Friday, 27 April 2007

8 Contenders Gently Spar

“Highfalutin language is not enough.”
John Edwards, Democratic Presidential Candidate debate, Orangeburg, SC.

Mike Gravel
Barack Obama
Chris Dodd
John Edwards
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Biden
Bill Richardson
Hillary Clinton

These are the Democratic Presidential Candidates and the first televised debate between them was rather like an aperitif, served with a couple of crackers in the form of long-rank outsiders Dennis Kucinich (impeach Dick Cheney) and Mike Gravel (who aside from having a good name for a stand-up comedian, suggested that being in Iraq should be a felony), who due to their cat in hells chance, can piss in the wind as much as they want and not worry about how wet their trousers get.

There was no real confrontation and no gaffs, helped by a time restricted format and the lack of direct debate between contestants. This led to a lot of issues rather amusingly being boiled down to a show of hands but at least that cuts the waffle and shows where people stand and after all, that’s what voting comes down to.

The common ground was the easy-with-hindsight area concerning President Bush’s policy over Iraq, with candidates clambering over one another to pull troops out of Iraq the quickest; one gets the feeling that they have little idea of what impact that would have on the country in question, especially the long term effect on global conflict but the number of dead Americans is piling up as the debate prolongs itself.

Having read a whole raft of sources, its seems that Hilary won it by a nose with show pony Obama disappointing with his lack of show pony behaviour and the other candidates blurring into a Democratic mass. Certainly with the audience present, Mrs Clinton won it hands down.
As a non-American, something that brought joy was the conciliatory tone of the Democratic candidates regarding re-engaging with global politics; rather than ploughing some lone, aggressive furrow. However, it’s one thing the Democrats understanding that a volte-face in foreign policy is required, we’ll see what attitudes the incumbent political party bring to the debate.

Freedom fries anyone?

Thursday, 26 April 2007

You're All Going to Die Down Here (Get Out)

Imagine millions and millions of holes, deep, dark and dangerous but safer than what you think is on the other side. Staying in the hole means you know the devil you'll face and you can console yourself that it's too deep to get yourself out on your own and that who is ever going to help someone like you? And after a while your eyes get used to the darkness and your heart gets numb to the pain of the place.

Then imagine that these millions and millions of holes are crammed full of millions and millions of children and young people, languishing at the bottom of these caverns, scared to try and get out, happy to be down there; better to reign in hell then serve in heaven, right?

Then imagine yourself, stood at the lip of the hole and you're kneeling there and you're offering your hand into the darkness; blind faith, you could get pulled in, bitten or hear the echoes of abuse thrown at you from the pit.

Then imagine yourself surprised because you feel a hand smaller than yours take your hand and start to pull itself out of the hole, sometimes they slip and you think you're going to lose them or get pulled down with them and sometimes the grip gets so loose you're sure you don't have the strength anymore to pull them up. But you don't give up.

And then, out of the hole emerges a person, blinking and spluttering into the light. They did all the hard work to scale the walls, you just offered them a hand to get out.

Dedicated to the 14-16 Brentwood Engagement Programme.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007


I was over at the excellent blog that belongs to Saur and was scrolling through her posts and found a mention of a blog called Critique My Blog! (I'm not linking to the piece of shit, that's the whole point) that in exchange for a link swap will review your blog.

I was intrigued, because this sounded to me like a link whoring spam blog piece of crap but you know, I could be I visited and was very happy to find:
  1. No bad reviews, which is great to get that link whore juice flowing to promote terrible spam blogs.
  2. Sponsored reviews of the worst kind of spam blogs you can imagine, you know the ones that clog up your comments with links to increase Google juice and other whoring techniques.
  3. The links section, which includes pest control and other link whoring techniques.
My advice, stay well clear and don't link to it and while you're at it, flag it so that it gets taken down by the Blogger police.

For those of you in any doubt, read the following review for a Mortage spam blog:

"I follow the market very closely and love to invest. One thing I am very interested in as well is real estate and it amazed me how a year or so ago so many people were jumping in with both feet and taking mortgage interest rates that were basically teaser rates that were going to balloon later on down the line. I think part of the reason for this is that people listen more to television commercials instead of doing the proper research on sites like the mortgage lowdown. The first thing I do before I make an investment or buy something is go online and research it thoroughly. This mortgage news site gives some top notch information about all things that involve the mortgage business like mortgage interest rates, refinancing, and real estate. No doubt there is a wealth of information on this site and before you buy your should check it out. This post has been sponsored by the fine folks at Mortgage Lowdown."

Did you just see that? That was a blogger's integrity hanging itself...

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

The Wild One

"What are you rebelling against?"

"What've you got?"

Two years before Jimmy Dean was a rebel without a cause, Marlon Brando was laying down the rebel template in 'The Wild One', a movie I have a massive soft spot for; even though it is quite rough round the ages and has dated quite badly it is still a cracking period piece.

Brando's performance is like watching a proto-Elvis but then you have to remember this film predates rock 'n' roll and is full of jazzed-up bikers rather than hepped-up rockers and then it clicks that Elvis stole his early persona from Brando's character.

It's clear that Brando took his characterisation from the African American community, his higher tone and phrasing while his swagger is mix of pimp hoodlum and man mountain, it's nice to see a leading man quite clearly a few pounds overweight; oh for the 1950s again.

Lee Marvin nearly steals the show playing opposite Marlon Brando, with a lighter performance that is driven by a drunken, mercury persona that is a nice underscore to the brooding and lead-like work of Brando.

Whether you like motorcycles or not, this is an essential and slight movie for a slice of pre-rock 'n' roll culture and an actor laying down a performance that inspired not only fellow actors but also a whole popular culture movement.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Sudan Man Forced to 'Marry' Goat

You need to get it where you can, right?

Unfortunately, I know plenty of men who seem willing to stick their dick into any hole offered, with or without a struggle but this is going too far. Showing your stupid fear of commitment and trying to make yourself into a man by having sex with random ladies is one thing but I suppose a goat doesn't make you feel guilty for being a cunt.

Seems a Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal.

"The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders."

Surprised? I fuckin' bet he was, being caught with your length in a goat would be quite alarming I'd imagine and on top of the shame he had to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi. The logic behind the dowry was that the goat fucker was using the animal like he would a wife. The goat's owner final quote is a killer:

"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together" Mr Alifi said.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Crystal Meth Training Day

Seems that Crystal Meth is starting to take off as the drug of choice in the UK, seemingly side effects such as paranoia, depression, kidney failure, violent behaviour, internal bleeding and less inhibited sexual behaviour, are not putting anyone off. Having said that, the list of symptoms could just as easily apply to beer…

The worse side effect however, aside from your whole life falling around your arse, is “Meth Mouth” which is not caused directly by the drug itself but rather a terrible mix of poor oral hygiene, lack of spittle, teeth grinding and consumption of high sugar drinks.

Like all drugs it has an array of catchy names but surely the best has to be “Nazi Crank” which is perhaps the best slang term anywhere for getting your rocks off.

Anyway, Crystal Meth and its misuse is a gap in my knowledge when it comes to drugs so I’m off on a training day at the end of June, hopefully free samples will be chucked in.
Know your enemy…

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

I Handed Him the List of Names...

Every Tuesday I teach a bunch of disadvantaged kids who are struggling in school and are in danger of exclusion or legal action for poor attendence, my aim is to inspire them to stick at school and to help them get some work experience so that their CV has something on it when they go out into the job market.

Hard work but I love it and the kids are already burrowing their way into my heart.

We're based at a place called Pilgrim's Hall on the out skirts of Brentwood, which is a religious retreat but have no fear my secular friends, big baby Jesus is not foisted upon them but these chaps kindly offered us a base for the Tuesday sessions (or Mong Club as one of the kids has kindly Christened it...).

I went into the office to give them the full term dates for the classes and after I'd done the guy in charge asked me for a list of names of all the young people taking part, when I asked him why his answered:

"Because we would like to pray for all of them."

Partly this freaked me out, like the children were terrible sinners or something but then part of me thought that it could do know harm and was worth a shot. I suppose these born-again Christians have such an intensity and over powering sense of rightness that I find it hard not to get defensive when they offer their hand in help.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Views From a Bus Window

I was on the bus to the Internet cafe for where this blog post is coming at you like Cleopatra and as I was gazing out of the window, looking out over a lovely part of London on a glorious Summer's day (I've even got me flip-fops on), a car pulled up next to me and I read the car sticker in the back window. It said:


First it made me laugh and then a tiny part of me died.


Friday, 13 April 2007

Going Back Over Old Ground

Over the Easter break I went back to my hometown of Nottingham, mainly to see the legend that is Kirky (who now even has his own blog) and to also see some young people I used to teach (and their offspring, as two of the girls have had beautiful, baby boys).

I also went back with a view to visiting some places that I’d not been to in a while that had some personal resonance with me and in visiting them I made a shocking discovery: they don’t mean much anymore.

It all felt a bit tired, distant and desperate, raking over old coals in order to garner some vague sense of long gone past adventures, trials and tribulations. I started to regret even visiting those places, it was like they didn’t belong to me anymore, war memorials and battlegrounds that were so woven into who I am that I didn’t need to visit the damn places in the first place, after all, I carry them all the time. Something felt mawkish and sentimental about the whole episode, forced entertainment.

I don’t think I’ll be going back to Nottingham for a long time and I certainly won’t be going on any self-guided tours to dig up ghosts that should’ve been laid to rest a long time ago. They need to be left there, in peace and in my heart.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

To Disappoint

"Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before." Kurt Vonnegut (again)

I’ve spent so long changing who I am, I’ve forgotten who I am supposed to be and seriously doubt I know who I was in the first place.

Sometimes, I wish that I’d stay as who I was but then I don’t know which me I’d pick; sometimes all the self-improvement and acknowledging my flaws gets tiring and I wish I could just be at peace with who I am rather than chasing my tail trying to be something I’m not.

Sometimes I get sick and tired of letting people down and disappointing them when I’m trying my best but then I remember that failure is part of the rich pattern of life and how dull it’d be without any of the bad stuff…just wish the bad stuff didn’t hurt so much.

This post is dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Thank You for the Thanks to You

For fear of making our readers puke all over their computer screens, I just wanted to use my top of the mountain to say thank you for your thank you and that without you, I'd be nothing.

What is all this worth if it can't be shared with you? There's no point going through any of this without someone there to watch your back, to hold your hand, to tell you when you're wrong and cheer you when you're right.

I love you, here's to us and our adventures together, partners, pals, lovers, fighters.

Talk to me baby...

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

The Colour of Your Car

He leans on an office chair: louche, tired, old and ugly at one and the same time, talking to a woman far too young for him. This makes him feel better about himself. This is what men do.

He makes flirty chitchat regarding what the colour of your car says about your sexuality, the young woman explains that her car is black; his eyebrow arches high and he says that black means you like S&M and other kinky stuff. While he says this, he licks his lips and thinks about what she would look like with him in her. She doesn’t ask him what colour his car is so he volunteers the fact his car is blue.

“What does that mean?” As soon as she says it she regrets it, what harassment will be unleashed now? What a burden it is being the only pretty woman in the office to sate the demands of the old hounds.

“It means that I’m a good, attentive and passionate lover.” The spittle is nearly falling out of his floppy, sloppy gob and his mind steps up the depravity of his fantasy and I can stand it no longer so I speak up:

“I think you’ll find that a blue car means that you like to be fisted…Hard…In all of your available holes.”