Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Getting away with murder

Eltham, London, SE9 is a ghastly place. I speak from first hand experience: I grew up very near those parts, drank there regularly in my teens, one of my sisters lives there still. It is famous for very little of worth. Bob Hope, Frankie Howerd and Boy George hailed from there. Kate Bush used to live nearby. There is a royal palace. That’s about it. Since 1993, however, it has been infamous for only one thing: the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Like everyone in South East London, I remember the time of this event very well. It happened only a few hundred metres from where my friends and I used to drink and, on an even more personal note, it transpired that one of the group of racist scum implicated in the murder used to go to the same primary school as me (Gary Dobson – the one with the fat, bovine face).

I say implicated because they were, of course, never found guilty of the crime, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It was unspoken knowledge in the area at the time that they were guilty, but police corruption had protected them. David Norris was the son of a small time gangster and drug smuggler: rumours abounded that he’d paid somebody off. Dobson was (I think, though I cannot find anything to support this right now) the son of a policeman. Something stank, that was pretty obvious.

The story is once again back in the news owing to a BBC documentary being screened tonight (as I write these very words, in fact), which alleges corruption by Detective Sergeant John Davidson, who was handling the murder enquiry at the time. As a consequence, there is talk of the Metropolitan Police launching a new inquiry into the affair. Which would be good, but it still won’t bring these people to justice. But they’re guilty alright. Guilty as hell. This was a position also taken by the Daily Mail of all papers who, in February 1997, printed the names and pictures of all five suspects under the headline “MURDERERS: The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us.” One of the few times I’ve approved of a Daily Mail front page. As for the paper’s challenge, it has so far not been taken up…

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's true. We British only ever talk about the weather.

Coughing on a pubic hair. Getting a splinter under one of your fingernails. Having an insect fly into your eye (happened to me this morning, actually). Eating some breakfast cereal without realising the milk has gone off. Getting really bad cramp in your calf. Listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

All deeply unpleasant experiences.

But not as bad as this heat we’ve been having. Awful. I’m not one for hot weather really. Sweating profusely and not being able to sleep properly? Not really my idea of a good time. Oh, it’s not so bad if you’re in the Mediterranean somewhere, sat by a pool with a cold drink. I can live with that. But living and working in London, using public transport, working for one of the few companies left in the City that enforces business dress? No. This is terrible.

Thankfully, it’s a bit cooler today. There’s a strange thing called a “breeze” which helps too. But really, bring on autumn.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

And we thought Michael Jackson was sinister. . .

Some news stories just make your jaw drop. A Dutch court has upheld the right of the Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity party to stand in their upcoming general elections. The PNVD, as they are known, wish to lower the age of consent from 16 to 12 and to legalise child pornography. They also want to legalise bestiality, although abuse of animals would remain illegal. Not sure how that works. Presumably it’s OK as long as the animal in question gives its consent, perhaps after first being suitably wined and dined. Then maybe some slow dancing, steal a kiss in the moonlight, “can I come back to your barn for coffee?” You know how these things evolve. Also on their platform is a policy to legalise all drugs, lower the voting age (again to 12) and, in something of a surreal twist, provide free train travel for all. I think they stuck that lost one on there as a joke. As if anyone would take that seriously.

As the esteemed Richard Littlejohn has been known to opine: you couldn’t make it up. Although I’m pretty sure Chris Morris already did, in the infamous Brass Eye 2001 Special, which depicted a paedophilia advocacy group known as MILIT-PEDE. But no, these people are for real, and seriously aim to “break taboos and fight intolerance”. Because apparently, public perception of paedophiles has worsened over the last ten years or so. Ever since Marc Dutroux kidnapped two young girls and starved them to death in nearby Belgium. Yes, because before that, you were all considered upright members of society. I suppose you all just get a bad press, in the same way that hooligans give all football supporters a bad reputation, perhaps?

This throws up a liberal dilemma of enormous proportions, but I don't think banning them from standing would have achieved anything. These people are repugnant by anyone's standards, but the fact is they present less of a threat to society by running for parliament than they do as unknown citizens. By standing for election, it gives voters the chance to reject what they stand for by ignoring them completely at the ballot box. Their chances for electoral success are zero. In order to participate in the elections in November, the PNVD must register a list of candidates and the signatures of at least 30 supporters. I doubt they will be able to muster even that – it would be tantamount to creating their own sex offenders register. Far more likely is that anyone who makes their support public will find themselves on the receiving end of a lynch mob.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yo! MC Bush on da mic!

Popular consensus holds that George W. Bush is something of a simpleton. An illiterate buffoon. A doofus. It’s not a theory I have generally subscribed to myself, despite some fairly convincing evidence to the contrary. I suppose I’m just not prepared to believe that someone of such inferior intelligence could make it to the highest political office in the world. Perhaps I’m misguided. Many hold that, although Bush is far from being a great orator, he possesses a keen political mind and a shrewd grasp of issues: the ditherer image is pure schtick. Contrast this with the image of John Kerry in the 2004 elections – New England aristocrat, adept political thinker and statesman - the American electorate hated him. Bush, meanwhile, pushed all the right buttons of his supporters and pretty much breezed to a second Presidential victory. So who’s the stupid one?

But then you read these transcripts of a conversation between Bush and Tony Blair, surreptitiously recorded at the G8 conference, and you really have to wonder. Some bizarre moments here. Check out Bush’s initial greeting: “Yo, Blair. How are you doing?” What is this? Bush and Blair’s Excellent Adventure? Dude, Where’s My WMDs? The exchange about the knitted sweaters was also particularly surreal. But most astonishing of all was Bush’s statement that: “You see, the irony is, what they (the United Nations) need to do is to get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over”.

That’s all they need to do? Why did nobody else think of this? Not sure what’s “ironic” about this actually. The only irony I can see is that Bush, whose administration has been such a vociferous critic of the UN, now sees a crucial role for them in the Middle East peace process.

But really, this is a stroke of genius. A unique way of looking at the world, with universal applications. Iraq? All you need to do is get the jihadists to stop doing this shit and it’s over. Global warming? All you need to do is get the weather to stop doing this shit and it’s over. Organised crime? All you need to do is get the mafia to stop doing this shit and it’s over.

At last, someone has come forward with a practical solution to all the world’s problems. All you need to do is get those problems to stop, and the problems end. Conversely, if you want the problems to end, you've just got to stop the problems from happening. Who would have thought it?

Good to know that the great leaders of our world have it all under control. Sleep tight, everyone.

We're not scaremongering, this Israeli happening

There’s really only one story of major significance at the moment, and that’s the situation in the Middle East, where Israel is now engaged in military operations on two fronts following the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers – one in Gaza and two by Lebanese based Hezbollah. The Israeli reaction has been unrelenting and many civilian lives have been lost in a number of air raids. Meanwhile, rockets continue to be fired from Lebanon into Israel.

I would like to write something about this but. . . I just don’t feel qualified to do so.

H? Parrot? Perhaps one of you could summarise the situation for us? Although I suspect you’re probably struggling to make sense of it all too.

If one of you has the time or inclination to do so, I’d like to put up a guest post from one – or both – of you. You’ll find my email address under my Blogger profile. Alternatively, write something in the comments section and I’ll publish it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

And history is made: my first wireless posting

It would appear that I've finally fixed the problems I was having with the wireless router. I changed the security settings and, huzzah, it connects seamlessly and stays connected. Belkin, all is forgiven. But your helpdesk is still crap.

So I'm ready to do my first ever wireless post and. . . I don't have a tremendous amount to say. The rotten hangover is hardly helping, either. So here's a throwaway piece about how some people find their way to this blog.

Like any blogger, I have an unhealthy obsession with tracking visitors to my site. In particular, it’s interesting to see how people arrive here via search engines and what they were actually looking for. Strangely enough, the most common one is people looking for the lyrics to I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, owing to a post I wrote in January that quoted some of the words in the title.

Recently there has also been a trickle of traffic from people looking for information on the Respect Coalition. Thankfully, they don’t seem to stick around for long, the wooly minded tossers.

Other notable recent searches that have led people here include ‘dictatorial impunity’, ‘Thinking the unthinkable: selling kidneys’, Libertines lyrics, ‘partridge netenyahu’, ‘martine mccutcheon celtic’ and, over the last couple of days, ‘Hezbollah mission statement’.

But my favourite has to be the one I saw the other day: 'cocaine wanking'. It's good to know I can attract readers of such calibre.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A couple of midweek rants

I really should have more important subjects on my mind right now. The bombings in Mumbai, Britain committing more troops to Afghanistan, new skirmishes on the Israel-Lebanon border, etc. However. . . .

  • Don’t you just hate it when you get a song in your head and, no matter what you do, it’s there, subtly eroding your sanity with its unrelenting repetition? That’s what I had all morning. A quick Google search of the lyrics revealed it to be a number called Everybody’s Gone To War by Nerina Pallot (me neither). It’s an irritating song combined with gormless, sub-sixth form poetry ‘meaningful’ lyrics. Imagine Sheryl Crow getting political and you’re almost there. Bloody awful. It’s like being fucked in the ears.

  • If, like me, you harbour plans to install a wireless broadband router, don’t get anything made by Belkin. I spent a large portion of my weekend trying to get the bastard thing to work properly. Without success I might add. But if you do ever find yourself struggling with some of their equipment, don’t bother calling their help line: you will simply waste another precious half an hour of your life on hold to a call centre in India and, when your call is eventually taken, the person at the other end will be helpful but, alas, utterly hopeless at diagnosing a solution to your problem. You might as well ask the toaster. The battle continues tonight.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sweet, sweet schadenfreude

As anyone’s mother will tell you: it’s not nice to make fun of other people’s misfortune. This creates something of a dichotomy because it is also a fact that other people’s misfortune is the basis of all comedy. What are we to do?

In this case, laugh like drains. Because racist, popular-in-the-80s, Tory Boy ‘comedian’ Jim Davidson has been declared bankrupt. At last, good taste has caught up with him.

Of course, we all remember fondly such comic gems as Up The Elephant And Round The Castle (about as funny as burst piles). And who could forget his hilarious ‘Chalky’ character, where good old Jim pretended to be a West Indian with criminal tendencies, replete with comedy accent. Oh! My aching sides! Let’s also acknowledge his fantastic work on high calibre programmes such as Big Break and The Generation Game.

Truly, the man was a great.

I’ve decided to start a collection to help the poor man out. Email me if you want to make a contribution. So far I’ve received two milk bottle tops and a bag of excrement.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

England Expects. . . too much

In the end, it was the forces of sheer inevitability that sent England crashing out of the World Cup. This supposed ‘Golden Generation’, our greatest hope since (yawn, yawn, yawn) 1966, defeated once more by the script for our national team in major tournaments. You all know how it goes: a key player is sent off, 10 men then fight a ragged battle to the bitter end, but are ultimately dispatched by a terminal inability to win penalty shoot-outs. That’s five times now we’ve had to sit and watch an England side lose in this way, and it never really gets any easier.

So that’s the last we’ll see of Sven-Goran Eriksson heading up our national team (there will be no ‘Swede Victory’ now, etc, boom boom! © Every British Tabloid), which would be a good thing if it weren’t for the fact that his replacement is Steve McClaren. Sweet Jesus. David Beckham has also stood down as England captain, so another era draws to a close.

Still, life goes on.