Emily Bandawe they certainly look the part, but a little more professionalism wouldn't go amiss. Their songs are good and performed well, but in between it dissolves into giggly laughter and too many plugs for the bands website.
Emily has a good voice though, and the rest of the band, Leanderbob - guitar, Charlotte - bass and Anna on drums sound good, or as good as the sound is in here. Note for the sound guy, it's no good just being loud, it needs a little balance as well, and you should have noticed that the mic used by Charlotte (and Paul from Machete) didn't appear to work.
All in all, a good night out, it was the princely sum of £3 on the door (I'm stil in shock after paying £25 a ticket for Rammstein), shame about the crowd, but it is a Monday after all. The bands all did their best, and I'd go see two of them again, the gig finished promptly at 10.45, leaving me enough time to stagger back to the station for the last train home, and guess what, they're still playing bloody poker!
Fuck Off Machete