Nearly Dead. Shame



Runs for sheriff in 1970:

On Nixon, America & Drugs

On Letterman in 1983:

Boys In Blue

Just seen the first two teasers for 'Hot Fuzz', which I duly post below:


and Two

Head on over to for more stuff.

NYE's Not The Same Without Him

I just took a trip over to Clive James' website and I'd recommend it.
Here's the link: the link.

And while I'm here, some other stuff being discussed at the Harbour:

Joanna Newsom's album 'Ys'.
Listen to some samples here.

Does Berlusconi like Sushi?

Will I implode if Bob Dylan and Margaret Thatcher die on the same day?

How long can I get away with playing 'Songs From The Wood' by Jethro Tull before being throttled by the person sharing my sofa right now...

Back In The USSR

A collection of nearly 1500 old Soviet posters over here.

Really interesting, although difficult to remove the ghost of Uncle Joe from the equation...

Richard Dawkins

Reading excerpts from 'The God Delusion' in Lynchburg, Virginia:

And even better, the Q & A afterwards:

Leave it playing in the background while you browse. Oh, go on.

Foyer Better or Worse

As currently sitting in an Exeter foyer and feeling strange...

I could be wrong but there may be a resumption of business with a flurry of activity here at the Harbour.

Modern Times

In what constitutes a reasonable birthday present - I'm on the new Bob Dylan album.

It was my first non parent-led trip to London, fifteen years ago, and my girlfriend and I couldn't get off the train quick enough. Straight to Camden Town.

Within minutes of arriving we passed a velvet-suited, top-hatted fella. Camden was jaw-dropping enough but I remember the shot of excitement as I realised we'd bumped into a seemingly unaccompanied Bobby Dylan.

I managed to get some photos of my girlfriend getting an autograph and as more people gathered around, realised that Dave Stewart was shooting the whole thing on a 16mm camera.

The next day on the tube we saw the story on the front page of The Guardian, but the photos stayed Up North and I haven't seen them since.

Well, a limited-edition of 'Modern Times' comes with a DVD containing the promo shot that day and there I am, hovering in the background...

There's also a fantastic shot of my girlfriend approaching him for an autograph, but it's 4am, again, so I'll just add a few more thoughts:

1. I knew that week that I wanted to live in London. Even if I presumed you didn't meet your 'heroes' everyday.
2. Being people's 'hero' makes you more than a little odd, which in turn only makes you more mythical.
3. Keep copies of important photographs.

Meanwhile, Modern Times is a bloody good album. I recommend the DVD version.

How's Them Apples?

Great news from across the border. If only hops were fruit.

We can all dream.


Wide awake. It's 4am and I'm having the World Service jitters.

A common issue for many Radio 4 junkies, this is today's version:

Sunday afternoon in the pub, takeaway food and too early to bed with The Westminster Hour on the radio. A lackadaisical approach to the sleep function and 5 hours later you're waking up to some crazy World Service program, that often leaves you in a restless insomniac confusion.

And so it was that about an hour ago I'm roused by the collective jeering of the Turkish parliament as they heckled an MP who refused to remove her Islamic headdress in 1996.

This is not the way to be woken up in the middle of the night, especially when you're prone to suffocating anxiety.

Having just managed to avoid the upright, not-a-chance-in-hell-of-getting-back-to-sleep awakeness that can ruin a night, I watered and de-watered and headed back off to sleep pleased that some calming 'world' music had followed the screaming Turks.

Minutes later though, just in that foggy half-sleep, I'm suddenly aware that someone is being throttled at the foot of my bed.

And she's not going quietly.

Actually she's a singer from Northern Canada who's style would have been interesting on 'Later...' but is fucking frightening unannounced in the middle of the night.

The unreasonable dominoing that occurs for me in these situations means however that almost immediately I know that any chance of a peaceful night is bolloxed. Within seconds I leap from issue to issue and in a minute or two I'm knotted up and far too awake for a Monday morning.

And so here I sit and there's even less of a point to this post than usual, and certainly no punchline.

The link to the crazy Canadian, Tanya Tagaq, is here, however. Well worth a listen.

Testing. 1,3 Testing.

While I'm here - it's also well worth a little look at Mike Marqusee's blog on Comment Is Free.

This piece on the British Citizenship Test is particularly interesting.

That's A Good Balloon

For those interested (and you should be, indeed you should be) Goodballoon has returned to the interweb over at Goodballoon's Paunch.

It's always worth a visit (and an RSS feed I reckon) - here.

In other news, the talented but illusive Finlay have their albums now available on iTunes and eMusic. You can check them out over at MySpace.

Meanwhile I sit here listening to Alice Cooper's show on Planet Rock, reading and weeping at the Sunday papers but still taking an unhealthy solice in the MacBook firmware update...

Oh dear.

Moove It

On a tech note - anyone suffering from Macbook burn and the dreaded 'mooing' fan, get the new firmware update from Apple (choose 'software update' from the Apple dropdown menu).

At last my new laptop is everything it should be. That is, it's fast, quiet and now doesn't give me hot sweats and red thighs.

Which is a good name for a magazine.

Oh Christ...

Jesus wept...


...putting money on this 'ceasefire' being in place, let's say 2 minutes after the deadline?

And on the homefront - Alex Cox has some interesting things to say here.


I've spent all day with my interenet connection down. After hundreds of frustrated attempts to connect it finally came back on at 8 o'clock.

And the only thing I actually can think to do. Is write this.

Just went out of the house! Got a curry and some Stella and back in time to catch Poirot.

The weekend wasn't wasted after all...


" the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." Ernest Benn

Shit Misses Fan


An ominous part of this appalling situation is the fact that the Met says that it's 'severely disrupted' rather than 'stopped' something awful taking place.

One way or the other I'll be honest, it puts me on edge. The fallout is going to be considerable and the implications for cultural relations dire.

Simon Hughes has at least been on Sky beginning to question how the Labour Government's un-erring support of the US is making us a target.

But I've already heard 'the enemy within' used twice this morning...

This cannot become the expected pattern of life for generations - we've got to start to understand the way that extremists on both sides are feeding off each other. And that means, at the very least, moving away from the comic-book 'us and them' that seems to becoming Anglo-American foreign policy.

And if, as it's reported, it's true that Blair and Bush have been discussing this for weeks, why did Tony still go on holiday?

And furthermore, in the name of anything that resembles democracy, Parliament needs to be recalled immediately.

Some Links

I'm sat, as usual, in dismay as the war in the Middle East escalates on it's 29th day.

Here's some related stuff:

Some history here,
and from George Monbiot here.

And Tony Benn's speech from the demo here.

Any Questions?

There was a serious turnout on the Emergency Demonstration in London yesterday, regardless of the usual media blackout and the complete under-estimate of the numbers by the Met.

Lots of issues are being thrown up by the current situation – and the march started to highlight the difficulties that we may face. But the sooner we ask awkward questions, the sooner we might get some progressive answers.

Three years ago, the biggest demonstration in British history had little impact on Tony Blair or indeed the Labour Party. His pre-arranged attack on Iraq and unquestioning attitude to the Bush Administration carried on apace, leading us merrily to where we are today: Afghanistan in turmoil, a civil war in Iraq and hatred of the US and Britain higher than ever.

It’s clear that the so-called ‘War On Terror’ is now set to dominate the world agenda for decades. It took a few years for a Cold war replacement to be put in place, but now we’re all set; a never-ending war between ‘us’ and ‘them’. That you’re either for or against. History is reset at September 2001. The enemy dehumanised. Anything justified in its name.

And consequently, debate and discussion is only framed within this context. No real understanding of Arab opinion or history. ‘Terrorist’ used as a catch-all for any dissenting voice or resistance movement.

It’s going to take some tough, pragmatic thinking to work out how we can truly reverse what’s going on in our name. And if we don’t want the world that Bush and Blair seem intent on enforcing, we’ve got to find the answers that actually achieve an alternative.

It Only Pours

So the house is sinking, due to a cherry blossom tree and shallow Victorian foundations.

Meanwhile I’m sat here being driven mad by neighbours on all sides having building work done on their properties.

It’s almost enough to make me want to go out.

But then I’d miss gems like yesterday when a correspondent in Jerusalem signed off with “…and so they sit waiting for the rockets to come raining down”. Back in the studio, Jeremy Thompson cleverly linked with “Well, talking of raining down, here’s Francis with the weather”.

Priceless. After a while the whole thing becomes a circus…

So, how can I possibly go out? Today for instance, between live feeds of the heavy weather in Lebanon, Sky is reporting how Northerners are far more likely to die young from alcoholism and an in-depth look at credit-card debt.

And that’s just the kind of escapism I’m looking for.


Spending a fair amount of your summer days indoors, being sterilised with a laptop while Sky News loops for hours in the background isn’t necessarily good for your mental health. My excuse today though, is that I’m waiting for a surveyor to check out a hole in the front garden that the building is falling into.

I noticed the cracks in the plasterwork a couple of weeks ago and guessed the ‘drought’ was to blame. When the front step started sinking and an inch gap between the floor and the wall appeared I rethought my conclusions and alerted the relevant parties.

For a week then, as I’ve awaited the arrival of a professional opinion to set my mind at rest, my mood seems to have sunk too. Although not an uncommon knock-on of a mediocre depressive nature, the shitty soup of current affairs and personal over-thinking has taken a bit of a toll.

Watching the ongoing slaughter in the Middle East, often LIVE, punctuated by ads for over-priced consolidating loans while thinking the front room might collapse isn’t quite the ideal summer.

But it’s the impotence that’s the darkest corner – from not knowing shit about under-pinning to having no way of influencing our nut-job Prime Minister.

And then the humbling thought that as I check the width of the cracks in the wall before I go to bed and struggle to sleep thinking about the implications of an unsafe house and the fact that I’m nailing myself to the spot with a cycle of debt and seem to be unable to lift myself to do anything about it as I hurtle through the years with nothing achieved, which I know isn’t ‘really’ true, but it fucking feels like it…

As all that bubbles away, some poor bastards in Lebanon and Gaza are being blown to bits. And if you’re not dead, maybe you’ve no house, no more town, no more family, no legs, no eyes. And I guess you’d develop a ‘depressive nature’ pretty quick.

But the impotence is a different thing – when the pundits asked where the ‘men-folk’ of Qana were while the women and children sheltered, what did they expect? Because if the same situation was happening here, where’d you reckon most of our ‘men-folk’ would be?

I guess the only related good news is the Mel Gibson saga. Always fun to see closeted bigots exposed, but when it’s a religious-nut anti-semite it’s all the sweeter.

It's Been a While... But Nothing's Changed.

No Rockford or Columbo this afternoon, so spending a few hours with Sky News and the laptop:

Heavy memories of watching the live feed as the Americans started bombing Baghdad three years ago. The waves of anger as reporters who although given a few minutes in a studio can tow the line, on the ground can hardly contain their disgust at the wanton destruction in Lebanon. And the sadness of eye-witnesses trapped in villages, politely asking for the bombing to stop. Entire blocks of civilian high-rises destroyed as politicians avoid giving anything which anywhere near answers the question 'why?', and evacuees at Heathrow denouncing the media reports...

And the silence of Blair and Bush, who are often so ready to claim the high-ground, as they realise that they have nowhere to squirm to. They have no moral or believable position. Tight-lipped bombers together.

And these sudden bursts of imperial violence are not 'surprising' at all. Hezbollah are manipulative scumbags but this tottaly un-balanced reaction betrays Israel's unpleasant links to the western 'democracies' Under the cover of rescuing three soldiers they do a terrible injustice to the many generations of oppressed Jews that they claim to represent.

Anyone For Desert?


BBC NEWS | UK | At least 1,000 UK soldiers desert

Sidee Bidee Bowww....


A Daily Drink 'Only Good For Men'


Cheapie EP

In lieu of any interesting comment (has their ever been?) I duly post this link to a free EP download by those nice boys Wilco.

'Tis here.

Enjoy good music...

For Whom The Bell Tolls

The local election results.

So much to say, so much time to say it.

And so can't be arsed.

Instead why not have a little look at this. Rather interesting in an 'honestly I'm not a conspiracy theorist' way.

Have a lovely day.

May Day Greetings!

A Happy May Day to all those passing through the harbour.

Taken my first hay-fever tablet, blown my nose a zillion times and sitting listening to Emmylou Harris while contemplating the damp weather.

Looking forward to a great summer, a bad local election for New Labour and some sort of consolidating of ideas in my thirtieth year.

Have a good day y'all...

Forever Young

Neil Young is streaming his new album for free this weekend.

It's a Bank Holiday treat: angry, immediate and raw, and puts most bands half is age in the shadows...

Listen Here

Keep On Rockin' In The Free World


Well, just a quick link to Neil Young's blog and all the info on his new album which streams for free on Friday.


(Thanks To AS)

Viva Zappa

In celebration of 'free' 8mb broadband, the 'Tour De Frank' and the Nepalese revolution (not necessarily in that order), here's a rare treat.

In I'm sure the first of many worthy but easy posts, please give it up for Frank Zappa and 'The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing':

Dicks On The High Street

So, our favourite high street electronics retailer is changing it's name.

Like me I'm sure that over the years you've come to know Dixons as a name that encompasses good value, wide choice, informed sales advice and a commitment to understanding modern technology.

But others don't feel the same, namely the owners. So a name change is in the offing.

And what did 'the guys' in marketing come up with? (and I can't bring myself to think how much they charged). Well, a name that cross references their other electronics retailer, but sounds modern...


Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Now I know that Dixons is going to be more like Currys it can only be a matter of time before I hand over hundreds of pounds more for slightly outdated items (that aren't in stock) to a 14 year old sales assistant.

It's a brave new world for the local retail outlet.

Sprouting Some Rubbish

The lack of any Rockford Files this Saturday leaves me plodding around the internet. And I ended up passing through a discussion on Rolling Stone magazine's poll of 'most influential thing ever' at the BBC.

Said poll was won by Dylan's 'Like A Rolling Stone' and the usual comments ensued, debating other possible 'songs that most changed the world'.

One particularly grabbed my attention. So hat's off to Mr Steve Todd of Brussels:

Millennium by Robbie Williams simply because it was 2000 and its title epitomised something new and dramatic was happening. I don't even know the lyrics just the title, simple and appropriate.

And how simple and appropriate it'd be if you had your hands chopped off.

Or at the very least your computer confiscated.

You fucking knobhead.

Zimmer For Four Minutes

In lieu of something more important, like today's UNISON strike and/or our French neighbours doing it that bit better, here's a link to some video of The White Stripes doing a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Love Sick'.

It's good too.

Although a proper pension when you're old would be gooder.

Here Today, Garner Tomorrow

Another Saturday in front of the television.

Here we see a POV as I watch the third Rockford Files of the afternoon, with a refreshing glass of apple juice artois.

Since getting back from a little exterior venture I've kept my 'outdoors' clothes on instead of reverting to the 'slopping about the house' ones donned here.

This in a vain attempt to force some significant activity out of me in the last 6 hours of the day. To little avail.

I am however enjoying listening to a playlist I burnt for my brother recently; a hastily thrown together hotch-potch to help his Virgin Train journey back to the provinces:

1. Finlay - 'Rad Wagon'
A cracker from the "ragged and wonderful...London noiseniks." (Kerrang!)
2. Akira The Don - 'Clones'
Obscure 80's Alice Cooper sampled by modern DJ whatsit.
3. The Band - 'Up On Cripple Creek'
Makes me want to be American. Yodel, odel, odel, ooh...
4. Frank Zappa - 'G-Spot Tornado'
You mad bugger, you. Still excites me as much as the first time I heard it.
5. Hayseed Dixie - 'Roses'
Outkast by men with dungarees and Mandolins.
6. The Humblebums - 'Rick Rack'
Billy Connelly before he was a stand-up. And sober. With Gerry Rafferty.
7. Steve Earle - 'Time Has Come Today'
A Chambers Brothers cover with Abbie Hoffman samples. Don't mention Chevy.
8. Ike & Tina Turner - 'Proud Mary'
Wife-beating never sounded so good on this famous Creedence cover.
9. LCD Soundsystem - 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House'
Just there so my brother didn't confuse me with our Dad
10. Led Zeppelin - 'Going To California'
Slowing the pace a bit without going as far as 'No Quarter'.
11. Little Richard - 'Tutti Frutti'
Seriously, listen to Little Richard now. Unbefuckinglievable.
12. Richard Thompson - '1952 Vincent Black Lightening'
Makes my mate Kev cry. The most requested song on US public radio.
13. Nick Cave & Bad Seeds - 'There She Goes, My Beautiful World'
Nick, Nick, Nick. Gimme a kiss you big moody sod you.

Hopefully more music stuff (but with the actual music) over at IdiotWind when it eventually get's up and running.

I know you just can't wait.

In the mean time visit Finlay here and for more on James Garner, here.

First 'Cunning Plan' Headline?

Oh blimey.

Tony on Tony action as Mr Baldrick of the NEC (not Birminghams) comes out and calls for Blair to stand down.

I'll post a Blackadder or Time Team related joke as soon as possible.

Do doo, do do, do do do dooo...

This Wagon Wheel's On Fire

An unnamed friend of mine is currently on the wagon.

For various reasons, all of which are perfectly sensible, he's off the booze until Friday. His 59th birthday.

Now I've made the mistake of going down this slippery slope before.

After all, the reasoning behind periods of abstinence (even mini-ones) is indeed sound. The effects of a too-boozy lifestyle are all too familiar, a random six of which are:

1. Waking at 3am, de-hydrated, confused and a with a black depression nailing my head to the pillow.

2. Loss of memory other than 'I think I spent the entire party in the kitchen arguing the non-existence of god'.

3. A fleshy lifebelt around my waste pushing at every shirt that isn't part of my 'knocking around the house' attire.

4. Loss of sense of self after forgetting the last time I didn't have to keep aforementioned stomach held in while in company (or even passing own mirror, alone).

5. Attitude to career that would be helped by being a little more verse, verse, chorus, verse and not the Captain Beefheart covers band that informs mine.

6. The inability to see the money that turns to beer then too piss as the same money that should buy fresh vegetables.

So being on the wagon isn't a ridiculous place to be. For a little while, anyway.

Because all that being said, as I sit hear listening to Bongo Fury with a pint can of the Artois for company I feel perfectly happy.

At least as perfectly happy as it's reasonable to feel.

But one thing I'm determined not to do, and it's a stronger feeling than any paternal inklings or career wrigglings, is to confuse healthy, quiet, focused sobriety with happiness.

Because considering I reckon I'd be an on and off miserable bugger with an expanding waist anyway, I might aswell have a little drink while I'm at it.

Snooty Loopy

Of the hours and inches of news devoted to the ongoing Party funding issue I've hardly seen any mention of what to me is a key part of the arguement.

The increased availability of important roles that have no democratic responsibility not only encourages dodgy practice but was set in train to accomodate it.

Un-elected seats in Parliament, un-elected media advisers and the selling off of schools, prisons and hospitals to (un-elected) private firms.

All handily placed to allow the pimping of public services to your mates - securing them subsidised income and you enough money to get re-elected and keep the whole shitty little loop going...

You Say Liberation, I Say Occupation... Let's Call The Whole Thing Off.


A very strong turnout on the London anti-war demo today. Tony Benn seems to be getting younger, Salma Yaquub was as inspiring as ever and George pushed a pram round the entire march...

The route was different this time - starting at Parliament Square, heading up past the back of Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square.

On a personal note - the Chandos is undergoing a refurb so my usual cheap swift half before the speeches got a little pricey.

But, walking round in the late winter sun I thought about what all this achieves - after all, if the biggest demonstration in British history didn't stop us going to war what's the point? A few things kind of answered the question:

1. These lunatics really are going to attack Iran. And I make a good guess that Tony's crapping himself that this time we'll make him pay. Or Brown gets left with a real hot potato and a lost election.

2. When members of the SAS refuse to fight, leave the army and attend anti-war demos, something is shifting.

3. Actually hearing significant figures from the organised Muslim communities calling for humanitarian solidarity regardless of race, colour, religion, gender or sexuality is a nice reminder that the press has a lot to answer for in terms of the public perception of Islamic folk.

4. If we hadn't been out on the streets making a noise - things would be a whole lot worse.

And can you imagine the impact if everyone who came out for the massive demo three years ago was out everytime? Because if anything it's more important than ever but I hardly hear it mentioned anymore amongst 'educated' company.

I don't know. Collectively, we really do have the power to turn the world upside down. And if I spent half the time I spend dribbling over technology doing something constructive - then maybe that would inspire one more person etc.

But I probably won't. I'll probably content myself by thinking this post is somehow 'doing something'.

Which it isn't. Just makes me feel a bit better.

Which isn't really the point.

Smith & West End

It's been nearly a month since I last posted - I'd love to say I've been so busy that a mere blog lost it's importance.

But that clearly would be crap.
I'm just a lazy, lazy man.

And so, in lieu of anything anywhere near interesting, I give you this morsel of truth:

Sam Smiths pubs are great little 'proper pub' havens from central London bar and themed madness.

They're cheap, most of their beer is organic and all are vegan.

Their food is for the most part well priced pub-fare which always does the job and you can more often than not manage to get a seat.

However the wind inducing qualities of the Old Brewery Bitter is a serious flaw and one from which I've spent the entire day suffering from.

There's a friend from the USA of America who can attest to this, who having merrily consumed the myriad spicy delights of Olde London town, spent two days shitting through the eye of a needle after two pints in The Fitzroy Tavern.

Consequently I propose that all nights in said pubs will thus be known as 'Sammy Smiths Detox Evenings' (SSDEs).

All those in favour?



(I'd have just given the link but The Independent chooses to charge £1 a time for such things so here it is, in all it's 'scanned to Word' glory):

Vain and Dreadful, but at Least Galloway is Original.

Mark Steel (The Independent 18.01.06)

Having campaigned for the Respect coalition, I'm finding George Galloway's life in the Big Brother house both compelling and atrocious. Much of the abuse about him is predictable, such as the pro-war New Labour MP Denis MacShane's complaint that George's antics "will destroy forever what standing he has with British Muslims".

So, now Muslims will say: "I'm voting for you Denis, because although you supported bombing my auntie's village; at least you've never had your moustache near Rula Lenska's crotch."

MacShane went on: "MPs have a special privilege... it is not the chance to slide up the greasy pole of ambition." Because one thing New Labour has always been resolutely opposed to is sliding up the greasy pole of ambition. Peter Mandelson and David Blunkett especially are sticklers on this issue, and when Cherie heard Galloway was getting £60,000 for a three-week appearance she must have screamed: "That's disgraceful! I'd want that for a 10-minute talk on astrology."

Galloway has pledged his appearance money to a Palestinian charity, Interpal, which one paper claims is a "front for terrorism," although the last time this was alleged, the accuser had to issue a pubic apology. Next, someone will claim he's using his statements in the diary room to send coded messages to the Hamas militia. Perhaps Jodie Marsh is in on it, and he's brainwashed her to become a suicide bomber. Getting her kicked out was part of the plan, but it went wrong when she strapped on the gelignite and said: "Ugh, I can't wear this, it makes my arse look really fat and that."

At some point an American senator will claim he's been paid two thousand barrels of milk by the Syrian Milk Marketing Board in return for publicising their product as an ideal beverage for cats.

Then there's the complaint he's not in the House of Commons. But most of the time hardly anyone's in the House of Commons. If you switch on the Parliament Channel, and catch someone mumbling while three others are asleep you think it IS Big Brother. At least in the Big Brother house they have to make their own breakfast.

Or Galloway is "debasing Parliament". But if the Big Brother house was as "honourable" as Parliament, no one could speak unless called by a bloke in a wig, then Pete would say: "Mr Speaker, is it not the case that there's nothing fucking worse than when you're trying to put on your eyelashes and some impatient arse-hole's banging on the toilet door?" Dennis Rodman would have to answer: "Ahugh, yugh, whatever, I refer the honourable transvestite to the answer I mumbled some tune ago," and those who agreed would have to shout "Hear, hear," while leaning out of the Jacuzzi.

But the establishment will always try to denounce those opposed to it as being motivated by personal ambition, and by appearing in the show George has handed them this issue on a plate. Because it's hard to see what led him in there apart from his own vanity. He's said he's disappointed with the level of discussion in the house, but he must have seen the thing before. Or maybe he believed the other housemates would be Richard Dawkins, Noam Chomsky, Joan Bakewell and Jonathan Miller. Even then it would probably have gone the same way, with Chomsky yelling: "I'll tell you something else faith can't explain, Dawkins, someone's been eating my bloody Custard Creams."

George's office has complained that Channel 4 is censoring him, as they cut a section in which the other housemates agreed with him on the war. But he shouldn't be surprised by that. We were never going to hear "It's 3.45pm and George is in the kitchen describing to Chantelle the situation in Uzbekistan."

Many who denounce him are hypocrites, but I expect many who supported him and Respect,
and who opposed the war, have also sat in disbelief as he's crawled round the floor purring certain that this was never mentioned in the Respect manifesto.

And if any constituent wants to see him, they'll have to wait till he's evicted, then yell; "Davina,
before you show his best bits can I ask him about my drains?" Then again, voters are now
aware he looks very fetching as a pirate.

Somehow though, while his presence there is dreadful, at times he's hilarious. At one point he convinced the housemates to stop playing a game they'd been ordered to play that entailed sitting in a cardboard box, citing the spirit of Spartacus. Of all the thoughts that passed through Spartacus' mind when he was crucified by the Romans, I doubt that one was: "But our spirit will one day live on in the great cardboard box struggle of 2006."

And, if it does manage to wreck his fledgling party, at least he's done it in an original and fascinating manner. The history of politics would be so much richer if say, accounts of the demise of the Whig Party read: "Although there were disagreements among the leaders with regard to the corn laws, the major factor precipitating their downfall was the occurrence in 1841 of Viscount Melbourne appearing on a flicker card clambering under a commode with Jane Austen while pretending to be a mouse on Celebrity Big Brother"

Blair must be hoping he can entice every prominent anti-war activist to go into next year's Big Brother, then while they were all arguing about how many cigars to trade in for cigarettes, he and Bush could invade Iran and they wouldn't even know it was happening.

Mark Steel's books can be bought here
The Independent is here

Oh Bugger. GG, BB & PR

In my limited experience and from my self-professed understanding of Public Relations I reckon I can spot a balls-up from about 5 miles.

So, an attempt to humanise yourself in front of the great British public and it's shameless press has great potential of fallflatonitsfaceability whoever you are.

And if you're a symbol, one way or the other, of opposition to a right fuck-up of a system that said public and press accept unquestionably, you're odds of success are even less.

So with this in mind Mark Oaten was foolish to stand as Lib Dem leader when there's a prossie and a tabloid chequebook knocking about.

But George beats Mark hands down at this particular task.

When the cherry on top of two weeks of cats, leotards and shadow boxing is a 20 minute interview with an alleged torturer and rapist your chances of public acceptance are bollocked.

Whatever the ins and outs (and there are ins and outs, regardless of the hypocritical, braying press) it's not looking too good for Galloway on the PR front. He's going to be back exactly where he was before going in the place, if not a lot worse off.

And there isn't really a punchline - although the Telegraph has just lost it's appeal against him so maybe he'll have the last laugh in the end.

Uday certainly didn't.

Oaten Pulls Out Over Rent Boy


It's all gone a bit Jenny Tong for Mark. And he was a sure fire winner aswell.


Oh, and if you thought I'd forgotten the most important political issue of our time, I refer you to the statement Mark Steel made two days ago. Here.

Neil To The King

"I make this stand with great reluctance, partly because Tony is my dear friend. Partly because I've got great admiration for him as the leader of my party and my country. But the day was reached - which I hoped would never come - when there was an issue of such profound and lasting significance that would affect not just our generation but others, on which it was important to make my opposition known".

Iraq? Iran? Terrorism Bill? Tuition Fees?
Trade Union Law? NHS Reform?
Clause 4? Nuclear Power?

Another cock of the highest order who turns on the 'left-wing firebrand' act when the guilt pangs are stopping him sleeping. Happy to sit through 9 years of neo-liberal bullshit but can't live with the trauma that academic selection causes school kids.

Not a fucking word about the same kids who are swept up into the Army and merrily sent to die in Iraq by his 'dear friend'.

I think I'm going to nurture a tumor and go off and die in a small cave somewhere.

Anything to avoid spending day after day mulling over that either these spineless pricks or the other spineless pricks will always be in government.

They were there all my grandfathers life, all my Dads so far and there's no real sign that I'm ever going see any significant change.

Brilliant. Happy New Year.

GG, BB & The Heebeegeebees

The next six bloody months arguing about this but thankfully we've got the self-destruction of the Liberal Democrats to take our minds off George in his dressing gown:

Old Charlie's heartfelt statement yesterday was a brilliant piece of political agenda-shifting blackmail. Back pushed against the wall he showed more skill in an hour than months of the rubber daggered assassins that want his scalp but thought they'd get it by asking nicely.

Like a boozy uncle who's family have had enough of Special Brew cans under the sofa, pissy mattresses in the spare room and wandering eyes over the grandkids he turns the table when he knows he's pushed his luck one last time.

"But the kid's love me. You'll only confuse them. What about those tickets to Euro Disney?"

Thus with probably his last political gasp he heaved himself into the higher echelons of Parliamentary leaders. Just like Thatcher and Blair he's going to go down fighting and bring the whole party down around him.

And while the family falls apart Mum's new friend from night-class is going to be having little Britney over the back of the Sony WEGA before you can say 'compassionate conservative anyone?'.

Maybe the best place to be is smoking cigars with Rula Lenska and watching 80's pussy lips after all.

There Is A God

...and he watches the Oscars.

Worth staying up for?

Live At Last

'Making 5 minutes seem like 40 since 1976'

Sun 05.02.06
The Camden Tup, Greenland Place, NW1 0AP

Wed 22.02.06
The Fitzroy Tavern, Charlotte Street, W1T 2LY

Thurs 09.03.06
Downstairs At The Kings Head, Crouch End, N8 8AA

One More Down...

A slightly belated Happy New Year to anyone paddling out there in the Harbour.

I'm sure I should be full of cynical bile following the festive season, which is after all a load of bollocks of the highest order. But fairy tale 'religious' stories and Capitalist orgies aside I rather like the Christmas season.

Seeing my family, getting out of the city, being fed for free, watching The Two Ronnies and Fred Dibnah for days, receiving (and even in some cases giving) presents, spending HMV vouchers and the relief of getting back to the city. All topped off by a few drinks on New Years Eve.

And so, here I am back at the desk, trying to figure out a plan for 2006. So far I've been drunk once, tipsy twice, cried very briefly and been out of the house only to drive the car and get milk. I'm probably about £700 down since this time last month and I'm listening to The Best Of Joe Cocker. So nothing's really changed at all.

A few blog related resolutions however:

1. Don't end posts with 'Help me...'
2. Actually write more than a line and a photo every fortnight.
3. Do something real that's worth writing about.
4. Learn how to finish posts on a punchline...