Thursday, 24 December 2009

Dead C'lebs

This year has been a particularly bad year for real people dying, real people are the people that you or I personally knew, unless you know a celebrity personally then they do not fall into this category. Real deaths are tragic, personal and intimate occasions, celebrity deaths are not.

Every now and again a celebrity dies and the press go into overdrive on a feeding frenzy, suckling on every little piece of dirt and sensation they can find. In a way
you can't really blame them for this because the state of the publishing industries is DIRE at the moment and every paper they can sell just pushes the demise of the published word a little further back. So the joyous thing that this desperate situation brings is a feast of gory details portaining to the deaths and grizzly lives of these much lauded but always deeply flawed individuals.

There were two equally enormous feeding frenzies this year, the first came with the death of Jade Goody which essentially became a national event occupying hours of valuable prime time TV space, thousands of pages of print and saw a bizarre outpouring of public grief. A couple of months later this was somewhat eclipsed by the goliath event that was the death of everyones favourite pop star Michael Jackson. Now, I say eclipsed because by anyones standards the slow demise of Jade was a media feast of epic proportions but anything us Brits can do the Yanks can do bigger and better and as everyone is well aware Jacko's death trip was utterly unbelievable. The unveiling of his children alone was just beyond acceptable...


The British offering to the memory of the king, and this is really unbelievable because we pulled something extra special out of the bag, was a live séance where Jackson was contacted in the other world! "No shit!" I hear you cry! Afraid so, some dick off the TV "contacted" Jackson and lame little fan boys and look-alikes got to ask meanial questions, declare their love for him and break down LIVE on national TV. Oh, I forgot to mention David Guest and June Sarpong were there too, so all the people he would want to talk to right?


Back to Jade TV. The Jade death trip was a highly surreal experience, she announced her cancer on live TV and was then followed by cameras almost until the moment she died, when she was too ill to speak to the press "family" and "friends" were more than obliging to divulge all the gory details. As things slowly got worse and worse for poor old Jade we just kept getting closer and closer to her. Essentially that box of light and sound in the corner became a sentient and suffering human being that we had to deal with all day every day.

Then came the wedding! A happy occasion, no? Nope, not when the bride is terminal and only doing it to sell the coverage rights to OK magazine, she said it was for the children which was most probably true but all involved parties would have made a killing too (bad pun). Consequently, while I'm having a pop at OK magazine I think it should be remembered that their "Jade tribute issue" was actually released before she died, the final macabre act of a sinister media circus. And in another of their heart felt tribute issues, this time for Jackson, they remembered him with a lovely picture of him dying, or, according to some, already dead, on a stretcher.


At least this was in keeping with the whole Jade concept and product, she was a creation of reality tv, a ready to go caricature of everything trashy and stupid about the modern world so she fit perfectly into the new reality documentary mould which dictates that mindless morons doing inane activites make for good quality television. She was created by the media for the media and the media always had full control over her, from the second she entered the Big Brother house to the moment she died, she never really left that house.

Honourable mention goes to foxy Brittany Murphy for really ramming home that the media don't even need any evidence to pass judgement on a celebrity death. You see, tabloid journalists dont even need a coroners report to confirm the cause of her death, they already decided it was a concoction of prescription medicine. Yes, that old bastion of truth and balanced writing the Daily Mail paid tribute to Murphy with this:
"Despite the official statement Brittany Murphy died of natural causes following a heart attack, it has been reported she was hooked on Vicodin (the same painkiller Michael Jackson relied on before his death) as well as other prescription drugs, following a series of plastic surgery operations."
Sue Reid goes on to talk a load of crap about Elvis, Heath Ledger and Tiger Woods and gives zero mention of Murphy's career. Nice. I will mostly miss her as the ditsy Luanne in King of the Hill. Sad times.

Lots of other people died this year, some were old, some were young, some were illustrious and some were a plain old waste of space, many deserve to be written about for years to come because of what they bought to culture but, unfortunately it is those that we really shouldn't remember that we will remember the most and until the day comes that vile speculation really can't be printed and then quietly retracted these ridiculous death spectacles will continue.

In the words of the late great Keith Floyd, "Food is life, life is food. If you don't like my approach you are welcome to go down to McDonalds"


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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Sweet dreams or a beautiful nightmare?

The Barbican is my idea of what living is all about. It fulfills every notion of what I think a home should be. It is a complex with history, density, supreme architectural design, dead central location and most importantly skyline dominance.

Looking at the building today its brutalist domineering style seems somewhat aged but not out of place in London's skyline. The three towers sit comfortably at the beginning of the river skyline, followed by St Pauls, the Natwest Tower and the Gherkin. The steep concrete faces create an imposing glare over the square mile and are reminiscent of the mass produced social housing structures typical of the artichectural modernism 60s and 70s. The Brutalist style of the barbican was a response to this, a movement away from internationally styled housing to that of a more monumental emphasis, a literal domination of the skyline. It is this domination of
London's skyline that earned the complex its Grade II listed status in 2001.


Historically the real inspiration behind the barbican lies solely with one man, Le Corbusier. The Frenchman rejected all forms of ancient architecture, deciding the modern man needed his own form of artichecture to represent his place in the modern world. In 1922 he envisaged a group of buildings of magnificent proportions, Ville Contemporaine, numerous sixty-floor structures linked by circular walkways, included within and around the structures would be airports, office bulidings, shops and any other amenity you can imagine. Man would quite simply give himself over to the dominance of the architecture, three million of those men. Le Corbusier's plan was to build standardised, mass-produced structures that would end urban deprivation in Paris, his vision would become an international standard by the mid 1960s.

Conceived in 1953 and completed in 1969 the Barbican has at its heart the idea of a completely contained living experience. In 1959 artichetcts Chamberlin, Powell & Bon mapped out their vision for the Barbican "The intention underlying our design is to create a coherent residential precinct in which people can live both conveniently and with pleasure. Despite its high density the layout is spacious: the buildings and the space between them are composed in such a way as to create a clear sense of order without monotony. Uninterrupted by road traffic (which is kept separate from pedestrian circulation through and about the neighbourhood) a quiet precinct will be created in which people will be able to move about freely enjoying constantly changing perspectives or terraces, lawns, trees and flowers seen against the background or the new buildings or reflected in the ornamental lake." The notion of meeting tranquil beauty within this dominating structure seems to represent a marriage of the modern with traditional Britain, and until this day the lawns of the complex are amongst its most favoured aspect with residents.

One of the most depressing aspects of the complex has become part of its zeal, the failure of the shopping complex paved the way for the arts centre, and the arts centre is now one of the defining features of the Barbican. Additionally, in 1984 the conservatory was opened and this was an absolute feat containing exotic flora, tropical and domestic plants, pools and fountains, an aivairy and the largest cacti in Europe. The pools used to house terrapins and fish and amazingly the pest control is not chemical but a delicate balance of predators and pathogens (that's basically biological germs).

All in all the Barbican is an incredible project that continues to live on forty years after its unveiling and over half a century after its inception, that it is one of the only complexes of its kind is a tragedy but I am lead to believe that the Pan Peninsula in the Docklands is somewhat similar with its self contained amenities and now stands as the tallest residential building in London. I would do anything to be a part of the Barbican and its beautiful and unmatched existence, my one and only true aim in life is to wake up each morning and view my amazing city from its dizzying heights.


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Saturday, 21 November 2009

The nuclear power followup

It seems that big Ed Miliband (brother of little David, the foreign secretary) has conceeded defeat on the nuclear issue and the UK is going to get ten brand spanking new nuclear power plants! This means that by 2025 a quarter of all energy produced in the UK will be nuclear sourced.

Also packed into the deal is a removal of previous planning rules which could hold up build plans for up to six years, this means that a plant can go from proposal to approval in little under a year, fantastic news for the likes of me and shit news for the hippies who hate nuclear power and think that the wind, waves, the sun and Russia can power the UK's growing energy needs.


However, I probably didn't properly address the downsides of nuclear power and that was very wrong of me. It is very VERY expensive, some estimates suggest as much as £5bn per plant and there are a number of issues regarding whether or not this bill will have to be subsidised by the tax payer, although Miliband has consistently stated that no subsidies will be handed out to the energy companies. This draws into doubt if energy companies will be willing to foot the entirety of the bill and thus whether or not all of the proposed plants will actually be built. The problem with this is that the energy gap needs to be bridged and if not it is more than likely the government will have to step in to stop blackouts from occuring (think about 2017).

So a likely increase in energy bills is what is going to stop the blackouts, that or we can all make the small changes to our day to day lives that will help to reduce our national power consumption. You know, things like turning lights off, not boiling a full kettle, using the TV a bit less, all that crap that everyone is unwilling to do because it constitutes a mild inconvenience, because I am telling you now that every politician, researcher, journalist, economist and academic with even half a brain is well aware that blackouts are more than a possibility in the next decade, they are a dead cert.


So that's enough on nuclear power, all the image searches are probably flagging me up all over the intelligence community and that can never end well.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

my giant american Cliché

Dr. Pepper's all round!

Lately I have become obsessed with the idea and reality of America. I'm not sure what has really got me on this road but I suppose two things are mostly to blame, firstly my notion of music seems only to fit in with a narrative concerned with sleazy 1980s NYC block parties and the emergence of studio 54 (I found an insane picture of my mum and dad hanging out there!) and the other reason seems to be the emergence of the American nation bullshit I am studying at the moment.


Basically myself and my camera are itching to get across the pond ASAP but I have a problem with leaving London for anything longer than a week. I'm certain I will figure it out because I really can feel those plantations in Louisiana calling me to get lost in their woodland goodness, so me thinks me need to plan now for a summer excursion, I have to find the REAL AMERICA as my textbooks show it, the vast voids and the lush landscapes that a nation so enormous affords, as well as the MEDIAMERICA that has basically taught me all that I know. I guess this will take something like six weeks, maybe more, but I have to factor in my need for civilisation and metropolis, so all that shit wondering around the middle needs to be offset by equal time in big cities like NYC, LA and AOL. That gives me three weeks coast and about three weeks centre, but I could be tempted to more inland shenanigans if I successfully locate some pioneer communities. We are talking about a HUGE country here and I feel the need to tread the soil of every state.

Money will be tight. I could die but I bet I wont. Im not sure about skinny jeans in the middle of America. Summer emo vibes coast to coast.


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Thursday, 29 October 2009

The case for nuclear power

Welly welly welly welly well, unfortunately the hippies have scuppered the chances of Britain having a sizable amount of our power needs met by nuclear means, this means we are left with one impossible choice. We can forget our pledges to reduce carbon emissions and rely on the unreliable coal and gas resources. But do these costs outweigh the dangers of going nuclear.


Like me, most people reading this will not remember the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown because we were all but glimmers in our then fancy free parents eyes (some possibly potent embryos nestled snugly in the womb). Suffice to say, it was a big disaster and a lot of people died from radiation poisoning and lead their lives with a higher propensity to develop thyroid cancers (ie. now, twenty-three years later). The entire city of Chernobyl had to be abandoned and the neighbouring town of Pripyat had to be evacuated, the fallout from the explosion has lead to a 17mile exclusion zone around the city with experts suggesting up to 200 years before the land would be safe for re-use and 20,000 years for the area housing one of the nuclear reactors. I think this probably outlines the catastrophic dangers of nuclear power, but in the interests of integrity I shall go a step further. Radioactive material was first detected the following day as far away as Sweeden when Sweedish nuclear workers arrived to work and were found to have radioactive particles on their clothes, it was at this point that the outside world became aware that a large scale nuclear disaster had occurred somewhere within the Soviet Union. Although "nuclear rain" was detected as far away as Ireland, some 60% of the nuclear contamination fell on Belarus due to weather conditions, again leaving some areas uninhabitable.


Presently, 15% of our power needs are met by nuclear sources (compared with gas 45% and coal 35%) from ten nuclear stations, however four of these stations will be out of action by 2015 and the rest by approximately 2020 unless they are given brief life extensions.

Gas is the favoured source of energy for the UK, plants are cheap and relatively fast to build however they have one glaring drawback; they are wholly reliable on gas to operate and we are about to run out of that, which makes us entirely reliable on foreign sources. North sea gas production peaked in 1999 so from then on we have been officially running out, therefore garnering more unreliable Russian sources, this reliability on gas leads to unstable energy prices as gas is often linked to the cost of oil. One of the main sources of European gas is Russia and they are notoriously unreliable and often use gas supply as a political tool, they often reduce supply to countries that make unfriendly decisions, by 2015 we could be importing up to three quarters of our gas as the North sea runs dry.


Coal is our next option but the carbon emissions it produces are contrary to our climate change agreements, it also upsets the same groups that disapprove of nuclear power. Failure to meet our carbon reduction targets could unsettle international agreements on carbon reduction most notably with developing countries that we are trying to discourage from fuelling their growth with the same power sources that we fuel ours.


As our power needs grow so must our energy production, by 2016 we will inevitably have gaps between these two points and a gap between these two points can mean only one thing, lights will start to go off. We are currently running so close to capacity that in 2008 when two power stations failed at the same time (one gas and one coal) the country experienced nationwide blackouts, experts say this unequivocly points to a system under stress.

The choices are undeniably simple, gas or nuclear. Both have drawbacks but for me the political issues raised by Russian gas make the choice an easy one, Britain needs a long term, carbon friendly and reliable solution to our energy needs and nuclear meets this criteria, whilst the redevelopment of our nuclear system will be slow it will ensure that the lights stay on once the infrastructure is there.



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Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Bvalgari

Robert Anthony Fischer left his house on Tuesday the 20th October 2009 in Knightsbridge, he followed the same route he had undertaken the past 15 years of his life, he passed the same gleaming white houses that used to remind him of his success but now fade into the day to day narrative that facilities his opulent façade. He turned the corner of Chesham Place onto Belgrave square where he was greeted, as he had been for the past 5,568 days that he had made this same journey, by a large Proctor & Gamble billboard, not just any Proctor & Gamble billboard, this was the heart of London's elite, people that bought their car insurance from exclusive clubs did not appreciate billboards emblazoned with nodding dogs, the billboards of Kensington carried items of sophistication, the height of elegance and fashion.

This particular advertisement carried the image of a tall slender man, hair slicked back in the typical yuppie style, a strong defined jaw line, clean shaven, wearing a black handmade suit (most probably Saville Row due to the cut Robert decided), a crisp white shirt with a large open collar. At the bottom of his left arm a Louis Moinet Magistralis rested comfortably, the defining piece of the picture, the exquisite time piece rested effortlessly promising to count the hours and minutes of a lifetime lived to the greatest excess, the watch was less of a time piece than it was symbol of who one was and who one would always be. Robert's attentions now the Bvlgari his wife had bought him, he felt somewhat embarrassed at the piece, it was brash and loud, it was jewellery, had no culture, no esoteric value and therefore had no place on a man of his stature, a piece he deemed barely suitable for the counterfeiters on the southern coast of Spain and the northern shores of Africa.

The weight of the watch now bore down on Robert and he was unable to concentrate on much else, how abrasive he felt, as if he had offended the culture of this elite neighbourhood, if anyone was to ask him the time... Disaster. He often asked the time of strangers, he would examine their response and what their wrists carried, a great feeling of satisfaction would arise when he saw some of the pieces displayed, how could a man truly look himself in the mirror with a digital wristwatch on, the embarrassment of it, the embarrassment of looking like an illiterate child in a world of educated and competent men.

Robert now began to compare himself to the man in the advert, the tall, strong willed gentleman, timeless in his appearance but the height of modernity in his essence, a staple of effortless perfection that Robert could never achieve. "What had the woman been thinking when she picked this out?" Robert muttered under his breath. He contemplated that it in no way fit his appearance, the image of the timepiece against his fair skin burned onto his mind, bore away at his self consciousness, the size of the face almost seemed to be increasing in his head, the dominant Bvlgari logo was relentless in its testament to all who beheld its image and the open chrome mechanics constantly in a state of movement almost gave the piece an unstoppable life force.

Robert thought back to his father and the wristwatch he had worn his whole life. A low key affair. It was a brown Seiko that mechanically displayed the day and time. He specifically remembered the broken wrist strap that had split into three parts, the leather exteriors and the material frame that lay in the middle. More importantly he focussed on the coppering that occurred on the strap hinges because they were not only cheap but mass produced, a generic piece that captured his fathers heart and seemed now to define his person, a person in stark contrast with Robert's own mentality that success is an external issue. He was a man that could afford any watch he wanted, any artefact he fancied but was contented with this singular and ever reliable glass faced Seiko. When all else had failed for him the Seiko was an ever present and enduring reminder of who he was, nay, is, that stood the tides of wealth and even defeat. The weight and implications of the hideous Bvlgari bore into Robert's mind, its increasing presence was beginning to unstitch the character he had created of himself, a blot on the narrative of what he deemed to have been an otherwise spotless existence.

Out of habit Robert reached his left arm out to collect, from the same vendor as he had always done, the early morning edition of the day's Daily Telegraph as he left Wilton Crescent and made his way up Wilton Place. Instinctively he reached forward as he left the thoughts of his father behind him, at the same time he felt the icy brush of his cuff against his left wrist and immediately thought of the horror that lay beneath, his inadequacy would be exposed to all if he were to reach forward. Robert pulled his arm to his side and placed his hand into his left trouser pocket ensuring it was deep enough to entirely cover the the bottom of his arm. Robert had now stopped and was violently and repeatedly depressing the power button of the mobile phone that sat in his trouser pocket, the seeming weightlessness of the phone only made him think deeper about the magnitude of the Bvlgari, the sheer size, weight and power compared to its function. He stepped forward and with his right hand placed a two pound coin at the vendors till then picked up his newspaper, he briskly moved forwards with the paper tucked under his right arm to avoid any possibility that the vendor could offer him any change and thus force him to reveal his unoccupied left arm and possibly behold the Bvlgari on the stark November morning.

Robert looked down at the paper he now held in his right arm, he was unable to concentrate on the images in front of him, the dense black fonts that depicted the atrocities of the world and the failings of his own country contorted across the page, the thin paper became dampened from his fingers as he tried to make sense of what held in his hand. The Bvlgari swarmed with the images of violence and the Prime Minister's contorted face, his heartbeat was intrinsically matched to the mechanical movements occurring on his wrist, all were now in unison, each second his eyes flicked past another line of the text, "workers to cope in the pre-Christmas period but is... crippling services in the weeks leading up to Christmas... One military official told CNN troops had seized control of... The army is up against 10,000 battle-hardened ... backed by "elements linked to the global arrogance" – a euphemism for the United States and Britain... Many members are furious about the “retrospective” limits... 15,000... 85,000... 120,00 members... 60 million items..."

In his sense of frustration and alienation Robert looked down at his wrist to see how much time had passed during this episode, his wrist was bare, only wisps of blonde hair faced him, the time of his age. His watch quietly and eternally ticked on his dresser.


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Friday, 18 September 2009

110 LIFE

110 was a type of film made popular in the 1970s and 80s with the rise of pocket cameras, 110 is a subminiature cartridge with the images 13x17mm in size. This small size means that when images are enlarged they develop a "grain" effect, as you can see below. Furthermore, the difficulty in obtaining 110 film means that you are often left with no choice but to use out of date film which causes some of the discolouring.

The mass production, lack of technical control and use of cheap materials, such as plastic lenses also leads to blur, light leaks and film jamming. Which is all good because you never know what you're going to get. In my case I developed 144 pictures, 75 frames were blank but I was really happy with what I got.

Camera's used:

Minolta zoom 110 SLR
Agfa agfamatic 1000
Halina 110 flashmatic

These are some examples of frame jams, accidental double exposures, light leaks, blurs and film decay...









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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Apathy in the UK

Some things I've heard lately have got me thinking, the ridiculous things people say compared to their actions. What really got me thinking is the elections in the middle east and the huge civil unrest that goes with them, we have people that have waited their entire lives for the opportunity to vote and are prepared to die for that right, some, on the other hand, are prepared to kill for that right. So what do we give in return for our right to vote? Some grumbling about having to get on the electoral register then a handful of people go the whole hog and bother to vote.
Iraqis queing to vote, guarded by armed police
Many people seem to believe that joining facebook groups is in some way as effective as casting an actual physical vote, take for example the huge number of people who joined the group "1,000,000 United Against the BNP". I personally know at least eight people who joined that group and did not go on to vote in the local and European elections, of those eight people I think that three of them constantly reposted the group on their wall and constantly invitied friends to join. Excuses ranged from "I went to the wrong polling station" "I didnt register" and "I forgot"... then the BNP got two seats and every last one of them complained, unfortunately they were democratically elected in free and fair elections and are now entitled to all of the media attention (re: question time debate) and participation in mainstream debate as the other parties.
In 2005 (the last general election in case you cant remember) the turnout was 61% and that was pushed up by the huge backlash against the Iraq war, the 2001 election saw a 59% turnout. However, this is comparatively low for the UK when every election until and including 1997 saw a turnout above 70%, most surpassed 75%. A number of reasons could be blamed for a decline in voter turnout, one possibility is that people are satisfied with their lives and believe that govenrment is functioning and will continue to function correctly regarless of the political powers. However, a more likely reason is the realignment of the main parties has left voters alienated from their traditional political bases believing that "their party" does not represent their interests anymore and that voting has no real effect since the party policy is very similar on both sides. It is a similar story in the United states where turnout between 1972 and 2004 was consistently in the low-mid 50s percentage-wise.
Many people see politics as ineffectual due to the way it is portrayed in the media, all that ever seems to happen is that the two main parties disagree with eachother, the opposition suggests that they would do things differently, criticising the status quo but never suggesting any real alternative. This is usually passed off with the usual rhetoric during party conference time when everyone waits till the last minute then hashes together proposals and manifestos, "now is the time for change", "Britain deserves better" or "I wouldn't let them run a bath" all the usual sloganeering... Worst of all is when two parties come up with the same big idea all hell breaks loose, everyone tries to claim they came up with it first and that is absolute proof that the other party has no policies. It's constant fistycuffs at dawn and when parties aren't bickering with eachother they are bickering with themselves making the whole process of government even more ineffectual, we saw it in the 80s with labour and we saw it in the 2000s with the Conservatives, and we have spent the last year watching Labour almost implode because of even more infighting.
In short, people dont want to vote because they believe it makes no difference, but it does, regardless of how petty and ineffectual parliament may appear it is the decision centre of the UK, the whole process of government affects not just the UK but world interests and we have a duty to partake in that, not just by voting but making greater demands upon our elected representatives. Remember an MP is there to serve all of his/her constituents not just the ones voting for them, and that is where our political power lies.
Unless you are unlucky enough to have a minister or shadow minister for an MP, in which case you are fucked...

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Saturday, 29 August 2009

radio active(8)


You really might need a strong stomach for this...











#

















Here lies a public health warning for those not able to think or see for themselves.


























Remember this one from the science text books? It took a lot of searching...




I bore witness to pure idiocy today, it existed on a train and was really rather indicative of larger society, it appeared to suggest that syphilis does not exist any more, that it was and STILL is a rather romantic disease reserved for the upper middle classes, something that a poet or literary genius may carry and pass on unashamedly. Realistically, that is not what said fool was thinking but he did have a genuine belief in his voice that syphilis does not exist any more.

Unfortunately for the dimwitted fool on the London to Dartford service the brain muncher is here to stay... That means that the UK has the second highest rate of syphilis in Europe, second only to Germany, and cases are up by, like, "millions of percent". What I as a factual individual mean is that a disease that was nearly wiped out in the 20th century is back again in an abundance in the 21st. Allegedly cases in the last ten years have jumped some 1,200%.

But, shit yourself not lest you be gay or an old lady because the Guardian reports that unprecedented rise has been "fuelled by unprotected gay sex and an outbreak among mature women who are suspected of "swinging". Uh Oh!

So, for ye poet laureate , thou shalt be confined to the fourth poster with an ailment not too dissimilar to that of madness as some unknown entity feasts on your brain before you become very vaguely aware for a matter of seconds and are then plunged into the depths of darkness.

No moral lesson, just some plain, old-fashioned reminder...



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Friday, 14 August 2009

The Bureaucratic Monster (pt.1)


Compact Oxford English Dictionary definition:
noun (pl. bureaucracies) 1. A system of government in which most decisions are taken by state officials rather than by elected representatives. 2. Excessively complicated administrative procedure.

The above picture was taken a few months ago and I believed this aptly summed up the whole existence of bureaucracy in modern Britain. The fact that a parking camera can be removed for being illegally parked by its own department is, by its very definition, ridiculous. The cost of removal will be paid by the city of Westminster which has in turn paid the cost of operating the vehicle in the first place with the purpose of the vehicle to detect illegally parked cars... So the question is, who detected this illegally parked vehicle if it did not detect itself?

Modernity is plagued by such idiocy almost everywhere you look and this has entirely shaped the meaning and our understanding of 'bureaucracy', the actual meaning of bureaucracy is the implementation of laws and procedures, however a realistic view of bureaucracy is more than likely to conjure memories of endless and somewhat pointless paperwork and conflicting information from different but equally official sources.

Franz Kafka explored the madness and endlessness of bureaucracy in 'The Trial' the tale of a man standing accused of a crime of which he is unaware and trapped in an endless quest for justice for which he has no reason other than that he is a man accused. Every turn is fraught with questioning along no real subject and suggestion that his predicament is definite. Similar to the American legal system he is advised to attempt a plea bargain where his guilt will guarantee him safety at the cost of his innocence. It is suggested that over 90% of US convictions are based on this principle as the haste of admitted guilt can offset the potential of any prison sentence, even if the accused is, in fact, innocent. These numbers could suggest a distrust of the legal system or a massively high level of crime, it is more than likely that defendants can not afford legal aid ($300 per hour) and so opt for the safer option of admitting their guilt even if innocent. It is also worth noting that this percentage has not really changed since 1925.

Figures:
2004 - 95.5% of the 51,666 convictions nationwide were reached through guilty pleas
2007 - 98% of convictions in New York are reached through guilty pleas
2007 - 94.4% of convictions in Pittsburgh are reached through guilty pleas
The numbers continue in a similar vain across the United states...


Q. What is the biggest example of bureaucracy in the modern world?
A. Nuclear weapons.

I don't know if this counts as being bureaucratic but in my mind this falls into the "excessively complicated administrative procedure" definition. Where to begin? Well, the notion of the use of nuclear arms today is preposterous, the launch of one nuclear weapon is akin to Dr Strangelove's 'Doomsday Device'. Use will be met with retaliation, retaliation will be met with retribution and retribution will be met with annihilation. That means that use is out of the question and their entire scientific purpose defunct.

What's the answer?
Well, YOU cant get rid of YOUR nuclear weapons because that leaves YOU in a position of political and military weakness, but by having nuclear weapons you immediately generate the need for others to have them too. Protection-provocation syndrome. Even if everyone were to theoretically get rid of them the knowledge of the technology would always exist so they could always be rebuilt. Total disarmament also assumes that everyone believed each other and didn't secretly keep some in the thought, "if I can secretly hold on to mine, that means that they can secretly hold on to theirs so I have to hold on to mine because they WILL be doing the same". And let's not forget what happened to poor old Saddam, he didn't even have any nukes yet still no-one believed him! So it's a massive catch-22 whereby we are now trapped in an endless self perpetuating cycle of distrust and paranoia. This is bureaucratic because it's the bureaucracy of international relations, and therefore the highest bureaucracy of all.


Part two will look at actual bureaucracy in modern Britain.

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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

My Dreamscape


In the last two weeks I've dreamed about nuclear war three times. I have seen full blown nuclear exposions from the end of the earth's atmosphere and mushroom clouds appear from my window.

Dream #1
As I look at the column of energy consume everything in its path like an immobile tornado my own cat is driven to complete insanity as the mushroom blossoms, I try to take him away from the horror that awaits but he scratches my face to pieces in the panic and fear that only a fragile creature like a cat can feel. Unusually, the only thing missing from my imagination was the intense white light that follows a nuclear explosion, the one that all voluntary witnesses are advised to shield their eyes from lest they destroy their retinas.

In this dream I see huge collumns of smoke one after the other, as many as seven consumed the entirity of my vision, towering into the sky dwarfing the 'skyskrapers' they engulfed. Each was entirely and perfectly locked into its own position, making no outward movements but shaking violently where it stood, seemingly sucking life from the ground to the heavens. The unison they showed was incredible, each was a precise replica of the last in its previous seconds and all towered thousands of metres into the sky joined by a grey cloud that was even higher than it ever seemed possible for the earth to reach. I wept in fear at their presence.

Dream #2
In another dream I witnessed the destruction of the earth from its own atmosphere, I saw mushrooms consume continents falling from rings that resembled those of cartoon planets. I saw billions die in this dream, I may well have been the only living survivor, a lucky anomaly who happened to miss a date with death. Again, all white light was absent and I was not blinded, I looked into the eye of the explosion and felt the fear and pain of every innocent and unassuming individual. I woke up before I could see the results, the last thing I remember thinking was how no-one could ever deserve this amount of suffering and weeping into a bowl at the loss of humanity whilst praying that this was just a dream.

Dream #3
In my final dream I was the most disturbed. I was aware of some kind of destruction, but I did not see it first hand like I had in the other dreams, although I knew it was enormous. People were shredded limb from limb, apparently torn to pieces. Faces were almost always missing. At times internal body organs were exposed in the living and breathing, stomachs protruded like dull red footballs beneath yellowing rib cages. I remember seeing animals that were once pets eating the feet and shoes of their human friends, people walked on all fours but behaved in their usual manner as if their revolting presence was not offensive. I saw a dog shit into a corner only to produce a hive of cockroaches that crawled over its body, searching its surface for the similarity they found inside the decaying cask that they had immediately left. I saw men eating their own hair because it was the only form of disposable and affordable nourishment. Water was exceptionally non existent and as far as I could see, liquid was a laughable luxury, life crumbled to the touch.

This is what I see, the images have no basis in reality, the only thing they can be is a product of what I have seen on TV...

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Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Great British Stag



Where do you begin when it comes to dissembling this fine human institution? Stag and hen parties are a staple for the marriage type, the final few hours of acting like an arse because you will apparently never be able to again once wed. Aren't they fantastic? A true testament to the human condition, all of the loudest and dimwitted of yr mates attempting to give you one last hurrah before the tedium of wedded bliss destroys yr soul. I don't understand why there is a need to dress up like a twat because yr getting married, maybe I don't understand the desire to get shitfaced in the next town over when there is an array of perfectly suitable drinking holes right where you already are, and maybe just maybe I don'tnt get the fucking point when you do the same thing every Friday night and in all fairness you are lucky to have found someone even worth marrying after you probably picked the drunk mess up in something like Oceana or the local Yates.

But more importantly, aside from the fact that all people on stag and hens look like twats there is another thing that really bothers me. The scale of ambition is pathetic. If someone I knew, least of all my BEST friends, thought throwing a big send off for me involved any of the following, I think I would rather be friendless:

Devil horns
Anything that sparkles (not including fireworks)
Custom print t-shirts
Wondering around old street
A kebab for the train home
Being home in bed by 2
Possibly going to a strip bar

So, yr friends are trying to give you a send off, why the fuck then are you wondering around some crappy part of London, with t-shirts two sizes too big that look like they have been printed in times new Roman size 12 font, yr still wearing yr work clothes and really the best they can muster is the possibility of a flesh show (because yr getting married, you've never seen a pair of tits before so now is the time to get acquainted with the female form). Where is the action? It all looks and sounds like its come out of a box, mass produced "memorability". Jesus Christ! I was on the train last night, yes that's right, the train so you are correct that would make the time EARLIER than 1am, and I see a stag party going home, the stag party had ended at about 12am, that would be a night to remember, because no night I can remember has ended before 3am for a long time. To me a night to remember needs to go on til at least dawn, that's just standard, it also needs to involve a lot more than a MacDonalds and/or a kebab and attempting to cream myself over toplesswoment at the same time as all my friends.

I want to set off fireworks from the back of cabs, I want bottles and bottles of booze and bags and bags of powders, I want the sleaziest clubs the city has to offer and when they close I want the worst of the afterparties and the very best of the bugging out corners, if we are going to strip clubs then I want the worst of the worst, I want to go to cheapest and dirtiest of the lot, then I want to go to kings cross and buy all my friends two for a tenner hookers and bring them in on the party, when I get hungry I dont want a kebab or a burger I want a barbeque in one of the royal parks and when it gets light i want to steal a car and drive to a house in the suburbs and use the pool to wash the filth that i have been rolling around in all night whilst the family sleeps in doors, then i will want to get married and if a hooker has somehow died along the way, not even that will matter.


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Saturday, 4 July 2009

Junkie playground


It's quite amazing how shit scared I get around kings cross, the ingrained threat of being turned into a sex toy is too high. Basically for those that don't know, kings cross is the centre of drug and people traficing in London. And by people I mean you and me as well as the slaves. Look at any missing poster and notice that anyonne lost in London was last seen in kings cross. It's a junkies playground. So we have me, lost somewhere between kings cross and farringdon, its all just as bad. So I'm fuck worried, I may hav beem here a million times before but since im explaining how bad it is im a lot more worried. And im using my phone to write this nonsense. Never a good idea. So what could happen? I could get abducted into the night, that's the worst possible outome, by a long shot, the other is getting my head kicked in and having my jaw broken again. Becoming a sex save is bascally the worst thing that could happen, I dont like people I don't know, I don't like people I don't know touching me, I dont like things beeing put in me. By my own rules this fucks me bad. Being punched in the face wont be fun, but id rather that than being arse raped by a 6.5ft nigerian in denial about his sexuality and thus treating me like a rag doll because he hates the latent homosexuality unfolding before his very eyes.

We are in weird territory now, not only the last comment but I'm on the bus now. The buses to kings cross are always full of crackheads, great, it smells like piss and damp dish rags because thats the smell of crack, if you don't believe me get on a 25 at 1am, thats the smell. So fuck, im trying to get out of kings cross but in order to get out I have to venture deeper into it's heart, Kings Cross station. Would you like to know why there are always so many junkies whores and psychos around major train stations in London, well FYI there are a number of reasons. Reason number one, when you are chucked out of home by yr parents for whatever reasons you leave to the biggest, nastiest place in the country, where there are endless possibilities and total anonymity for fuck ups to get by. Secondly, the level of tourism is blistering so the prospects for prostitutes and beggars are pretty decent. Finally, and most darkly, there is an unaknowledged fact that it is possible for a child who has run away from home to be in the hands of scumbags, pimps, junkies and pikeys within a day of landing in London, thus being turned into most of the above before the week's end.

But tonight it's an exodus, junkies, whores, thieves and psychos abound the bus stops apparently trying to board anything moving. Why do thy want to leave? This is where it's at for them... This is the pinnacle of their sad and lonely lives, they will never get more involved in their own personal hell than they are now...

Get the fuck back, there is nothing for you past calidonian road....
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Friday, 26 June 2009

Lost in space

It's 2009 and all in all the future has turned out to be pretty disappointing (given that we live in "the future" as it was perceived many years ago). The best we currently have is blue-ray, not holograms as promised, I for one am still using a VCR. Even video conferencing is rarely ever used by anyone with more than half a brain because it is completely shit. Even the nuclear war hasn't materialized as promised in countless 1980's dystopian films. And, most importantly, where the fuck are the robots? I want one of those father-son moments with a machine that i was promised by James Cameron.

Now it's time to take a look at the reality vs. wishful thinking.

Time travel, specifically flying DeLoreans as seen in Back to the Future parts one and two. We don't even have De Loreans anymore and the closest thing we have to time travel is system restore after you've fucked everything up on yr computer.



Robots/terminators/simulacrum/replicants as popularised by the genius imaginations of Philip K Dick and James Cameron. Amazing idea but what is the reality of this vision? Well, there is a fat little talking robot called Asimo in Disneyland in America that can walk and run just like a real boy! AND, this is quite amazing, he can recognise and learn new objects just like a terminator. Nothing like a terminator really, but we only know about the T-800 and the T-1000 and that ho in the third film, nothing from the Sarah Connor Chronicles counts because it's a terrible programme, so there may have been a very early terminator that was just like Asimo.



The huge dystopian blocks that tower over the ghetto underworld. This is sort of relevant in a round about way, we do have tower blocks, but they aren't very high and the ones that are REALLY high are office blocks, and whilst they are surrounded by other tall buildings it's not really the same is it... If the tallest buildings in the world were all next to each other in a small circle then we might be on the right track, but as it stands they are thousands of miles apart. So, don't expect any Blade Runner super structures any time soon.



Thermonuclear war - Twice in 1945 a small island had the shit nuked out of it, then other small islands and deserts also had the shit nuked out of them until the practice was banned in 1963 via the limited test ban treaty, but some people carried on testing until 1980, then everyone carried on carrying out nuclear tests underground until 1996 when the comprehensive test ban treaty was brought in, and even then some people have still carried on testing! (North Korea 2009). So nuclear war could be closer than we think, then everything will probably be like escape from New York with added fallout.



There were loads of other things promised to us by the Gods of science fiction but we only ever got as far as the moon, how fucking shitty is that? I must say I'm pretty disappointed because what we have instead of the robots, time travel, supersonic journeys through space, flying advertisements and space meals is mundane banality along the lines of GTA IV, wide screen televisions, hybrid cars and 3G mobile phones. It's too tame, nothing has liberated like I was promised as a kid, none of the action has materialised. Science Fiction lied to me. Imagine living in the 1950s when it was actually plausible that this stuff could happen, imagine the first time you ever saw a television set, when you saw a rocket take off and man step foot on the moon, imagine the freedom that a washing machine and microwave bought to 1950s women. Now all we have is technology that allows us to work harder from home and in our free time. It's total banality that borders more on the world of 1984 than that of the Fifth Element.

"Wow! Now I can watch failblog AND check my emails on the go!"


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Saturday, 20 June 2009

Easily the worst entry so far

There was a point when this was the case:

"I think i may ahve realized today that i have a drink problem, this is the first time its ever occured to me that something i enjoy so regularly is possibly the cause of a lot of my problems. To be quite honest my drinking never beem an issue to me, its always been questionable the amount i drink but never once actually worried me. Recently i have developed a paranoia about my liver because of th amount i drink and today i realized the exrent. After half a bottle of gin and about six whiskeys id expexr to feel a bit out of itt, but no such luck, im a bit groggy but my mind is fully alert and cinical, none of this entertains me or tickles my party spirit. for once im clear that the drink is not working at all. Not at all. Its a bizzarre sensation. The knowledge that yr wasted, technically, but not actually drunk and it has me on the ropes. Have i caught up with myself? Im actually afraid to meet the wall that is gonna consign my freedom as i know it to a dustbin. And unfortunately there is no happy ending, i dont actually know what ive done to me. Ive probably wrecked it so far that its too late, but i dont honestly know. I shd stop but i cant, i dont know how, i realistically have a huge problem that i dont think i can control. And i know its a pathetic request but i think i need help, not the kind of help that is gonna lock me away for years on end or mean that i can never touch a drink again, because in that case id merely be avoiding a problem. I want to be fixed so im back to a basic level of normality, the kind where i can still get drunk but enjoy it as an event rather than a necessity. im purely sick of the confusion this brings, that lack of concentration and search for the right word that has no conclusion and leads me to a patheic alternative. The feeling my insides feel everyday, the loss of gravity within a swimming sea of diet soft drinks that leave me feeling baron and empty the next day, i quite literally feel rotten inside as if some product of the consumption still resides within me but physically has no belonging. But again i cant change, a reduction is a possibility but will it make any difference, because i have to drink so much that the damage is still dangerous, my life has become a revolution around the night. I cant remeber if i can enjoy a drink, i guess i can but i honestly dont see the point if it isnt some partt of a drunken plan, i love the drunken plan, at least its a purpose. So i guess thats that, at least ive had enough to knock me out, which is anothr purpose to drink when its been this long, like i said, purpose...."


I feel just like a real boy again...
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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

I booked a band...

So, I have been very busy this week with an array of projects; there has been the usual DJing, my attempt to control as much of the promotion of London clubs as is humanly possible with the best team anyone could ever hope for and the thing closest to my heart, booking bands.

So that in mind, I have my very good friends and AV spectaculars Young Athletes League playing White Heat on Tuesday. Exciting times!

Links below

This is Monaco Sunglasses by Young Athletes League


This is their blog


This is White Heat



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Monday, 15 June 2009

Tara Starlet

A few months ago I interviewed Tara Starlet, the article was recently published in SMITHS magazine. Click on the picture of the text to read the article.




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Sunday, 14 June 2009

so fresh and so clean


2manyDJs have done something very new and VERY fresh, it's fairly easy to explain, but it's not that easy to express. Basically it runs something like this:



2 many DJs live
+
artwork for the playing track
+
artwork playing in time to the music
+
plus artwork for the cue-ed up track.

So, what it is like is a bit like VJing, but more like YOUR I-tunes, but smarter. Basically, think of the two of them djing, but as soon as they cue the next track you see visuals for it on a HUGE screen, mixing in and out of the visuals for the track that is playing right now (hypothetically), and it's all in time to the music. A HUGE example would be an image of Beth Ditto singing along to 'Standing in the Way of Control' in gif.

In real life it's ingenious. Why hasn't anyone thought of it sooner?

it's a bit like this... but about a million times better

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Friday, 12 June 2009

short and sweet

So glass candy are the best band in the world. When she/they bring out an aerobic video it will be a little bit like soft core porn... It actually will.

I don't know how to go about uploading a video or a track so I guess i'll never make it to hype machine. but here is a link


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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

For the benefit of the one in China or Philli or wherever you are...

Crisis avast!

Well, what a few days, the list of fallen MP's and cabinet ministers is bordering on endless, but Labour potentially still stand a chance. An election now would be disastrous, obviously, due to the damage inflicted by the expenses scandal, but this will blow over within the next month as the public become tired of the repetition and revelations dry up. After this Labour can regroup and at least fight out the general election properly in May. However, if the party continues to implode and publicly squabble they will fare no better than the Conservatives did in the mid-nineties. A divided party can never prosper.

So, in my opinion, this is what will happen. Labour will get it together to an extent and fight the general election out properly, however the Conservative lead will be a hard nut to crack, the only hope is that their now ingrained mentality as an opposition party will mean that they will continue to fail to create polices and fight the election as an opposition party rubbishing the government. This is evident in their approach to European elections, choosing to tell the public to pre-empt a general election with their votes. Wrong move, especially when yr position on Europe is that we need regain sovereignty, therefore logic dictates that if the EU is sovereign over UK law (which it is) then surely you should be fighting the election on policies rather than to pre-empt an election in the subsidiary state. However, this continued attitude will probably still win them the election in May but not give them the landslide victory they would most probably obtain at this moment in time. So, Labour lose the election, but they will not slip to third place, whilst the Lib dems are making some gains in the local council elections against labour this is more likely down to the annoyance of voters with the two main parties over the expenses scandal, which will seem a million years away in May, but perhaps gains in local politics will give the lib dems a boost in credibility and dispel their image as the incumbent party.

Labour will then have at least four years to regroup the party, if they are clever they will quickly unite (probably under Johnson) and hopefully get back to their core voters. This means grass roots Labour supporters in places like Scotland, who they have been systematically losing to the SNP. However, if they wish to win the election they will still need to appease the centre-right, whether or not Johnson can do this is debatable, business leaders may be wary of him as a former Trade Union leader, although he has shown his stripes as a progressive, leaving behind his Marxist inspired roots and supporting the abolition of clause IV in favour of Blair's modern reappraisal, clause four. So what does Labour really have to do to win an election in 2014, in my opinion they need to reboot the party the same way Blair did in 1994, bare in mind 2014 will represent twenty full years since that big progression and the party has really done nothing as radical since, house of lords reform has all but ground to a halt, devolution has been a success albeit a shot in the foot on Labour's part as it appears to have given a bigger political base to parties like the SNP and Plyyd Cymru, oops.

So, I'm bored of writing this now so I'm gonna have to wrap it up, I've sort of made my point but got lost a bit along the way. If the Labour front bench don't stick together and stop ripping shards out of each other in public they are completely doomed and will end up like the Conservatives, which is to destined to spend the next fourteen years in opposition with no policies. Together they stand and they divide as they fall.

Happier times, when the gash was flowing:


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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

My trip to therapy

I was instructed by my university to seek counselling recently after a lie on my part got out of hand and some home truths came to light. I don't know if the lie had some basis of truth in it or if it was a meagre cry for help or if, and most likely, it was just me squirming my way out of trouble. People will debate but I know the latter to be the truth.

There are a few legitimate reasons why I could and most probably should seek counselling, but these are private matters and for the most part you will come to learn of them in time. However I went with the suggestion and attended a "45 minute analysis" to determine what, if any help I was gravely in need of. At this point I was instructed to relax by an extremely softly spoken counsellor, who would have been asleep had she been any more chilled out, and told not to pay any attention to the notes she would be writing during our conversation. GREAT. It was impossible NOT to pay attention to the ENDLESS notes she was writing because she didn't stop writing them, she even appeared to note down the most insignificant crap I was spewing forth. She managed to note down the leg I broke as a SIGNIFICANT EVENT, she was probably going to hold on to that one for a later extraction of memories of the abuse I never suffered. I managed to leave out a lot of very private facts about my life which, I would imagine, probably resulted in her massive fuck up of a diagnosis regarding my mental health.

And this is the most important part of the story.

I have father issues. I guessed this was going to be her diagnosis when she spent about half out our 45 minute session, which is a whole twenty-two minutes and thirty seconds, asking me questions along the lines of, "was DAD not there when you were younger?", "was DAD coming and going a lot?", "did DAD miss out on sharing all of those special moments that boys and their father's share in those golden oldies?". Well shit, I guess so... DAD really did a number on me didn't he lady... Did he hell. A lot of people grow up WITHOUT dad's. I didn't. In fact, I think I only know two people who really grew up with their dad's full presence, it's a fallacy. And whilst I assured her that this really did not bother me she assured me that it really did.

Now, there is a macabre twist to this tale, because this happened about two months ago and after the genius doctor's diagnosis I was booked in for regular counselling to deal with my issues, which I cancelled the very next day because I fully believe that I know best. I sort of began to think on what she had said and how wrong she had been. I then spent a lot of time thinking about good old dad and reminiscing of the good old days and happy times that we spent together, even though they have been separated by gaps of many years. I cant really fault my childhood in that respect, it was fun as fuck. And then last week he died. Boom. Shocked the shit out of me. I hadn't seen him in years but I spoke to him all of the time. it's an odd thing grief because I don't really know how I feel, I know I'm upset but I don't know if I can show it, I know I can hide it well. But this is besides the point because the point I want to make is that in my grieving this dumb psychologist keeps popping into my head attempting to besmirch the memories of my dad and I hate her for that, but if it wasn't for her I wouldn't have spent the last 2 months remembering how happy we were together, which in a way has pre-empted all the reminiscing I should be doing now.

I don't really believe in anything at all, but it's weird how things almost appear to happen for a reason.


Heaven and hell colliding:


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