Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sad News

She was born at Erith in Kent, a town of which she said: "It's not twinned with anywhere, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham."

Really shocked to discover that the wonderfully funny Linda Smith died a couple of days ago. So totally unexpected and so sad. I always made a point of watching Have I Got News For You when she was guest starring on it. The quote above is from Jeremy Hardy's obituary for her in today's Guardian. If I shut my eyes, I can picture her saying those words.

The British Humanist Association also carries an obituary.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Word Association

Via snapshirt comes the machinations of my mind reduced to the blurb on an XXL T shirt.

Hat tip to Gray, who got it from someone else.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

We Will Cure You

Another SPGBer had reliably informed me that they had mellowed: "What, you mean they will actually tell people their real first names, now?", I replied in astonishment, but according to Bill , it turns out that the ICC are still hardcore and make our clause seven seem like a cordial invitation to an afternoon tea party. Expect him and/or the Party to get a full denuncitary treatment in the next issue of World Revolution. The denunciations usually start on the bottom column of page 2,and conclude on the left column of page seven.


Just noticed via my sitemeter that someone from the ICC website - in Birmingham, no less - has read this post. I don't know any more details because I was met with an ACCESSED DENIED notice. I reckon it will be a centrespread special next month. ;-)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ken MacLeod on the SPGB

Old news item time. Don't blame me, blame this article that appeared in the Guardian the other day on the wonders of technorati, and in the 21st century version of picking a book on British and/or left politics off a shelf and immediately turning to the index and looking to see if there are any page entries listed under SPGB, I immediately typed in that much misunderstood acronym into technorati.

One of the entries I found, and apologies if I have posted on this before, is the following blogpost from Ken MacLeod that dates a couple of years back when the SPGB was celebrating no, marking, its hundredth anniversary. MacLeod writes warmly and with some sympathy about 'the Party'*, and I like his wee characterisation of the Party in that blogpost:

" . . .it faces the future with quiet confidence, and looks back on its first century with a forgiveable tincture of Ivor Cutler's 'Scottish education': 'Ah telt ye! Ah telt ye!'

"Quiet confidence:" I like that. It's bollocks of course, but I like it nonetheless.

"The Party": I am officially a hack . . . if you hadn't realised that already.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Separated At Birth . . .

. . . Kaiser Chiefs, the major winners of this week's Brit Awards, and power/pop/punk Canadian band from the mid-seventies The Diodes. Don't believe me? If you get the chance, check out the Diodes best known song, 'Tired of Waking Up Tired.' The track could have been slipped in unnoticed as an album track on Employment, and there would have been no murmurings of disapproval.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not slagging the Kaiser Chiefs and/or their excellent debut album, and I'm definitely not suggesting that they have come down with a bad case of the 'Elasticas'. Just one of those daft things you notice when you are listening to too much music. Can you listen to too much good music? I'll let you know*.

*I know, I will be shot down in flames for that particularly snotty remark.

The Unbeatable Rightness of Hearing [iTunes]

Never knew until this very moment when the song randomly played on iTunes that the bassline from the Gary Numan track 'M.E.' was sampled by Basement Jaxx for their track 'Where Your Heads That.' Christ, Basement Jaxx are shite. And the blame can't be lain at Gary Numan's door. The original track isn't that bad.

A quick google search confirms that I was not just imagining things.

Tripping Over Tripitaka*

Yes, I was one of those late seventies, early eighties snot nosed kids** who loved Monkey. To the extent, that even today, I've been known to involuntarily shout out 'Mun-kay' at the top of my voice in a tourette-like-fashion at socially inconvenient times. So I'm obviously one of the punters that this Guardian article is aimed at. Unlike Sam Delaney, I was already clued up to the fact that the series was based on a 16th century Chinese novel called Journey To The West, but that is only because I once caught Red Deathy reading it. (Belated congrats on the 200 post, btw.)

From watching a documentary on the original programme a few years back - you know the type, narrated by Andrew Lincoln (allegedly) and scripted by Stuart Maconie (probably) - I was delighted to discover that half the dub voices in the english language version were provided by Miriam Margoyles, and that the bloke who played Monkey in the original series considered himself a classical actor and couldn't understand all the kitsch fuss in the West over the series. It has the thumbprint of the seventies all over it.

Let technorati overload on a thousand blog posts blooming on Monkey and the Water Margin.

*Glad to discover from having a quick read of one of the many Monkey fansites out there that it turns out that Tripitaka was played by Masako Natsume. It set's my mind at rest. **In the event of this post ever being adapted into a short film, could the composer for the film please have some Madness playing in the background here? Anything but 'Baggy Trousers' will set the tone for the scene.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Red Action Man

Procrastination is the thief of blog posts. I meant to blog about this weeks ago - I have it as a draft post and everything - but Will Rubbish beat me to the publish button. Funny how he suddenly gets all prolific on the blogging front when Newcastle start winning games.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Public Apology

The Scene: A Thursday night in a living room in Brooklyn. Empty beer bottles (Amstel Light) rest on the table, delicious pizza slices have been eaten and the hyperactive Menshevik Internationalist Boston Terrier mix has finally been subdued with a chew toy the size of a small South American country. A popular American sitcom has just finished on the tv.

Him: I have to admit, that was really funny. I was so wrong about that show. I mean, it's obviously not as good as the original but it stands on its own and, it probably sounds daft, but I actually prefer the title music to the original as well.

Her: Are you going to write a blog where you admit that, and take back that snotty post you wrote about the show all that time ago?

Him: What blog? You mean this one?

Her: No, not that one or this one, and don't think I don't know what you are trying to do by embellishing this paraphrased conversation with random links to past blog posts of yours: you are trying to spike the number of visitors to your sitemeter. You are so transparent and shameless and, anyway, no one will ever read that post on Liverpool winning the Champions League all the way to the end. Get over it. I mean this post

Him: Which one? This one?

Her: No, and I told you, cut it out. And, btw, laughing at your own jokes doesn't make them any funnier.

Him: Sorry, you know I'm hard of hearing.

Her: And why did you just link to a picture anyway? Doesn't make any sense.

Him: 'Cos my posting a picture with no text generated the most comments I have ever received for a post. It still rankles. Like casting pearls before swine.

Her: You finished feeling sorry for yourself? At least take a time out. Can we get back to this embellished conversation from last night?

Him: Sure. OK, you were right and I was wrong. The American remake is funny, but in fairness, you previously told me that the pilots of shows are usually the least funny episodes of a series. What with the need to set the scene, introduce the characters to the audience etc etc . . .

Her: Typical. I knew you would find a way to blame it on someone else. It just makes a nice change that you are not blaming Marty.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Politicised in Prospect Park

What with him dying last week, I guess it's old news but I can't help linking to this funny and fascinating interview with Al Lewis, best known as Grandpa Munster, that originally appeared in the anarchist newspaper The Shadow.

Richard at Commie Curmudgeon already has the choice highlights from the interview, so I will only recommend that you go ahead and read the interview in its entirety. From having a quick google search about Lewis, I note that there is dispute in some quarters about the veracity of some of the details he gives about his past, but who gives a toss? The only thing I'm looking forward to in being an old codger is the leeway it will give me in embellishing the facts of my life when chewing the ear off of some nearby youngster. Anyway, it has an almost Ben Traven quality to it.

What I really want to know, however, is what was it with radicalism and old actors who played crotchety old geezers on popular mainstream hit tv shows from the sixties and seventies? That's Lewis marked down as a self-described anarchist and one time Green Party mayoral candidate lining up alongside Max the Butler from Hart to Hart, Lionel "I was too left-wing for the Communist Party" Stander, and Grandpa Zeb Walton, Will Geer, from the Waltons.

Anyone got any inside gossip on John Forsythe? Someone that smooth and well dressed could only have been a member of the SLP.

Hat tip to Commie Curmudgeon.


Danish-American blogger Bertramonline offers his observations on the Muslim cartoon row, whilst ex-pat SPGBer blogger Graham has also been doing sterling work blogging on the issue from Aarhus here, here and here.

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of my sitemeter, I discovered the following excellent Frederick Douglass quote from the Cartoons By McFee blog:

"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground."

Trot Tots

Reading the thread, 'Trotskyite teachers almost fucked up my life'*, on the Urban 75 UK politics/current affairs discussion board this morning I almost pissed myself laughing when I read the following contribution from Fridge Magnet:

A Trot scared my mother while she was pregnant, which is why I came out wearing a donkey jacket and trying to sell the midwife a paper.


*Yeah, yeah, yeah, I also had crap lefty teachers when I was at school. Didn't everyone who went to school in the first half of the eighties? And interestingly enough, they were some of the most authoritarian teachers I encountered whilst doing my 12 stretch without parole. Didn't stop me becoming a socialist, though.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006