Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dead Man's Shoes

A fellow golf club steward relayed this anecdote to me...

The club flag was flying at half mast and whilst the Steward was out at a pub a gentleman approached him and asked whether the death had been on the mens or womens side of the club.

On being told it was an elderly male member who had passed away he rubbed his hands together and said "Oh good, that gets my membership application one place up then."

Yorkshire Sky, Askrigg Common

Looking Down Swaledale From Gunnerside

On This Day...

Lech Walesa in 2009.Image via Wikipedia 1943 Lech Walesa was born in Popowo, Poland.  Walesa founded the union Solidarity and the former dockyard electrician went on to become the President of Poland.

"I must tell you that the supply of words on the world market is plentiful, but the demand is falling."

"He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed."

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The Longest Day

"James Joyce fans in Dublin spend up to 36 hours reading Ulysses aloud every year on June 16."

Sloppy writing in yesterday's Times, or else June the 16th has become a sort of weird half leap year day and nobody has told me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On This Day...

Combined image of Beer Street and Gin LaneImage via Wikipedia 1736 the British Government passed the second of the Gin Acts, the idea of this act, by forcing retailers to purchase a £50 licence and charging a duty of 20 schillings a gallon, was to render the gin trade economically unviable. Instead after a brief dip in gin consumption, the gin trade went underground and by 1743 the average gin consumption was 2.2 gallons annually per head of the population.

The gin craze raised moral heckles in church, Parliament and beyond.  Much like today's condemnation of on street binge drinking, the Middlesex Magistrates in 1736 wrote "It is with the deepest concern your committee observe the strong Inclination of the inferior Sort of People to these destructive Liquors, and how surprisingly this Infection has spread within these few Years … it is scarce possible for Persons in low Life to go anywhere or to be anywhere, without being drawn in to taste, and, by Degrees, to like and approve of this pernicious Liquor."

The artist William Hogarth produced the two pictures Beer Street and Gin Lane, combined above.  The drinkers in Beer Street are portrayed as a fat, happy, avuncular bunch, rowdy perhaps as illustrated by the foolhardy souls on the rooftop, but mostly without malice or threat.  Gin Lane is in direct opposition to its happy partner, Gin soaked alcoholics starve in the gutters and fight with dogs for bones thrown in the street, a man maddened by a vast quantity of Gin dances with a baby impaled on a staff, people brawl with furniture used as weapons, and an orphan cries as its mother is loaded into a coffin.

This poem was published along with Hogath's pictures...

Gin, cursed Fiend, with Fury fraught,
Makes human Race a Prey.
It enters by a deadly Draught
And steals our Life away.

Virtue and Truth, driv'n to Despair
Its Rage compells to fly,
But cherishes with hellish Care
Theft, Murder, Perjury.

Damned Cup! that on the Vitals preys
That liquid Fire contains,
Which Madness to the heart conveys,
And rolls it thro' the Veins.
Fifteen years later, the Gin Craze was just starting to wane, but was still very much in the public consciousness, as this poem from the London Evening Post of March 1751 shows...
This wicked gin, of all Defence bereft,
And guilty found of Whoredom, Murder, Theft,
Of rank Sedition, Treason, Blasphemy,
Should suffer Death, the Judges all agree.
By 1757 the craze had all but died out, due largely to price changes for grain and land use rather than the series of Gin Laws launched against it, it would make a resurgence in the Gin Palaces of the Victorian era though.  Throughout the 20th Century numerous governments, most famously that of the USA, showed that they had not learned any lessons from Britain's failed Gin Laws by instituting Prohibition laws of their own.  A swathe of such laws were passed from 1907-33 in Russia, Canada, Norway, Iceland and Hungary, none were to prove a lasting success.
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4 midgets relay race against a camel.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Run, Beardy Fat Bloke, Run

Tsegay Kebede at the 2009 London MarathonImage via Wikipedia
Tsegaye Kedebe beats YS once again
Normally my runs go something like this, plod, plod, plod, sweat, pant, don't stop, plod, plod, more sweat, oh please don't be sick, plod, plod, how can one person sweat so much, plod, plod, oh please don't let me die, oh thank the Lord I'm home again, collapse.

I've been running on and off for a couple of months, and each time I set out in the vain hope that today's effort will be marginally less painful than the last time.  After all, isn't the point of exercise that you are supposed to get better at it ?  I had already done a couple of 5.5 mile runs last week when I did a shorter run on Saturday afternoon, just short of 3 miles, and it was horrible.  It seemed just as bad as the first run I did a few weeks ago, lung bursting, sucking in mouthfuls of air like a man close to drowning, a stitch in my side competing in the knife like pain stakes with a small strain in the small of my back, a stiff breeze seeming to suck the air out of my lungs and my body heat boiling my brain and evaporating my ability for coherent thought. 

Saturday was nearly the last run I was going to bother with, it was just all too much, but I forced myself out the door this afternoon and pounded (and with my running style, I do mean pounded) the mean streets and fields of Myddleton.  What an astonishing difference, I was fleet of foot, lithe and gazelle like, bounding and springing my way though the meadows with a lightness of foot that wouldn't shame an elf.

Alright, that's obviously a lie, I was as heavy footed and plodding as I always am, but, I managed to keep going almost without a halt and I didn't even to close to being sick on my own trainers.  It's not as if Tsegaye Kebede needs to be looking over his shoulder just yet, and to you, not feeling nauseous might not seem a great achievement, but I must say, for me finishing a run and not wanting to be ill is a new personal best, long may it continue.
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X Factor Monster Titten

Going On Part 1

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Topside For Roasting

Album Review : Welder - Elizabeth Cook 8*

With the most Southern drawl you've ever heard, Elizabeth Cook was never really going to sing anything other than country and western, something she does exceptionally well.

Welder is Cook's fifth album, and the title comes from the trade that her father learned whilst in prison for running moonshine, you couldn't really have a more C&W background than that.  For those that cannot stand C&W, yes I'm afraid Welder is full of those twangy guitar sounds and bluesy style lyrics, but Cook's voice is wonderful, the lyrics sharp and heartfelt and the songs well written and interesting.

Welder contains many aspects of Cook's life, there is the fun and easy humour of the Southern rap style Camino, some advice on drinking before sex in Yes To Booty, and then just when you think Welder is full of lightweight frippery along comes the desperately sad lyrics of Heroin Addict Sister and its tale of dismal drug use and life spiralling out of comfort and control.

Cook's high and clear voice soars above the steel guitars on the moving Mama's Funeral, then she shows her versatility by moving into an almost comedy song routine for the George Bush inspired Snake In The Bed.

Welder contains 14 tracks, with four of those being covers (please forgive my lack of knowledge of the C&W scene if I've cocked this up), Frankie Miller's Blackland Farmer, Hem's Not California, and two tracks by Tim Carroll, who also plays on the album, Til Then (which is glorious, haunting and ethereal and possibly the best track on the album, certainly the best cover) and Follow You Like Smoke. On the cover versions and her own songs, Cook switches easily from the more traditional C&W style to more bluesy songs and ballads.

A great voice, incisive and bittersweet lyrics, some outright laughs ("and now I have my hands in his mullet" from Camino), all in all a strong and entertaining album from a hugely underrated country and western singer, if you like a bit of Southern twang and songs of the prairies, don't miss out on this.

Street Sweeper Social Club - Paper Planes (M.I.A. Cover) - NIN|JA Tour -...

World's Dullest Race Finally Finishes

Ed Milliband MP speaking at the Labour Party c...Image via Wikipedia
No, not Formula 1, but the Nu-Labour leadership race which was being tightly contested between four public schoolboy drone clones and Diane Abbot.

Race winner Ed Miliband launched himself into his new job with a heartfelt and stirring speech promising help for those who most need it and vowing to protect Labour's traditional supporters, the Middle Classes.  Oh hang on, I seem to have made a typo there, I'll just go and check my sources..., that's actually what Miliband said ""My aim is to show that our party is on the side of the squeezed middle in our country and everyone who has worked hard and wants to get on."  I suppose this must come as a bit of a kick in the teeth if you are a working class Labour voter, but then again, after years of Bliar and Brown they must be well used to a knife in the back by now.

Miliband spread a little salt in the wounds of the working classes by saying "We must never again lose touch with the mainstream of our country."  Well Ed, I think the Labour party managed that quite some time ago, but at least it is decent of you to admit where the party sees itself and whose interests it is defending, although it is a little strange to see the red flag flying from the Tory mast.
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Album Review : Ghetto Blaster EP - Street Sweeper Social Club 9*

Sometimes the reviews just write themselves, there is only one question you really need to ask yourself when considering purchasing this SSSC EP, and that is, "Do I like Rage Against The Machine ?"

Answer = yes - buy the album
Answer = no - don't buy the album

Street Sweeper Social Club with singer/rapper Boots Riley is RATM amped to the max, simple but highly effective drums, choppy muscular guiter work from Tom Morello and rabble rousing lyrics with equal amounts of intelligence and motor mouthed bad language.

The EP features 4 songs, a remixed version of Promenade from their self titled debut LP, and two covers, LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out and MIA's Paper Planes.

Now, I loved RATM, but I have to admit that Zack's vocals were sometimes on the whiny side, and the band struggled to maintain a high level of song crafting throughout an album, you know, a few really great tunes, and then some fillers.  SSSC though seem to be taking the big sound that underpinned RATM, and then adding Boots Riley's richer, stronger vocals, it's a heady and powerful mix.

Killing In The Name Of is always going to be the song that most people associate with RATM, and it's possible that it has become a millstone for Morello to wear when writing songs with other projects like Audioslave.  He might just have exorcised this particular ghost with the The New Fuck You, macho chords build into Riley's opening rap and then the hammer down call and response chorus.  Scars (Hold That Pose) has a trickling guitar line under Riley's vocals then a thundering riff under the melodic chorus, Everythang and title track Ghetto Blaster have echoes of Public Enemy, but with massive guitars and thundering drums.

The Ghetto Blaster EP is an absolute tour de force, heavy, clever and easily the best thing Morello has done without De La Rocha.

The Walking Dead - Comic-con Trailer [HD]

Friday, September 24, 2010

Number Crunching

As per the column in Private Eye.

Average yearly expenditure on alcohol, phones, entertainment, fashion, music/concert tickets = £2980*

Average yearly expenditure on course materials = £315**

Average yearly student debt = £4417***

Quick and dirty figures from...

* TES 2006

** LloydsTSB / Halifax Student Spending 2008

*** BBC News 2009

Sex and Drugs And, Er, Classic Bordeaux Blends ?

Those crazy, crazy heavy metal boys, what will they think of next ? Well, pairing up with a winery and making own label Bordeaux style wines is what Queensryche's Geoff Tate is getting up to.

The singer responsible for the quite awesome Operation:Mindcrime and Rage For Order albums has teamed up with Holly turner of Three Rivers Winery to produce a red and a white French style blend going under the name of Insania.

Let's hope his taste in recreating classic wines is better than his taste in rehashing classic rock albums, Mindcrime II Geoff ? Really, what the hell were you thinking ?

The New Fuck You

Coked out is the new tipsy
Tracy Morgan's the new Nipsy
Skinny jeans are the new fashion
But none of that fits me
Weed smoke is the new incense
Two bucks is the new ten cents
3 strikes is the new lynchin
Buyin is the new rentin
These lines are new molotovs
Right now there's a new holocaust
More troops is the new call it off
I'm tryna pry this collar off
Hip Hop is the new rock now
Curfews are the new lockdown
Gunshots are the new cricket chirps
Let's flip this shit top down

Fuckin is the new "Hey, how do y'do?"
And revolution is the new fuck you
The New Fuck You

Flagwaving's the new zeig heil
Do nothing's the new denial
Torture is the new torture
We'll all walk that green mile
The dope spot's the new factory
Nip/Tuck is the new quackery
Handguns are the new switchblades
And freedom' the new fantasy
"Get a room" is the new "get a home"
Low income's the new hella po'
Phone sex is the new group sex
There's feds on your telephone
"Take care" is the new healthcare
Big business gets welfare
The Middle East is the new goldrush
We've made a new hell there
Fuckin is the new "Hey, how do y'do?"
And revolution is the new fuck you
The New Fuck You

- The New Fuck You by Street Sweeper Social Club

Big reds

My personal selection case from Laithwaites, 6 of Shiraz and 6 Rioja's, plus a free bottle of Chianti, all good heavy winter drinking.

Big Shiny Bike

In Tesco car park.

Roll Call Once More

 It is that time of year again, the university bound students have departed to either engage their minds in academic excellence, or get smashed off their faces every night, delete as appropriate.  So it is goodbye temporarily to Rob, who should be back with us during holidays, and goodbye for ever to Saskia as her mother will be moving so she won't be coming back to dear old Ilkley.  Have a good time kids, and remember to study hard as well as partying hard.

So, Paula is now head girl and commis, Fred is almost there as commis, Rachel and Hannah I have already introduced,  and the new dudettes joining us for the next year or two are the lovely Laura...

the delightful Ellie, or she might be Lauren, I'm confused....

Further japery will undoubtedly follow.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On This Day...

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Constantius of Perugia.  Constantius may have been the first Bishop of Perugia, there are various legends of his life, but in the most widely believed he was arrested and tortured on at least two occasions, and finally murdered by beheading in the town of Foligno, where some of my wife's relatives live to this day.  Not that I'm saying my in laws are generally involved in the persecution of Catholics.

Tha painting is Virgin Mary and the Saints by Pietro Perugino, painted in 1497.  The saints l-r are Louis of Toulouse, Lawrence, Herculanus of Brescia, and Constantius of Perugia.


Oi! Townie !

What you in the town call 'parking bays', we in the countryside refer to as 'gateways' and odd as it may seem to you city folk, people have to get in and out of fields to work, you muppet.  On the other hand, most of the workers around here are farmers, who own tractors big enough to barge your ill-parked little car out of the way.

Warning ! Larpers !!

Who is he ? Nightman ? The Eclipse ? The midnight fridge raider ?

Arooga ! Larpers !!

FSA, Not Toothless, But Spineless

There was a small news item in the Indy last week (also on BBC link below) in which the FSA, Food Standards Agency, said that they were worried by the amount of food service establishments who were still using washable, as opposed to disposable, cleaning cloths. The FSA went on to moan about the large percentage of restaurants who were apparently ignoring their recommendations.

The problem here is that the FSA are utterly spineless when it comes to issuing guidelines.  When a guideline is a recommendation then people are free to take them up on it or not. If a guideline is law, then food service managers and employees would know exactly where they stood, either you do as the FSA say, or you are breaking the law.

What the FSA, and their enforcement troops the Environmental Health Officers are really great at doing though is covering their own backs.  They don't ever issue a direct, unequivocal guideline or straight down the line piece of advice, they must be trained to use mealy mouthed expressions like "we recommend" or "it might be best if" when talking to caterers.

A few years ago I attended a hygiene training course about risks and risk assessment, a lot of the chefs and managers on the course found the lack of absolute policy on the course frustrating.  One of the sessions was an open Q&A session with two Environmental Health Officers, for an hour they were bombarded with questions and what we most wanted to know was absolutes.  The EHO's were asked over and over again questions like "how many times a day must we perform temperature checks on our fridges ?" and over and over again the EHO's wriggled and squirmed and refused and gave answers like "well you must do them enough times so that you are sure in your own mind that sufficient care has been taken."

It isn't fair for an EHO with degree level training to be telling a cook with a Stage 1 hygiene certificate that the cook bears all the responsibility without giving them the answers they need.  The EHO/FSA should tell people what must be done, if we are told that temperature checks must be carried out 4 times a day, then we would all know and understand what the minimum requirement is, and we would know when we were falling short of it.

At the end of the course we were asked to fill in a questionnaire about the training methods and information supplied, everyone I spoke to said they rated the course as being very poor, and the manager of a Leeds hotel said he would be writing to the agency to demand his money back for himself and the three employees he had brought along.

Back to the cloths then, what is the risk of a washable cloth ? Well obviously it is that someone is going to use the cloth to clean up something that might well contaminate other foods, a blood spill or soil from vegetables for example, and then go on to use the cloth further around kitchen, spreading bacteria as they go.  Why don't a lot of catering establishments use disposable cloths ? Because it adds yet more cost to their overheads, disposable cloths are scarcely cheaper than washable ones and you often use more of them for the same job as they tend to disintegrate when used for scrubbing stubborn or dried on food debris.

The best practise with washable cloths then is to use a cloth to clean away any debris from the surface to be cleaned, and put that cloth straght in the wash basket, then spray the surface with anti-bacterial spray, leave for the recommended contact time, and wipe off with a clean cloth also sprayed with anti-bacterial spray, and the second cloth goes directly into the wash basket as well.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Arooga ! Larpers !!


I have been hanging around on the fringes of the English Defence League recently, don't jump to any conclusions though, I have not suddenly altered my political stance or my liberal outlook on life, I was just interested in seeing if the EDL were actually the sort of people they say they are.  What the EDL claim to be (and I would have posted their entire political statement as I did with the MDL earlier, but their website is down again so I can't copy/paste it) is 'Peacefully Protesting Against Militant Islam.'

I don't have a problem with their stated aim, in fact, as a fairly narrow aim I am actually in support of it, the more militant and extreme edge of Islam is bringing suffering and fear to millions of people across the world. The overwhelming majority of Muslim people are fairly ordinary folk like you and me, just with a different way to pray, so they should be no problem for the EDL, right ? Well, it just doesn't work that way.

The two main forums for EDL chat are their own forum page, and their Facebook support page.  The facebook page is filled on a regular basis with fairly vile racist comments and anti-Islamic rhetoric.  People posting on the wall scour the Internet for news items and video containing Muslim people, especially Muslim leaders, committing crimes or talking about Jihad, these types of story are posted on a regular basis to bolster their own tunnel vision world view.  The EDL see a tiny fraction of the actions of a religion, and believe that all the people within that group think and act and believe in exactly the same manner.

"we should send all these muslims back to there own fucking countrys" - In response to a video about a mugging committed by young Muslim men.

"If it aynt white it aynt rite send it back" - In a thread discussing the aims and directions of the EDL, this sort of comment is regularly echoed.

There is a fairly delicious irony in the fact that on the page of the English Defence League you will come across some of the worst examples of written English ever committed to print.

Whilst the EDL members claim that their videos and news stories are factual and representative of the Muslim faith, they perform an about face when other people claim that views expressed on the wall are merely race hate, trolls they cry, all the racist comments are made by Muslim trolls posting on here to defame us and make the EDL look bad.  Even a brief perusal of the EDL wall will disabuse you of that claim, the sheer amount of race and religious hate and the large number of people posting it, with their Facebook visible links to other EDL and quasi white power groups shows that the EDL seems to just a collective of people who hate Islam and the people that follow it.

Over on the EDL forum the language tends to be a little more restrained, but the aims are similar.  If the aim of the EDL is to oppose militant Islam, but claims to be tolerant of the majority of Muslims, then why are there threads dedicated to opposing the building of mosques, to encourage supporters not to buy food made from halal meat, and to further define their 'understanding' of Islam by forever bringing topics like terrorism, honour killing, forced marriage and pedophilia into almost every discussion.

The English Defence League does not oppose militant Islam, it opposes Islam full stop, no matter what its leaders may claim. I accept that there may be a few EDL members who believe in the party line, but the large majority come across as refugees from the NF/BNP.  The forums are filled with people who have a particular view and seek to express it in a like minded community, and use a narrow selection of news and politics to support the position they have taken.

The level of support for extremist groups like the EDL is worrying, and the hate they express frightening.  These are people with whom you cannot engage in reasonable argument, any left of centre view will have you showered with abuse and touted as a "Paki lover" or similar.  What can be done then to counter these people ? I honestly don't know, I don't know how you change their minds, how to get them to accept people (in exactly the same way as I don't know how you could get radical Muslims to moderate their views), how to make them more understanding and tolerant.  There are a lot of people out there, on all sides, with hatred on their minds.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review : Matterhorn - Karl Marlantes 10*

10Karl Marlantes has based his Vietnam war novel on his own experiences as a newly commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, and this war novel enters the genre as a work as devastating and honest as any in the field.  Marlantes says the book has taken him three decades and numerous drafts to create, but for a book so long in the creation it has an incredible freshness and immediacy to the writing.

The action, fear and misery of war are obvious from the first page, we meet the protagonist Lt. Waino Mellas in a forward firebase close to the Laos border, there is a torrential downpour, the camp is sodden and stinking and the main unsettled. Mellas is immediately plunged into problems both very real and possibly fictitious, one man is in desperate trouble, a leech has crawled into his urethra and if the clouds do not lift to permit an air evacuation then he may well die.  A black soldier complains of persistent headaches, but dealing with him leads Mellas into the dangerous maze of black power politics and tension existing within the Marines.

Mellas has arrived full of dreams of power and glory, he imagines himself excelling in the field and moving rapidly through the officer ranks, but in this bildungsroman the experiences of battle change him, and in a matter of weeks we see a man transformed from a slightly shallow glory hunter into a true leader of men, and one who cares passionately for the lives of those serving under him.

If Matterhorn is to be taken as a largely realistic depiction of service life in the Vietnam war, then you would hang your head in despair at the actions of some of the military command.  On a patrol Mellas' men are issued with rations for three days, but are then kept out for eight days in the most appalling weather conditions, men are injured in accidents and men fall ill and die partly through malnourishment, and this happens because a higher ranking officer has fouled up the supply plans but refuses to admit it because it will look bad on his service record.

The black soldiers in Mellas' platoon feel that they are particularly hard done by, but this world view is shared to some degree by all the soldiers and permeates even the thoughts of the field officers.  Tensions come to the surface with obvious friction between some black soldiers and their white sergeant, other problems simmer away dangerously hidden from clear view.

Marlantes depicts in graphic and brutal detail the fear and danger of combat, and the sometimes fatalistic but determined attitude of the soldiers during those actions.  The confusion, pain and terror of close combat is so clearly written that you are transported into the wet, muddy foxholes alongside the Marines, you can feel their hatred of the politicians and commanders who have brought them to this place, and their grudging admiration for, and fear of, their enemies the NVA.

Much of the action in Matterhorn is centred around the Vietnamese peak the US Army has nicknamed after the European mountain.  Bravo Company arrive to dig in and build defences for a fire support base, but when war priorities change they have to abandon the base almost intact having neither the time or explosives to demolish the emplacements.  The NVA move into the readily defensible hilltop and in an act of dismal, reckless bad planning, Bravo Company are ordered to re-take their own defensive position.

Mellas does not accept this decision lightly, he knows fully that the positions he has built may well massacre his own troops as they seek to attack them, and his position is not helped by incompetent air strikes and artillery support.  Duty bound, Mellas leads the assault, and its bloody struggle and the equally dismal, murderous aftermath underscores the futility of the war, the muddle headedness of the politics that drives it, and the wayward power through violence morality of the Black Panther adherents.

Karl Marlantes has created a staggeringly powerful war novel in Matterhorn, his characters are well aspected, there are no obvious good guys and bad guys, just men forced into making decisions in the most awful of circumstances.  Although Matterhorn does not dwell on the external politics of the conflict, the depiction of the ground war and its awful, circuitous path brilliantly underscore the frustrations and confusion of the fighting men.  Men in every war have asked 'what is the point', but seldom has this been expressed as clearly, and as viscerally, as in Matterhorn.

Winchester Goose

Winchester Goose - the swelling in the groin caused by a venereal disease - Oxford Shakespeare Glossary, CT Onions.

The term Winchester Geese was used for the prostitutes around the palace of the Bishop of Winchester in London.

The painting is Man with Goose by Lowel Herrero, you can browse and buy the artist's work from his website.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Think I'm In Love

Model Susan Coffey, the top three phtographs are by Sito Alvina, click on his name to view the gallery and buy from the Deviantart site.

The last three pics are by Susan you can see and buy them from her own Deviantart page.

Pale - yes.
Redhead - yes.
Beautiful - yes.
Slightly quirky - yes.
A bit more eye liner and she'd be perfect.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You've Heard Of The EDL, What About The MDL ?

The name "Muhammad" in traditional T...Image via Wikipedia
"Post 9/11 we have seen an upsurge in ant- Islamic sentiment both in the UK and on the international level and certainly this sentiment has turned in to action by Islamaphobes all across the world. Islamaphobia has been coined to describe this phenomenon which has given rise to a much needed counter to all the propaganda that is disseminated predominantly by the right-wing media and right-wing Politicians. The Muslim Defence League is a peaceful movement primarily focused on countering the very anti-Islamic English Defence League. We will do this in two main ways:

1. Mobilise local communities to rise against the EDL (peacefully) and join other similar organisations.

2. Disseminate the right information via the internet (and other means) for the mass public.

We also have a general aims which go beyond the current EDL threat:

1. To empower Muslims and non Muslims to actively engage society for its benefit. For many years we have seen the Muslim community remain inactive and kept themselves to themselves. We want to encourage the Muslims to engage in society. One example of this is to participate in local and national elections. We also recognise that a huge section of the general public have been disenfranchised and have become disillusioned with Politics. We want to change this and mobilise the people to make an active stance against what they think is wrong.

2. To counter Islamaphobia spread by certain media, politicians and activists. Within the context of Britain we have seen credible Muslim scholars, activist and institutions being demonised and their good reputations being tarred because of this rise in Islamaphobia.

3. To highlight the plight of people who suffer injustice and oppression all over the world. For example Palestine has been under occupation for over 62 years and the stories of genocide and ethnic cleansing is vast in its history of occupation. The occupation is illegal and the plight of the Palestinians continues!

4. To promote the right approach amongst Muslims in the UK. We are pragmatic and we take in to considerations the reality on the ground. We need to have a balanced and moderate approach as done so by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The behaviour and character of Muslims is what used to define us. We need get back to this well refined way of behaving and we will do this by promoting credible literature, scholars and Institutions.

We also aim to educate the extremist who do not represent the will of the Muslim community, but nonetheless they are given a platform by the media because it makes good TV. At the same time we reject those people and groups who have strayed into neglect of their duties/principles of their Deen. For example the Quilliam Foundation and its founders who have been rejected by the Muslim community as sell outs and government stooges.

5. To promote the true essence of the religion of Islam. As Muslims in the UK we have a duty to promote Islam but we do not force it down people who disagree with us. We do this in ways that is best and most desired, not screaming and shouting like headless chickens. We also need to focus on our community who are becoming more and more spiritually devoid. “Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11)"

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I'm Knackered

And that's putting it politely. What an incredibly busy weekend that was, we served around 100 on Friday, 3 different dinner services on Saturday for a total of around 120 diners, a buffet for 80 plus about the same number for light snacks on Sunday, then 140 ladies for breakfast and dinner yesterday for the Ladies Open Day, and the committee dinner afterwards.

I'm a bit dazed and sleepy this morning, but today isn't such a heavy day, Ladies Day plus a few men who play before the ladies tee times begin, and it is pouring with rain right now, so that might make the day a little quieter.

Rain isn't so good for the cricket though as the last matches of the season got under way yesterday, Yorkshire scrambled to a bonus batting point on 205-7, Somerset are 132-2 after a rain affected day, and Notts were swamped by a Manchester downpour and only managed a single over against Lancs.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Notts Fight Back

Some good batting from Franks, Wagh and Voges led Notts to a lead of 152 over Yorkshire yesterday, and Notts still have only 6 wickets down.  The Tykes need some inspired bowling this morning to knock the tail over quickly before Notts build a lead that will be too difficult to chase.

Come on Yorkshire.


Sackering - Telling false tales of distress.  This variation on crying wolf was noted by the Reverend Alfred Easther in his Glossary of  the Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield. Easther said that Sackerin' Sam was a well known tramp or beggar in the district of Dalton.

The good Reverend was a incomer to his Yorkshire parish, and noted with respect to pronunciation that "Our Yorkshire friends have ideas of their own as to their peculiar vowel sounds, and will hardly admit that a South countryman, even one so thoroughly acclimatised as myself, can pronounce them at all."

Easther also recorded other characters who lived in or passed through his parish, one of these was Feckless Fanny. Fanny was a shepherd, and perhaps bit simple, she dressed in mens clothing and drove her dozen sheep into the churchyard one night.  The tamest of the sheep she had named Charlie, when she slept she laid down with her head on Charlie's flank.

The painting is Diogenese by Robert Lenkiewicz, you can see more of his art here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

What Do You Like Most In A Woman ?

It's An Advert

But it is rather good.

I can't read what this company are advertising, a wide range of household goods perhaps, but their animated web page is pretty nifty.

Shazad and Dalby Inspire Yorkshire

It is the game that relegation favourites Yorkshire have to win if the White Rose County is to have a shot at the title.  Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale put Notts in to bat on a green looking wicket and the Yorkshire bowlers soon found enough in the pitch to make life difficult for the home team.

Huddersfield lad Ajmal Shazad blew the Notts top order away with 4-21 and Halifax youngster Oliver Hannon-Dalby took the tail with 4-18, 18 year old Bradfordian Moin Ashraf completed Notts nightmare as they were skittled out for just 59, their lowest total for 22 years.

Yorkshire lost some early wickets, but the Captain played a Captain's innings on the opening day, moving steadily to a personal total of 147 n.o. he helped Yorkshire to 260-8 at close of play.  Yorkshire really couldn't have had a better opening day at Notts.

Over in the other match we have to keep an eye on, Lancashire made a steady 259, Somerset are 54-1 in reply, here's hoping for rain and a draw.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Album Review : Up From The Deep - Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts 9*

Gilmore & Roberts debut LP Shadows And Half Light was an exciting blend of traditional and new British folk played and sung by a talented young duo which established the pair as a group to keep an eye on in the folk scene.  The gig they played at The Swan in Addingham earlier this year was likely to have been the last time you would get a chance to see them perform for free, and the venue was packed to the rafters to hear Katriona and Jamie play a selection of older songs and tracks from UFTD.

The new album is every bit as wonderful as their debut, the pair havn't changed a thing, except from becoming a little more polished in their playing and harmonies.  As with their debut, UFTD contains a mix of songs and musical pieces, including the delightfully sub-titled Upper Badger's Bottom.  Katriona said she wrote the song Fleetwood Fair because most other folk bands had a song about a fair and they felt a bit left out, but joking aside, Fleetwood Fair a plaintive and haunting song about a chance meeting with a man, or a spirit, with the couple's carefully spartan music swelling into a beautiful chorus.

Both Jamie and Katriona write and sing their own songs, and their very different voices lend a sense of freshness and change to the album.  Lyrically, GR switch easily between very traditional folk themes and contemporary socially aware lyrics with ease.  The pair have been joined on the album by Jack Theedom on double bass, Cia cherryholmes plays banjo on the Bluegrass tinged Off To California, Dom Howell plays cajon on No Rest For The Wicked. A cajon for those who don't know, and that includes me before a quick google search, is a box like percussion instrument played with the hands.

There are some absolutely cracking tracks on UFTD, the opening track, Jamie's re-working of the (Irish folk tune ?) song Childgrove on All I've Known with its tales of people blinded to other possibilities sets a high standard for the rest of the album, but GR manage a consistently high standard through the album.  Katriona sings on the driving ballad No Rest For The Wicked, a plucked string over softer guitar supports Kat's clear vocals as she tells a tale of life on tour, well if it's compulsory for a folk band to have a Fair song then it's compulsory for any rock band to bemoan life on the road and the lyrics fit in well with GR's modern sensibilities.

Up From The Deep is a worthy successor to Shadows And Half Light, a bright and accomplished album that moves easily from the traditional to the brand new.  Beautiful, full of life and wit and thoughtful in equal part, you'll be hard pressed to find a better folk album this year.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Guns 'n Roses Catch A Plane

Axl Rose - "I am Axl Rose of Guns 'n Roses ©™ and I am here with my band to take the plane to Los Angeles, 1st Class of course, and I demand that you scatter rose petals along the concourse."

Flight Desk Attendant - "I'm sorry Mr. Rose but the LA flight left an hour ago."

Axl - "What ?!! Motherfucker. Don't you know who I am ?"

FDA - "Yes sir I do. You are Axl Rose and you're an hour late for your flight.  I Don't recognise the other gentlemen with you though."

Generic Rock Bass Player - "Hi, I'm Generic Rock Bass Player."

Man with upturned Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head - "I'm not Slash."

Axl - "I am Axl Rose, the most important figure in the whole heavy rock genre, and I demand that you bring back that plane right now. Motherfucker."

FDA - "I am sorry Mr Rose but that just isn't possible.  We put out several calls over the tannoy and you didn't respond to any of them."

Axl - "I am Axl Rose, messages are delivered to me hand written on parchment carried by nubile virgins shimmering with fragrant oils. I don't answer no fucking tannoy. Motherfucker."

FDA - "Mr. Rose, if you continue swearing at me then I'm going to get Big Bob from security to taser you."

Axl - "I am Axl Rose and no motherfucker tasers the God of...." (BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, singe, crackle)

Axl - "motherfucker...." BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Next episode - Axl Rose tries to catch a train.

Lamech, My Son

I was reading the Bible yesterday and wondering why certain names from the very beginning of the Bible have remained in common use and other names have not.

Adam, Eve, Noah, Jared, Abel, Enoch and Seth, I know people, either personally or well known people, who have these names. I don't think I know of anyone called Cain, which is reasonable if people have a bit of Bible knowledge when choosing their son's name.

There are a lot of other names of equal antiquity though which have either fallen from common use, or have never really been picked up as names, does anyone know of a Lamech, Shem, Ham, Japeth, Enos or Mahalaleel ? These names may sound unusual, but only because they are not in common use, if you knew half a dozen blokes called Lamech the name wouldn't sound so unusual at all.

The picture is a woodcut called Creation of Light by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld from a series of engravings for Die Bible In Bildern published in 1860.

Friday, September 03, 2010

New Music

Much excitement yesterday as my advance copy of the new album from Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts arrived.  Up From The Deep is the pair's second album, and on first listen it is as good as their wonderful debut Shadows And Half Light.

This months purchases from E-music were...

Moven.S - Self titled EP : Brit/French hard rock/nu-metal
Lovely Destruction - Shotgun Rebels : rawk and roll
Unearthed - Mindset : metal
Money Machine - Bigelf : metal like the 70's never ended
Official Business - Coltcockers : indy rock
Ethnofunkydostoyevskycomecomeclub - 0.8Syooogeki : Japanese techno rock
Spirit In The System - The Qemists : The Qemists get all their mates in on new album
Unearthing - Alan Moore : spoken word album from the comics maestro

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Cassetteboy vs. The One Show

Their Like Will Be Seen No More

Two tiny bits of sad news this week.  Wheatley AFC are no more, wives, children, hangovers and growing old having taken their toll, so no more Sunday football for the vagabond side. 

It says in this season's CAMRA magazine that the Woolpack/Commercial in Esholt has closed down, it should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the pub was part of the sprawling Enterprise Inns chain.  When there are no more village pubs left, and a vital and wonderful part of our national heritage has been allowed to die, it should be noted that it wasn't the smoking ban that killed pubs, nor was it the price of beer in supermarkets (although these things may not have helped), it is largely the appalling greed of the non-brewery pub chains that sprung up in the wake of the Monopoly Act.  These companies charge huge rents to landlords, and then tie them by contract to buying beer at vastly inflated prices.

The pub chains would not have existed without an ill conceived law brought in by the Conservative Government in 1989, the Beer Orders aimed to break up the monopoly of the six biggest brewery pub chains, but it gave rise to the non-brewery landlords and the demise of thousands of pubs across the country.
If you want to point a finger at who killed our pubs, it was the Tory party.