Monday, June 30, 2008

Joke of the Day

An actual scenario where 'LOL' actually applies:

"I remember being so poor that one christmas I got a battery with a note attached saying "toys not included" how poor were you??"

Hat tip and a mop to Big Vern over at Urban 75 for making me piss myself laughing.

On The Line by Harvey Swados (Bantam Books 1957)

Stung bitterly, Orrin shot back, "Sure. you probably can't even remember getting hit. You were probably in a drunken fog."

There was an awful silence. Most of them knew that Harold was a drunkard - he had volunteered the information himself in a detached, almost scientific way - but for that very reason no one before had ever dared to mention it aloud.

Harold said cooly, "As a matter of fact, I was cold sober when I earned my Purple Heart. I got sprayed in the ass on Guadalcanal, bending over to pick up a bobby-trapped bottle of Jap beer." When the laughter subsided he added, "But I'm going to be forty years old come my next birthday, and I've got more to think about than that stuff that nicked me way the hell and gone back in 'forty-four."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hello España '08

Germany 0-1 Spain

Got the score wrong, but I got the result right.

Spain deserved to win by more than one goal, but the final ball always seemed to be lacking. (Hence the need for the goal out of nothing from Torres.) And maybe Fàbregas didn't get to score his second international goal but he was immense in midfield. I think Arsenal could win the EPL next year with Cesc in that sort of form.

Germany? They didn't even deserve a sniff at the trophy. All the more reason to regret that Turkey couldn't get to the final. Ballack should have got sent off for his cynical and bad tempered tackling, and Lehman was always a stray back pass away from some comedy goalkeeping.

Brilliant tournament all round and, now that the monkey is off their back, Spain for the World Cup in 2010?

Farewell Espana '82

As my all time favourite International tournament is replaced by a new favourite, a timeout should be taken out to remember the brilliance that was Espana' 82:

. . . the French midfield . . . Schumacher's GBH in the semi final . . . Tardelli's goal celebration . . . the Kuwati pitch invasion . . . Narey's toe poke . . . Boniek's hat trick . . . Brazil in the early rounds . . . Gentile mugging Maradona . . . that Keegan header . . . Gerry Armstrong's goal . . . fucking great World Cup.

Germany versus Spain

A declaration and a prediction

  • Unless the final is a damp quib, this has definitely been the best international tournament since the Spain '82 World Cup.
  • And what will be the final score? Spain will beat Germany 4-2, and justice will at last be done. I can't tell in what minutes the goals will be scored, but I will predict that Cesc Fàbregas will score his second international goal tonight.
  • Christ, the game hasn't even started yet and I already miss this tournament.

    'My Militant Tendency'

    This blog doesn't usually do poetry - see Cactus Mouth Informer for a poetry overdose - but I got a message via MySpace from an Irish poet, Kevin Higgins, advertising his latest collection, 'Time Gentlemen, Please', and I like what I've read of his poetry so far.

    I'm guessing that Kevin contacted the unofficial Socialist Standard MySpace page because he spotted the 'S' word.

    As he writes:

    "Several of the poems deal with my own past experience as a member of Militant from 1982-94 and throw some critical and satirical light of the Left as it was and has become – the title of one of the poems being My Militant Tendency - while others attempt to deal with the political situation now."

    If this interview from the Galway Advertiser is anything to go by, it appears that he has travelled quite a distance from his political past:

    “From the age of 15 to 27 I was an active Trotskyist,” he says. “I was the leader of the anti-poll tax campaign in the London Borough of Enfield when I lived there. From the age of 27 until, say, 38, a couple of years ago I thought it was a pity socialism was clearly now not going to happen. I was in a kind of mourning, I suppose. But now I think that, for all its faults, the society we have is far preferable to anything the ‘comrades’ would bring, were they, Lord protect us, ever to stumble into power.”

    I'm not using this an opportunity to have a dig at the Millies. It's his take on his former comrades, and obviously plays some (small) part in the poetry he now writes and, to be honest, it's not the first time that I've read (or heard) a former Millie voice their concerns in such terms. I don't think it's a peculiarity of that version of the Fourth International. I'd venture that it's part and parcel of the whole Leninist tradition and, anyway, any politics which mistakenly roots itself in substitutionism should always carry a health warning.

    And I'm also self-aware enough to see I wee bit of my youthful self in this poem:

    My Militant Tendency

    It's nineteen eighty two and I know everything.
    Hippies are people who always end up asking
    Charles Manson to sing them another song.
    I'd rather be off putting some fascist through
    a glass door arseways, but being fifteen,
    have to mow the lawn first. Last year,
    Liverpool meant football; now
    it's the Petrograd of the British Revolution.
    Instead of masturbation, I find socialism.
    While others dream of businessmen bleeding
    in basements; I promise to abolish double-chemistry class
    the minute I become Commissar. In all of this
    there is usually a leather jacket involved. I tell
    cousin Walter and his lovely new wife, Elizabeth,
    to put their aspirations in their underpants
    and smoke them; watch
    my dad's life become a play:
    Sit Down In Anger.

    More of Kevin's poetry can be viewed here. Details on the newly published collection and a background bio on its author can be viewed here.

    Mixing Footie and Politics (6)

    Jose Mourinho as revolutionary leftie?

    I always pegged Mourinho as being from the same political managerial school as Scolari and Capello but, after watching this Adidas commercial for the thousandth time during the Euro Championship coverage on ESPN, now I'm not sure.

    Have a quick read of the transcript of Mourinho's words from the commercial (that I lovingly transcribed below) and try and tell me that the bloke is a not so secret Marxist-Shanklyite:

    "Football is a special sport because it is co-operation between eleven for one target . . . and of course we learn solidarity, friendship, co-operation, support.

    Don't try to be the new Kaka or the new Messi because you cannot be, cannot be the new. You must be yourself.

    Kids in love with the game dream to be a top player,but I think it is much more important to be a top man."

    Throw in the 'Impossible is Nothing' slogan at the end of the commercial, and it now transpires that the real reason that Mourinho has gone to Milan has less to do with managing Internazionale and more to do with the opportunity it affords him to attend Partito Comunista Internazionale fraction meetings.

    'Two copies of this month's Socialist Standard, Darren. I want to pass on the extra copy to Carlo Ancelotti. I think he'd be interested in the Football: a capital idea article.'

    Saturday, June 28, 2008

    'Firing bullets' in Chinatown

    Jumpers for goalposters, and millionaire sports stars in a Lower Manhattan kickabout.

    Vanity Fair Culture & Celebrity blog reports on last Wednesday's celebrity charity game that took place in a small fenced-in area in Chinatown.

    In the red corner, Steve Nash - stalwart for the Phoenix Suns, Spurs supporter and Communist Manifesto reading NBA all star (of course, the last bit gives it away that he's Canadian) - who brought with him fellow NBA superstars such as Jason Kidd, Raja Bell, and assorted other tall blokes I've never heard of and, in the blue corner, Claudio Reyna - born in Livingston . . . . New Jersey, played for R*ngers, Man City and Sunderland (then his career got a boost by signing for the New York Red Bulls) - who discovered Robbie Fowler, Thierry Henry, Salomon Kalou and, erm, Jozy Altidore, who's also from Livingston . . . New Jersey sharing a poke of chips - with Irish Curry Sauce - at Pommes Frites in the Lower East Side and thought the impromptu game would be a good way of burning off some off season calories.

    What with the preening, showboating and playing to the gallery of the multitude looking on, Julian Sancton, the Vanity Fair blogger, is sort of right when he rights that: "The game had the feel of a live Adidas commercial, with a mix of sportsmanlike bonhomie and goofy grandstanding . . ." but I won't be too snarky towards the assembled sporting celebs because anybody who has walked past a court in the Lower East Side when a handball or a streetball game is going on will know that preening, showboating and playing to the gallery of the multitude looking on comes part and parcel with the shorts, sneakers and the funny sized ball.

    And, anyway, who am I kidding. I could concoct some lame arse rant about the double whammy cyncism of secretly thrilled East Village hipsters feigning boredom whilst watching overpaid and overexposed sportstars swallow their own PR bullshit of keeping sport real on the urban streets (insert modern day hovis commerical here of David Villa and Christian Ronaldo playing football with street urchins on the cobbled streets of a rainswept Spennymoor) , but if I'd heard about the game beforehand I would have turned up with my autograph book and thermos flask.

    . . . and if I found out that Charlie Nicholas was playing keepie-uppie within a hundred miles radius of my good self? I'd walk barefoot over a broken Stephen Glass to go watch him perform.

    Back to the game at hand. Where's YouTube when you need it:

    "Later in the game, he [Baron Davis] body-slammed a prostrate Robbie Fowler, who is half his size."

    Robbie Fowler's bad rep seems to get around.

    And is just me, but what's with Steve McManaman morphing into a young and chunky Tim Robbins? (Click on the pic to see the uncanny resemblance.)

    I was only joking about Pommes Frites earlier on, but, with Macca, now I'm not so sure.

    Hat tip to Will Rubbish, who found out about the game because of Reyna's Black Cat connection.

    'Point of order, Comrade Chair.'

    Further to this post from a few hours ago, I feel a clarification is necessary.

    It wasn't a case of me typing 'SPGB wankers' into the google search engine to see what came up. (I got past such political juvenilia months ago.) It was a genuine sitemeter sighting.

    Some bounder looked upon the vast majesty that is the interweb, the trillions upon trillions of pages of knowledge and wonder and decided that the most important thing to discover was what pages would be placed in his lap if he typed 'SPGB wankers' into a search engine.

    The SPGB Control Commission is now pursuing the matter. From the screen grab below, they've been able to discern that he is residing in Glasgow, uses Internet Explorer and that he doesn't spend nearly enough time on the blog of the 'only SPGBer in New York'.

    I'd like to further speculate that he is a Partick Thistle supporter, has been known to drink Bellhaven and thinks that REM are a much better band since the drummer, Bill Berry, left.

    Have you noticed how these speculations always come in three's? I believe it has something to do with quoracy.

    Mixing Pop and Politics (11)

    Obscure Factoid of the Day

    Better known as the tall gormless looking one in such pop bands as Altered Images, Hipsway and Texas, Johnny McElhone claim to mixing pop and politics fame is that both his parents were once Labour MPs, both representing parliamentary constituencies in the city of Glasgow.

    Johnny's dad, Frank McElhone, was a member of Parliament from 1969 to 1982 when, upon his death, Johnny's mum, Helen McElhone, succeeded her late husband as the MP for the Glasgow, Queens Park constituency.

    The picture of Johnny that accompanies the post dates from the early to mid eighties. If you do a quick google image search of Altered Images and/or Hipsway from this period, you'll note that Johnny avoids eye contact in nearly every photograph that you stumble across.

    Please be reassured that this isn't rock star arrogance on Johnny's part, or even an undiagnosed case of asperger's syndrome. Johnny deliberately avoided eye contact in his everyday life during this period in the eighties to ensure that no one could look him in the eye and ask him to join the Red Wedge tour.

    Turns out Johnny wasn't so gormless, after all.

    Friday, June 27, 2008

    Singin' in the Rain (Part Two)

    Singin' in the Rain has to be one of my favourite films of all time. Definitely in my top ten, and it was on TCM tonight as part of a mini tribute to Cyd Charisse.

    Of course, two minutes after the film ended I immdeiately thought of the classic Morecambe and Wise clip. I'm shallow like that.

    "arsenal . . . . ARSENAL."

    Singin' in the Rain (1952)

    Self-hating SPGBer or enemy of the working class?

    Who was it at the back who shouted out "both"?

    Panini-Zufallsbekanntschaft #11

    Giorgio Chinaglia (Italy - West Germany '74)

    Brought up in Cardiff, started his football career with Swansea and scored a shedload of goals for the New York Cosmos.

    Random, but eerie.

    What religion were The Broons?

    " . . . wouldn’t it be an idea to have murals of more authentic representatives of Prod culture - say, the Broons and Oor Wullie?"

    Splintered Sunrise has the Broons (and Oor Wullie) pegged as 'Prods', but surely with eight kids in tow, Ma and Pa Brown could have qualified as Dundee Utd season ticket holders?

    Oh yes, Splintered's post is primarily about East Belfast, Loyalist murals and CS Lewis, but those old Broons and Our Wullie annuals from my late teens still flicker away in the attic of my mind.

    Panini-Zufallsbekanntschaft #10

    Sighted at Best of Craigslist

  • Sexiest trashman ever! - w4m
  • Free Man's Toupee
  • An apology to the Ayn Rand man - w4m
  • wanted pre 1965 paper money for time travel
  • Top 5 Myths About America
  • Trust me, that's the PG version of the best of list. Hope you've got a strong constitution if you do decide to click on the above link.

    Hat tip to Madam Miaow blog.

    Blog Comment of the Day

    A lot of froth and fury about the old RCP over at Harry's Place, but I really liked this comment from Shuggy - one of the Drink Sots - in the midst of the thread:

    But that does not mean that the opinions of every affiliated person should be dismissed. To do that is just tripping into another form of identity politics.

    "I’m not so sure about that. The LM crowd are like so many former Marxists: you’d think if someone no longer believed in Marxism they’d retain a commitment to social justice, the emancipation of the working class etc. But what seems to happen so often is that it is the economic determinism that dies last. The LM crew derive their morality from being on what they see as the right side of history. This is why, for example, that most of them seem to spend a great deal of their time prostrating themselves before the rising Chinese dragon. In this sense, I don’t think it’s guilt by association: we should look at every argument they ever make with the understanding that, at base, what moves and animates them - despite their protestations to the contrary - is the cynical worship of power, and power that has been completely emptied of anything one could associate with the left. This is why they backed the Serbs - they admired their Will to Power. It is for this reason they also backed Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf war. Nietzscheans is what they are. I think this should be remembered every time anyone finds their arguments ‘interesting’."

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    YouTube's Downfall

    Another Hitler's Downfall bunker spoof lands in my inbox. This time's it's Hitler ranting about Ronaldo (probably) going to Real Madrid. It's funny but I still think that the David Murray and his Christian Dailly rant remains the funniest.

    Thing is, there now seems to hundreds of these spoof Downfall clips on YouTube. Everything from spoofing Hillary Clinton to any sport you fancy to Xbox to everything in between, but the one video I can't seem to find on YouTube is the original scene with the real English sub-titles. It's killing me because now I have a hankering to see what he really says in the clip, and it looks like I'll have to watch the actual film itself to discover what it's all about.

    If that sad state of affairs is not reason enough for a sweary YouTube video response, I don't know what is.

    Who ate all the pies?

    Kara at 26 weeks.


    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (52)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 52nd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1265 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Anglo-Marxism
  • Questions Answered - and Asked
  • The museum piece
  • Top quote for our 1st anniversary:

    "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working Men of All Countries, Unite!" Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Panini-Zufallsbekanntschaft #9

    Newly minted, a French language blog from a supporter of the World Socialist Movement:

    Mouvement Socialiste Mondiale

    Apparently it's been set up by a sympathiser living in France and will be updated weekly with "news, historic documents and/or socialist theory."

    For those of you who feel this isn't enough for you in the here and now, you can a temporary fix at the following links:

  • WSM Website
  • 'Anglo-Saxon Impossibilism'

    Further info here.

    This Book Is Your Book (if you have a spare $22,500 lying around)

    Spotted a first edition of Woody Guthrie's autobiography, 'Bound For Glory', advertised on the back page of the Book Review section of this weekend's New York Times:

    Save The Children Charity Shop in Watford was always my favourite secondhand bookshop back in Britain but now I'm in NYC, Bauman Rare Books is my secondhand bookshop of choice.

    Want a first edition of the social protest classic, 'Grapes of Wrath'? Only seven grand. (Dollars, not pounds.) The Joads will be pleased.

    George Carlin 1937-2008

    I was sad to read of George Carlin's death on the New York Times website today.

    Maybe I'm just a bit slow about these things but I only really discovered Carlin after I moved to the States. (Then, of course, it was a slap hand on the head moment: 'Hey, that's the old bloke from 'Dogma'.)

    As a New York City native, the coverage of Carlin's sudden death has been covered respectfully across the local media, but of course they can't really show any clips of his brilliant stand up on mainstream TV. Shame that, 'cos he was one of most perceptive critics of modern society out there.

    Therefore, there's no apologies on my part for posting this clip once again on the blog. One of funniest pieces of political knockabout I ever seen. I love the rhythm of his speech whilst he's doing his riff on the American Dream.

    Why use a bludgeon, when you can use a stiletto?

    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Mixing Pop and Politics (10)

    Quick one.

    NM over at Castles in Space music blog has just posted 'Kingdom', the wonderful 1993 single by Ultramarine, which featured Robert Wyatt on lead vocals.

    Without a shadow of a doubt, it stands up as one of my favourite political pop songs from the the last twenty years and, of course, it took pride of place on the 'The Secret Melody of the Class Struggle' mixed cd that we took down to Glastonbury in 2003 to sell on the SPGB stall that year.

    NM already provides the background to the recording over at his blog, so I don't even get the opportunity to use the word 'plaintive' when describing Robert Wyatt's voice because he already beat me to the publishing button. However he's on safer ground with his mention of "folktronica". What the hell is that? Oh, that's "folktronica". OK, I'll have some Beta Band, Beth Orton, Goldfrapp and The High Llamas. The rest can kindly leave the post. The Dance Village is that way.

    NM mentions in passing that the lyric was adapted by Wyatt from a "Nineteenth Century protest song", but the underreporting is perhaps doing the original a slight disservice. The lyric was adapted from Ernest Jones's poem, 'The Song of the Lower Classes', which dates from 1852.

    Originally from a highly privileged background, Jones - who was on the left wing of the Chartist Movement at its height - was as well known as a poet and a writer as he was an orator and Chartist leader. The strange old days when radical politicians also provided their audiences with popular music and poetry, as opposed to nowadays when whoever's on the front cover of the current issue of the Rolling Stone tries to give us their half-baked politics tucked neatly inside their newly released box set.

    If you want more background on Jones, this essay by (the late) Edmund and Ruth Frow of the Working Class Movement Library fills in a lot of the detail.

    In the meantime, cut and posted below is Jones's original poem. Be sure to have a read of it whilst listening to Ultramarine and Robert Wyatt's late twentieth century re-interpretation:

    Song of the Lower Classes

    We plow and sow, we're so very, very low,
    That we delve in the dirty clay;
    Till we bless the plain with the golden grain,
    And the vale with the fragrant hay.
    Our place we know, we're so very, very low,
    'Tis down at the landlord's feet;
    We're not too low the grain to grow,
    But too low the bread to eat.

    Down, down we go, we're so very, very low,
    To the hell of the deep-sunk mines;
    But we gather the proudest gems that glow,
    When the crown of the despot shines;
    And when'er he lacks, upon our backs
    Fresh loads he deigns to lay:
    We're far too low to vote the tax
    But not too low to pay.

    We're low, we're low -- we're very, very low --
    And yet from our fingers glide
    The silken floss and the robes that glow
    Round the limbs of the sons of pride;
    And what we get, and what we give,
    We know, and we know our share;
    We're not too low the cloth to weave,
    But too low the cloth to wear.

    We're low, we're low, we're very, very low,
    And yet when the trumpets ring,
    The thrust of a poor man's arm will go
    Through the heart of the proudest king.
    We're low, we're low -- mere rabble, we know --
    We're only the rank and the file;
    We're not too low to kill the foe,
    But too low to share the spoil.

    Notes to the People,  1852

    Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard 2006)

    "Mix was standing where the street should have been. Or where he thought it should have been. By this time shock and disbelief were past. Bitter disappointment, then rage, filled his body and climbed into his throat, half chocking him. How dared they? How could they, whoever they were, destroy what should have been a national monument? The house itself should have been a museum, one of those blue plaques high up on its wall, the garden, lovingly preserved just as it was, part of a tour visiting parties could have made. If they had wanted a curator they need have looked no further than him."

    Note to self

    You really can't live blog penalty shoot outs. Well, not on this computer.

    Must dash. Popping along to my local pizzeria to ask if they serve paella.


    Brilliant. Fuck you Buffon.

    FFS #4

    Fuck sake. Knew he'd miss.

    FFS #3

    Still think Italy's going to win this. Well, Italy and the referee.

    FFS #2

    Great save.

    Spanish coach is the spitting image of Norman Mailer, btw.


    Italy are going to win it on penalties. It bastard figures, I hate penalties.

    Quote of the Day

    From a profile of Ken Livingstone in today's Observer:

    "Everybody loves him, apart from the people who hate him."

    I still maintain that anyone who joined the Labour Party in 1968 was either a political strategist of genius like proportion or a bloody fool. Look out for anyone who has joined the Labour Party in the last three months. You're possibly looking at a future Prime Minister.

    Saturday, June 21, 2008

    Mixing Footie and Politics (5)

    Old post alert

    Only just discovered this old post from Steve Platt because of a sitemeter sighting:

    "The politically-correct guide to who to support at Euro 2008"

    You can tell it's an old post because a Thaksin City fan is gushing in his praise about Sven in the comments box. Wish I would about doing shit like this but I'm always after the fact with such idea. Apparently, it should have been Sweden but I'm guessing that Platt will now be rooting for Germany. Watch his space for more information.

    Excuse me . . .

    . . . whilst I act out the self-aggrandising dick routine.

    Granted it isn't on a par with The Beatles on April 4th 1964, but 4, 5 and 6 on google for the Socialist Standard is not bad.

    I even made it to number 3 on google with SPGB.

    I want a chocolate teapot by way of a reward. Failing that, a chocolate fireguard will do.

    Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    People Just Want To Dream

    Adding those sidebar links back one post at a time (3)

    Got the hair dryer treatment form AVPS's Phil in the comment box a few posts ago for my laxity in restoring the blogroll in good time, so this post's just for him. As a wannabe Menshevik Internationalist (Brooklyn Cell), I know my place in the great scheme of things when a Bolshevik (Burslem Branch) pulls you out of the dustbin of history for a quick admonishing.

    Still adding the blogrolls back in stages - if nothing else, it's a good excuse to check out blogs again - and this post focuses on the political blogs sidebar. They come under the umbrella title of 'People Just Want To Dream' for no other reason than the fact that it's the title of one of my favourite Microdisney songs and I had to get an impossibilist dig in there somewhere.

    Being the lazy type, I've fallen back on Andy Newman's Top 101 Left Blogs post from last September, to reintroduce the blogroll. Those were the halcyon days of British Left blogging when the Shiraz Socialist bods were still on speaking terms with Socialist Unity blog, and the SWP's rank and file had yet to truly fall out of love with Gorgeous George.

    Who'd have thought back then that those times qualified as the good old days?

  • Socialist Unity Blog - Andy Newman and friends. Yeah, I know, you're supposed to be dismissive about the blog. Andy Newman is a supposed megalomaniac . . . the blog did a flip on Gorgeous George . . . it's soft (or hard?) on China's imperial adventure in Tibet . . . yada yada yada.
    What can I say, it's a readable blog that is regularly updated and for every four posts that aren't my cup of tea there's one that's of interest. And you have to have a sneaking admiration for anyone who's able to put a rocket under the collective arses of the SWP's Central Committee. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of political chancers.

    I like the fact that there is ongoing series of reviews of political films on the blog - films both old and new - and Andy's review of Lindsay Anderson's 'If' from a few month's back caught my eye.
  • Splintered Sunrise - Excellent blog from Ireland. No idea who the blogger is but I understand that he is an ex-SWPer who retained his sense of humour and knows where the bodies are buried. Very gossipy, very well written and very funny.
    He also does a nice line in blog post titles. 'Everything I need to know about Leninism, I learned from midnight movies' is a particular favourite.
  • Stroppy Blog - Is Stroppy Blog one word or two? A socialist-feminist blog with three or four contributors, ranging from Labour Left types to the AWL to the SSP. Gets immediate kudos for not taking blogging too seriously.
    This recent post from Cat on the Scottish Socialist Party's commitment to free public transport caught my eye because it reminded me that the Campaigns Dept of the SSP nicked the best marketing idea that the SPGB ever came up with. Now, if only they would up the chutzpah by nicking our socialist politics. I'd need never leave my armchair.
  • Mac Uaid - Socialist Resistance blogger who, if you listen to some SWPers who are still smarting from the Respect implosion, was the mini-me to Andy Newman's Doctor Evil during the big fall out.
    Socialist Resistance? Bona fide Fourth Internationalists. The Mandel franchise and everything. Socialist Resistance has at various times been known as Socialist Outlook and the International Socialist Group. Best known for Ken Loach's man crush on its leader Alan Thornett.

    They're currently doing the eco-socialist bit, and some critics (who aren't members of the SWP) have sneered that they went from being the democratic fig leaf for the SWP in Respect Mark 1 to the socialist fig leaf for Galloway and others in Respect Renewal. All jolly japes, very incestuous and convuluted, and makes US daytime soap operas look like Chekhov by comparison.

    No, I don't know what that previous sentence meant either.
  • Dave's Part - Consistently readable blog from Dave Osler. His excuse for consistency is that he is a properly trained journalist . . . which most of us would consider cheating. He's been known in the past to write the only readable columns in otherwise dry as sawdust left journals - hello Red Pepper and Labour Briefing - and I got the shock of my life one time when I was watching the news on American TV one time, and his voice piped up as a talking head expert on some shipping disaster:

    Me: That voice on the TV has left comments on my blog.

    Kara: Yeah, but not for the longest time.

    Me: . . .

    Kara: yes?

    Me: . . . He's a reformist. He's busy.

    Check out his latest post, 'Why Tony Benn is wrong to back David Davis', and work your way down.
  • Shiraz Socialist - The Don Quixote and Sancho Panza of UK left blogging but nobody can work out if Jim D is Quixote to Volty's Panza or the other way around. I guess it depends what day you click on their blog.
    Jim D is a long time AWLer and Volty was an AWLer when I knew him at London University ten years ago but the blog has an independent streak to it. How else can you explain the perverse insistence on blogging about jazz?

    Check out Volty's post on why he'd vote for Obama if he was living in the States. Then check out this YouTube clip of Barack wrapping himself in the flag. It'll end in tears for Volty and the rest.

    Hat tip to Will Rubbish for the YouTube clip.
  • The Scottish Patient - Kevin Williamson's blog was always a favourite blog in the sidebar. He's currently blogging mostly about his new radio show/podcast, which I have downloaded but I've yet to listen to. I promise that I will . . . if only for the Jimmy Shand techno crossover tunes.
    I'm sure come the start of next season the blog will be ticking over once again with posts aplenty about the hibbees but in the meantime here's a picture of the red and white tablecloth Kev was using earlier today to mop up his tears.
  • Random Pottins - A blog that I really should click on more often. Good heavyweight journalism on subjects that I don't know enough about. I loved this wee snippet lambasting Frank Furedi from Pottins's post on the RCP turned Sp!ked mob:
    "Furedi himself had written under his academic hat criticising the "safety culture", and complaining that trade unions were devoting too much attention to their members' safety at work. I could not help reflecting that, in a bourgeois democracy at least, the casualty rate among university professors was nothing like that in the building trade." [From 'Pirates, spies and cultural advisors']
  • Ian Bone - Bash Street Anarchism from Britain's second most famous anarchist. Big on expletives, capitalised letters and knockabout humour. He also mixes footie and politics better than me. BASTARD anarchist.
  • The Early Days of a Better Nation - The personal blog of Sci-Fi novelist Ken MacLeod. Being a proper writer, he doesn't blog that often but when he does it's usually interesting. (That's my half-arsed way of saying that with his background in science fiction, I only understand about 55% of what he's havering about.)
    The good news is that he once voted for the SPGB. The bad news is that it looks like the SPGB is the one group on the left that he's never been a member of. Go figure.
  • A Very Public Sociologist - The bastard that prompted this overextended bullshit post. I'd consign him to hell if he wasn't already there. Awful taste in music but a very good blogger for all that. Nice take on self-reflection in his political life posts and I also like his branch notes posts. If I ever decide to politicise my blog, I'll steal use Phil's as a template.

    I never mentioned it at the time but I will now: I liked Phil's post on the radical film maker, Peter Watkins, from a few months back. So much so that I cut and pasted the piece over to the unofficial Socialist Standard page on MySpace.

    For all that, Phil's still on the SPGB's shitlist for the article he wrote on us in a former political life. Phil will one day discover that bound volumes of the Socialist Standard are not just for reading.
  • Adventures In Historical Materialism - SWP blogger who goes by the pseudonym of 'Snowball'. Has been known to melt in the comments box of other blogs when asked awkward questions but I don't think that's why he's got that user name.
    I haven't just linked to him to knock him down. A genuinely interesting blog which is a great source for links to labour history and he has an excellent sidebar. (I'm always jealous of a good sidebar.)

    As the footie's still consuming my thoughts, here's a link to an old post from 'Snowball' on football and politics, 'Histomat's guide to the World Cup'. I'm sure it will raise a few hackles.
  • Where's my smelling salts?

    Turkey's year?

    Coming to a Pub Quiz near you.

    Whatever way you look at it, an amazing stat from the European Championship:

    "Turkey only been in front for 2 mins in 4 games great stat that."

    Hat tip to Stavross over at Urban 75.

    Quick question about the Croatia versus Turkey game

    Was it Croatia's (understandable) over extended celebration after Klasnic's goal that allowed Turkey to equalise in injury time?

    Where else did the two minutes of injury time come from? Only asking like. Thought the Croats deserved to win, whatever I might think of Bilic's dying swan routine back in 1998.

    Half-Time Humour

    . . . and I don't mean the picture of a young Davie Provan auditioning for an MC5's tribute band.

    Take it away Peter Grant:

    "Peter Grant says the funniest thing he ever heard in football was during an old firm game.

    Davie Provan was running rings round Alex McDonald. After one of his runs he walked past wee Doddy and says.

    'I could keep a beach ball away from you in a phone box.'"

    Hat tip to the internet.

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Mixing Footie and Politics (4)


    Why do I think Buffon is a prick? 'Mr Eugenides' provides the background:

    Gianluigi Buffon is still a fascist

    "Italians' well deserved progress to the quarter finals of Euro 2008 tonight . . . " Eh? Wish he hadn't spoiled an otherwise interesting post with that piece of satire.

    Euro Slacker

    Christ, fell behind with the Euro Championship coverage which is a bit of a pain in the arse. I blame it on the excessively hot weather in New York plus the fact that I've actually been watching the games. In those circumstances, how does anyone actually get the opportunity to blog?

    I guess I'll try and pick up the coverage again with the quarter finals but those are famous last words from this blog . . . until the next time.

    I'll finish the post with some predictions. That way, if he get it totally wrong that can explain any forthcoming embarrassed silence with regards to the Euro Championship:

  • Portugal 3-1 Germany
  • Croatia 0-2 Turkey
  • Netherlands 2-1 Russia
  • Spain 1-0 Italy
  • With regards to the last prediction, that is total wishful thinking on my part. No desire to see Italy anywhere close to the latter stages of the tournament. Why? One name: Buffon. I hate that prick.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Mixing Pop and Politics (9)

    What with his usual attire and the concerts for the troops, I never pegged Kid Rock as a Direct Action Anarchist type, but he seems to be getting a bit spikey late in life if these quotes from the BBC website are anything to go by:

    "And I go: 'Wait a second, you've been stealing from the artists for years. Now you want me to stand up for you?'

    "I was telling kids - download it illegally, I don't care. I want you to hear my music so I can play live."

    Asked whether he was worried about illegal downloading, he replied: "I don't agree with it. I think we should level the playing field. I don't mind people stealing my music, that's fine. But I think they should steal everything.

    "You know how much money the oil companies have? If you need some gas, just go fill your tank off and drive off, they're not going to miss it."

    Oh wait up, wrote too soon: he's once of those type of anarchists:

    But he said he did not implement that advice himself. "No, I don't steal things. I'm rich."

    There must be a small scale laboratory in the 'burbs that produces a steady stream of this strain of anarchist.

    Who's going to break the news to the old Subversion mob? I bet they were ready to bring the magazine out of retirement for a special one off 'Class War In The Moshpit' issue. They'll be gutted.

    Adding those sidebar links back one post at a time (2)

    Trying to get the 'Thank You For The Music' sidebar up and running again. Some old faces make a reappearance and there's also some new kids on the blogroll. Sorry for the delay . . . I'm a slow listener.

  • 7" From The Underground - Excellent vintage blog from (I think) Italy. The emphasis is on post-punk, cold wave and 'minimal synth', so don't expect any Dr Hook out takes. The emphasis is on bands and individuals from mainland Europe, so think on that when you were shaking a leg to Ryan Paris and FR David back in the eighties, there were bands out there doing Depeche Mode . . . but better.
  • Chromosome Damage - Nine times out of ten the music posted on this blog is too esoteric or too raucous for my tastes - a Gummo Soundtrack, anyone? - but bookmark it for now as it will come in handy the next time a music meme does the rounds. The musos' won't know what's hit them.
  • Fritz Die Spinne - The subheading for this music blog is 'The mad ramblings of one music obsessed old goth', but please don't let that scare you off. I've already shone my torch into the blog, and I promise: there's no Fields of the Nephilim lurking in the shadows. Very similar in tone and period to the 7" From The Underground blog, so if you've already clicked on that blog and liked what you saw, you're in for a further treat.
  • Hooligan's Lament - Excellent music blog with an emphasis on all things Celtic (Keltic, not Seltic) and/or folky. Whoever HL is, he recognises the genius that is Roddy Frame and that's good enough for me.
  • Sons Of The Dolls - In short, guitars . . . guitars and more guitars. Anything from punk to pub rock to rock and roll to alternative country. Perfect cousins need not apply nor look in. The synthesiser would have been banjoed across their bounce quicker than you can say, 'Where can I plug in my fairlight?'
  • Take The Pills! - Excellent music blog with an especial emphasis on C86 and the generation inspired by it but it's so much more. At the last count, the label on the blog for twee had 235 entries. That's a lot of hot sugary tea whichever way you look at it.
  • The Post Punk Progressive Pop Party - For obvious reasons, aka as '5P'. An 'On this date in 80s music history blog'. Well, in truth, more like a 76-84 music history blog. How else will you know when it's Stiv Bators (posthumous) birthday? What day in history did The Stranglers release 'Golden Brown'? Or, the clincher, who wrote Lene Lovich's minor hit 'New Toy'? But how come there's no mention of Blue Rondo A La Turk? Were they really that bad?
  • More linkage to follow.

    "Was it destiny? I don't know yet."

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (51)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 51st of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1262 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Wage-labour versus capital
  • The London bombings: recruiting killers
  • Friday Pep Talk!
  • This week's top quote:

    "And with respect to the mode in which these general principles affect the secure possession of property, so far am I from invalidating such security, that the whole gist of these papers will be found ultimately to aim at an extension in its range; and whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor." [John Ruskin, Unto This last, Essay III, 1860.]

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    The Van by Roddy Doyle (Penguin Books 1991)

    "Jimmy Sr looked carefully to make sure that he'd seen it right. The net was shaking, and O'Leary was covered in Irishmen. He wanted to see it again though. Maybe they were all beating the shite out of O'Leary for missing. No, though; he'd scored. Ireland were through to the quarter-finals and Jimmy Sr started crying."

    Getting past that first footnote

    Via Andy N over at Socialist Unity blog:

    "David Harvey, the Marxist urban theorist and geographer, has been teaching a course on Marx’s Capital (Vol. 1) to postgraduate students at CUNY and John Hopkins University for more than thirty years. This is a (slightly) famous course and several noteable Marxist academics have taken it at one point or another.

    This year, Harvey is making the whole course available online for free.

    Each of the lectures, including questions and discussion from his postgraduate students, is being filmed and put on his website soon afterwards. The course consists of 13 two hour lectures. The first two are already up, an introductory lecture and a lecture dealing with Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. The idea is that people will read two chapters of Capital and then listen to the lecture before moving on to the next two, as if you were taking his class in CUNY. If anyone is thinking about reading or re-reading Capital this will probably be of great assistance. Harvey is a very interesting thinker and also an engaging lecturer and he knows Capital inside out. 26 hours of lectures look like they will be a fantastic resource. The third lecture is due to go online in three days.

    Here it is:"

    Should be worth checking out. What with the world economy more jittery than Peter Cech in a penalty box at the moment, all the old theories for impending economic crisis will be doing the rounds again.

    I heard David Harvey speak on a panel at the recent Left Forum. If I concentrated, I was lucky if I understood every tenth sentence from the esteemed panellists. It was an hour and a half of drowning in economics terminology and academic jargonese. Perhaps I should be checking out that course, rather than just linking to it?

    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    "Make haste boys, I think St Marks Bookshop is that way."

    My sitemeter tells me that I have one reader in New York City, so this post is especially for the Anglophile looking in.

    If you so desire, you can now get the whole tactile experience of handling - nah, buying - the Socialist Standard at St Marks Bookshop in the East Village. The May and June issues are currently available for the jacked up price of three dollars.

    Yep, more expensive than a slice but, on the other hand, cheaper than a small jar of marmite from that wee deli on Second Avenue.

    With a copy of the Standard under your arm, and a Marie Lloyd retro T shirt wrapped around your torso, you could be the ultimate Lower East Side hipster . . . 1904 vintage.

    Actually, now that I think about it, my sitemeter may be trying to deceive me. My solitary NYC reader was probably me wandering into a Internet Cafe one time to check out my blog when I was half-drunk. What else would I look at under the influence?

    Adding those sidebar links back one post at a time (1.5)

    One of my absolute favourite music blogs is no more. Not 100% sure what happened, but I think it involved Julian Cope's back catalogue and someone getting mightily pissed. So, Spinster's Rock, RIP.

    That's the sad news. The glad news is that the bloke behind the Rock, Nolan Micron, - is that an anagram or his scientologist name? - has started up a new blog by the name of Castles In Space. The byline for the new blog is 'New House. Same Shit', which, coincidentally, will be the exact same words I'll be using after the next General Election when 'New Conservatives' unseat 'New' Labour from the Government benches.

    With his new blog, NM promises more music, mixes and cassette rips. The least you can do is promise to bookmark his new blog.

    Adding those sidebar links back one post at a time (1)

    Better late than never:

  • The World Socialist - Semi official blog for the World Socialist Party of the United States. Maintained by the same comrade who also does the WSPUS MySpace page, and the blog is mostly made up articles originally posted on the MySpace page.
    The most recent article on the blog is a reprint of the 2004 Socialist Standard article, 'Democracy and 'democracy''.
  • Socialism Or Your Money Back - SPGB's blog maintained by Graham in Denmark, Rob in Norway and Matt in Livingston. I believe the GB stands for Global Blogging. Sadly, the SPGB blog and the Socialist Standard are still to get on the same page but maybe when the blog get it's fourth member (from Cape Verde) everything will fall into place.
    Recent posts include a look back at the assassination of Robert Kennedy, 'Labour embraces militarism' and 'Is Big Brother necessary?' In answer to the last question, they should have cancelled the show after Brian won the second season.
  • Socialist Courier - A blog maintained by SPGB comrades in Scotland. Regularly updated, the posts on the blog are like the comrades who pen them: short, to the point and prone to sarcasm.
  • Socialist Banner - A WSM blog that focuses on politics, society and class struggle in Africa.
  • Let's Have Socialism - aka as 'isn't it about time we tried socialism?'. this is the personal blog of Graham, an SPGBer living in Denmark. The blog has an emphasis on the environment, socialism, death metal and the pain of being a Gillingham FC supporter.
    On what would have been his 80th birthday this weekend, Graham has a big fuck off post on Che Guevera. And I do mean 'fuck off'.
  • More padded out posts to follow.

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    7 Bloggers . . . 7 Songs . . . 7 Links

    There's a canny music meme that's been doing the rounds for a few weeks now and, at the last count, I've been tagged four times to do it but bare arsed laziness - coupled with an exceeded bandwidth - has thwarted me in complying with the repeated request.

    So, whilst I'm in the process of trying to relegate my bloggers block to the bottom of the sock drawer, here's a quick series of links to a magnificent seven who have done the meme in good time.

    The music choice are all theirs . . . the snotty comments are all mine . . . and, as an afterthought, rather than me tagging seven people in turn to do the meme, this is my arse about face way of finishing at the end and working my backwards.

    Btw, just noticed that I've written arse twice in less than three paragraphs. It must be the dutch oven effect.

    Back to this meme that has been hanging over me:

    "List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to."

  • Bob From Brockley tagged me nearly a month ago and I was a good little blogger at the time, selecting seven songs and the rest, but the bandwidth thing intervened at the time. I can't even remember what songs I selected (that's a partial fib), and I know that I wouldn't pick the exact seven songs today or tomorrow.

    Of the seven songs 'Bob's' selected, the only one that recognise is the Miles Davis track and that's only because the self-same track is mentioned in glowing terms in 'The Shoe'. Of course, I recognise three of the other artists listed but tracks 5, 6 & 7 have me reaching for the cut and paste function on the computer.

    Going by Bob's selection I'm guessing that he is a bit of a muso. Has been known to subscribe to Record Collector magazine, and has index carded his record collection. Back in the day he was more of a Charlie Gillett groupie than a John Peel groupie. Been known to not only buy CDs that have been reviewed in the New Internationalist, but he's also been known to listen said CDs voluntarily.
  • Never Trust A Hippy Paulie over at NTAH also tagged me last month. Damn, I'm struggling here. I only recognise The Specials track - great track, btw, and I also know of Roy Ayers. (The title of his song looks interesting.) Have I already done the CDs reviewed in the New Internationalist joke? Shit, moving on then. I think Paulie may have misread the meme because his choices seem to be based more on, 'Name 7 songs that remind you of the 1981 Nottingham Riots.' I'm prompted to ask, has Nottingham ever produced any decent bands? I can only think of Paper Lace off hand.
    Back to Paulie's selection. Another muso by the looks of it. And I'd always pegged him as a meat, two veg and a Jam box set sort of guy. I got him wrong. He's the Rob Gordon to 'Bob's' Barry. Music wise, they'd both intimidate the hell out of me, but I like the sound of The Enemy . . . even if I've yet to hear the sound of The Enemy.
  • Big Blowdown Surely I'm on safer ground with Reidski's selection? The bloke's not known for his obscurantist music tastes, and I admire him all the more for it. OK, I recognise all of the seven artists listed but only one song? What the hell?
    I think I've got a handle on this meme now. The theme of the meme is the more obscure the better. Everybody's hiding their ABBA greatest hits inside a Captain Beefheart record sleeve. I'll bear that in mind when I pick seven obscure tracks in my meme

    Reidski likes LCD Soundsystem? I guess someone has to.
  • Harpymarx Socialist-Feminist blogger is a kindred musical spirit. I actually recognise - and like - 5 of her 7 selections. Well, you can't go wrong with The Jam, Liz Fraser and Blondie. And I've long since come round to the opinion that Julian Cope is a bit of a lost treasure. He seems resigned to being a *spit* cult artist and he's much too talented to be put in that category.
  • A Very Public Sociologist Just like Phil over at AVPS blog to actually apologise for the best song on his list. Since when have The Boo Radleys become a guilty pleasure? I must have missed the leaking of Peter Taaffe's memo in the pages of Weekly Worker where he outlines the CWI's opposition to Britpop/Creation crossovers.
    Phil mentions an Icelandic band that isn't the Sugarcubes, and tries to make a case for the monstrosity that is Morodor and Oakey's 'Together In Electric Dreams': without a shadow of a doubt the worst piece of music that Oakey has ever put his name to.

    I know Phil (from Stoke, not Phil from Sheffield) is trying the old 'so bad it's good' defence with regards to Moroder and Oakey, but though that sort of logic might work with regards to the Millies transitional programme, it doesn't cut any musical mustard from where I'm sitting . . . in an aged armchair which has only one arm (on the ultra-left of where I'm sitting) and which is cut off from the working class.
  • Life is all Cobblers JJ comes up with the goods with a selection of The Auteurs, The Divine Comedy and one of Chumbawamba better tracks.
    Nice to see that JJ didn't feel compelled to dredge up the obscure stuff to belittle the rest of us muso wise, but I have to say that, even after all these years, the jury is still out for me when it comes to McAlmont and Butler's 'Yes'. I sometimes hear it and wonder at its spine tingling majesty and lush orchestration. Other times I hear it, and I think 'Will someone stop trying to drown that cat. It just depends on which day you catch me.
  • Infinite Thought A totally random pick. Just typed '7 song meme + socialist' into the google search engine, and this post came in at number two (after Bob From Brockley).
    Never clicked on IT before but it sounds familiar. A quick look at the links suggests that s/he might be an SWP blogger, so where's The Redskins tracks in amongst the seven? (Alleged) SWP members really have lost sight of their original political tradition.
    An eclectic selection that reflects the SWP's current perspective of a popular mixtape of a special kind. From what I recognise, very last century, very angsty . . . someone who is obviously harking back to the safe political security of the downturn period.

    Bet after all that, IT isn't even a Swuppie. I should have just recycled that New Internationalist joke again.
  • OK, that's 7 bloggers, 7 links, 49 songs and 83 gratuitous insults. If I ever get round to actually doing the meme, I'll get totally bloody slaughtered.

    Quote of the Day

    From this weekend's New York Times magazine:

    How did you feel when you heard that [William] Buckley died this year?

    I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred."

    Gore Vidal - looking like Studs Terkel in his accompanying pic - cuts through the bullshit of not speaking ill of your enemy just because they happen to be dead.

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    Made (2001)

    What did he just say?

    ESPN's commentator Adrian Healey immediately after Wesley Sneijder scored the Dutch's fourth goal against France:

    "It's a Dutch oven and the French are toast."

    I take it Adrian's doesn't have the Urban Dictionary website bookmarked on his laptop.

    The SPGB website is still down . . .

    . . . so, another random Socialist Standard front cover to while away the time.

    Mixing Footie and Politics (3)

    Christ, maybe this series should be renamed 'Mixing Footie and Right-Wing Politics? On the heels of Big Phil Scolari's admiration for General Pinochet comes this old quote from Fabio Capello:

    "In Madrid, I breathed a sparkling atmosphere, the air of a country in Europe making the greatest progress. When I returned to Italy it seemed I had taken two steps back. Spain in two words? Latin warmth and creativity regulated by a rigorous order. The order which comes from Franco... he left a legacy of order. In Spain, everything works well, there is education, cleanliness, respect. We should follow their example." [From here.]

    What's the bastard deal with football patriarchs and right-wing politics? Used to be the case that footballing patriarchs were identified with the left. Where's this year's Stein, Clough, Busby or Shankly?

    Just another reason to want the Trevors to fuck it up come the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup.

    Hat tip to 'Red O' over at Urban 75.

    Lest we forget

    . . . why no team managed by Slaven Bilić should win the Euro Championship.

    Blanc missed the final, and what makes it worse is the bullshit excuse that Bilić came up with years later to justify his actions.

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    John Terry Watch (3)

    Mickey Mouse is thrilled to bits that he finally gets to meet in real life the guy whose face has been on his wristwatch all these years.

    Pic courtesy of Kickette blog.

    Mixing Footie and Politics (2)

    Chelsea got their man finally, and what a man:

    "[He] tortured a lot but there is no illiteracy in Chile" - Big Phil offers a Thatcheresque critique of General Pinochet's leadership.

    That quote's courtesy of the Guardian Sports Blog, where they've paced out 'Big Phil' Scolari's football life in quotes.

    What would've been the Guardian Sport Desk's witty rejoinder if it had been the same worded quote but instead of Scolari talking up Pincochet, he was talking up Fidel Castro instead?

    The bloke sounds like a dick, anyway. Actually worse than that, he sounds like Big Vern with trackie bottoms on.

    Next season's post match interviews should be fun grimly fascinating. Odds on he has a tear up with Wenger before it ever gets to the point where him and Fergie exchange touchline spittle.

    Anyone but Portugal for the Euro Championship.

    Get Knotted

    Too hot to blog. Too hot to do anything.

    Still enjoying the football, but haven't got the energy to do the spielworks. I know this much. Strachan can be linked to every half decent player in the Euro- Championship between now and the end of the tournament, but I bet come August he won't be linked to Boruc. The bloke's was immense against Austria, and he'll get the offers flooding. I'll be very surprised if Celtic are able to hold onto him.

    Summertime in New York City. No wonder people get raged up. When it's this hot, you just want to keep out of other people's way. My way of doing the body swerve is by never having my head less than three feet away from a air conditioner at one time. That's how you avoid those who are only too happy to blow a gasket at the slightest provocation.

    Image via here.

    Random Socialist Standard Front Cover . . .

    . . . whilst the SPGB website is down.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Panini-Zufallsbekanntschaft #8

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (50)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 50th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1261 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Democracy – and ‘democracy’
  • The happy slave syndrome
  • Worldcon
  • This week's top quote:

    "Most workers believe that if only prices came down or were at least stabilised their chief troubles would be over. They should remember that while it is true that at present hundreds of thousands of workers cannot afford to buy a house on mortgage, exactly the same was true between the wars when prices of houses and prices in general and wages) were only a fraction of what they are now. For the workers capitalism means hardship whether prices are high or low or falling or rising." Edgar Hardcastle, The ABC of Inflation (1972).

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    'Searching for the 1588 Young Soul Rebels'


    An invitation to a Socialist Party Open Day on the occasion of our 104th anniversary.

    You are warmly invited to attend an open day at our Head Office on the 14th of June from 12 noon to 5 pm – when we are holding a book sale and exhibition in celebration of our 104th anniversary.

    Young, old or prematurely armchair bound, it looks like the Campaigns Dept of the SPGB is hellbent on tracking down the 1588 hardy souls who voted for the Party at the recent London elections in Lambeth and Southwark.

    A sweetener to get the local electorate in the door is the once in a lifetime offer of "For those who attend there will be a free Socialist Standard marking the month and year you were born."

    So be sure to get along to Clapham High Street early: there's only so many loose bound copies of the Socialist Standard from 1923 still available.

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Hi Hi versus Hail Hail in 2011/12?

    Daring to dream or are they just plain delusional?

    The football romantic in me is taken by the idea of Third Lanark back in Scottish Football (perhaps playing Bradford Park Avenue in some future Champions League final), but looking at their stadium it looks like a bigger long shot than Austria doing the business in the current Euro Championship.

    A quick glance at their wiki page reveals that they actually won the Scottish League in 1904. I never knew that. Maybe it's a sign? And - cue gratuitous dig at the Scottish Patient - they won the Scottish Cup in more recent memory (1905)* than his beloved Hibs (1902).

    On reflection, it is nice to see a nonsense Scottish football story in the close season press that doesn't involve Strachan pretending that he is going to buy the latest whizz kid from Euro'08, but I'll continue to hold for Spartans FC replacing Gretna FC in the Scottish League. It's about time that Edinburgh had a decent football team. It's been over thirty years since Ferranti Thistle carried the torch.

    Panini-Zufallsbekanntschaft #7

    Paul Scholes (England - South Korea/Japan'02)

    Paul Scholes: unassuming red head from Salford who has been the hub of the United midfield for well over a decade. Refuses to be part and parcel of the media bullshit that surrounds football . . . can be a bit nasty in the tackle though it's rarely mentioned in the press . . . supports Oldham Athletic, which is always mentioned in the press . . . been known to score the occasional great goal . . . all time favourite player is Frankie Bunn . . . if you need any more information about Scholes, perhaps the blog for the rest of the month will just increasingly piss you off.

    I understand that Impossibilist Bill has a blogging sideline in Rugby League reports. Maybe that's more your cup of hot bovril?


    "It doesn't seem right, manifestly unfair, but apparently David James . . . ."

    FFS, reading last night's post is a bit of eye-opener. It reads as if I was typing (and thinking) in a drunken state.

    I must try this new thing that everyone is going on about. I understand that it's very popular amongst the very young and Boston Terriers.

    Panini-Zufallsbekanntschaft #6

    Jean-Marie Pfaff (Belgium - Spain'82)

    He played over sixty times for his country, and was part of the Belgium team who were runners-up in the '80 Euro Championship and who finished fourth in the Mexico World Cup of '86, but Jean-Marie Pfaff is best known today for introducing the slang word, 'pfaffing', into the English language.

    Goalkeepers have been known to dither over crosses ever since the first ever Scottish International was played way back in 1872 but, for some reason, Pfaff's 27 second moment of madness in a Belgian cup game back in 1979 seems to have captured the footballing zeitgeist of the time. It doesn't seem right, manifestly unfair, but apparently David James has a shrine to Pfaff in his locker at Fratton Park by way of a small thank you for taking his place in the English language slang dictionary.

    Trying to think back to Belgium's participation in the '82 World Cup but the best my memory bank can come up with is Boniek's brilliant hat trick against Pfaff and others in the knockout stage of the tournament.

    Now that I think about it, combining football pub talk and counterfactual history I wonder what would have happened if Poland had won the World Cup in '82? What would the ramifications have been for Polish society and the political climate at that particular time, coming so soon after the suppression of Solidarność?

    Monday, June 09, 2008

    You need hans

    Group B

  • Austria 0-1 Croatia
  • Germany 2-0 Poland
  • Day two of the European Championships and I'm already regretting the Panini sticker series and the idea of posting day to day on the tournament as it goes along, but I guess i just have to suck it up. What else am I going to blog about in this stifling New York heat?

    First up in Group B were co-hosts Austria playing against England's conquerors, Croatia. A game so boring that i actually fell asleep before it started. When did Austria get so bad? I think I missed the post-mortem. It's never a good sign when the first thing journalists can think of to describe you is 'plucky'. It conjures up images of the second round of the FA Cup and pub teams from the Paintball Division Two (South) going down kicking and screaming to Notts County.

    What can be said about Croatia? Most Spurs fans got their first sight of Luka Modric, I once again get to be incredibly irritated by Portsmouth's Niko Kranjcar (he makes Ronaldo look like an unselfish player in front of goal) and it looks like the BBC Sports website should update its page on Croatia more often. I had got momentarily dizzy at the supposed news that Strachan was looking to sign a player under the age of 25, only to discover that Croatia's defensive midfielder, Ognjen Vukojevic, signed a five year deal with Dynamo Kiev last month.

    Fast forward to the second fixture in Group B with Germany playing Poland in Klagenfurt (Football tournaments were my geography lessons growing up). For reasons I don't properly understand, Germany are a lot of pundits favourites for the Championship. I'm not sure if it's because of their strong showing at the 2008 World Cup, the esteem in which Joachim Löw is held as a coach or just because they happen to be in the same group as Austria. Poland, on the other hand, have in recent years taken on the role that Greece once held when it came to International footballing tournaments: flattering to deceive in the qualifying rounds for major tournaments, only for them to perform piss-poorly at the tournament itself. However, what with Poland getting spanked 3-0 by the USA in a home friendly just prior to the start of the tournament, maybe they've cottoned onto the idea that the best way to shake off such a hoodoo is to do the imploding bit before a competitive ball is kicked.

    With regards to the game itself, the Germans deserved their one goal lead at half time, but Poland performed much more brightly in the second half when Guerreiro replaced an injured Magic Żurawski. What sort of Polish name is Guerreiro? It's not; it's Brazilian. By sheer chance, Roger Guerreiro discovered that Poland has passport officials who have been trained by Daily Mail journalists circa 1984. I can't say much for their taste in British journalism but they know a good footballer when they see one. Fourth game into the tournament and Guerreiro has been my favourite player so far. Expect a bogus transfer rumour circulating around Celtic park in due course.

    Anyway, I can't be too cynical about the Poles motives. The two German goals were scored by Lukas Podolski, who happens to be Polish born. And Podolski only scored because the other Polish born forward in the German team, Miroslav Klose, decided not to wear his scoring boots that day.

    What does the opening matches in Group B possibly tell us? Germany will qualify as winners of the group. In an echo of the 2006 World Cup, they have a momentum in place that won't be truly challenged until they face the likes of a France, Italy or Spain. With regards to Croatia, I think they may flatter to deceive. They had their time in the sun turning over England (twice) in qualifying but they wont even get to be knocked out by Portugal in the quarter final. Poland will take the runner-up spot behind Germany in Group B. I know by making such a bold statement, I'm open to be bitten on the arse. So be it. Poland played some tidy football, and in Guerreiro and Smolarek, they have potential match winners.

    And little 'plucky' Austria? Persons of a certain vintage will be doing google searches for the great Hans Krankl, and will find this YouTube clip of his two brilliant goals against West Germany at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Whatever did happen to that West German defender by the name of Vogts?