Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Why Do They Read Such Things?

Why would you read them? It is as simple as that. There are a series of magazines published in Britain, aimed entirely at woman, which do nothing but relish in other people’s misery and misfortune. Here are a few sample headlines from one such wallowy rag, “My husband was a secret paedophile,” (as if there is any other kind, it’s not exactly something you can bring up at a dinner party, “oh and what do you do?” “I bugger small boys”, see it wouldn’t happen. And if it did you would use code such as “Catholic Priest” to describe your activates, sorry cheap joke.), “Lover bit off my tongue” and “The baby in my tummy for 13 years.” What possible joy can you get from reading such scary crap? Oh and still don’t read those awful “Misery Memoirs”.


Sunday, 25 January 2009

Diana Watch

Ah, young love. Seeking nothing but the simple pleasures in life. Eating Chinese take-away. Sat outside the hospital. In the rain. I’ve put my work shoes away for a week and it feels good.
Lets be honest, that’s a phrase I use to often, there has only been one story this week. That is, of course, a model of the new first family that fits within the eye of a needle. I believe that President Obama is the first black man to have this honour.


One of the things that I have noticed this week is that during the coverage of the swearing in (do you think that they practised first?) was that very few people used the term “Black” and used “African American” instead to describe his race. Does this mean that I am wrong? I’m not sure anymore. I feel like the man in a Chris Rock sketch rapping along to Dr Dre but missing out the N word when anyone of colour is a around but bellowing it out when alone. It can be confusing for a bleeding heart liberal.

There has been a mighty fuss at the end of this week about the BBC not showing the appeal from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) which is a group of charities that get together and run mass appeals for major disasters. The reason sited by the BBC for not showing the appeal was the fact that it was for Gaza and showing it after the news, as is usual for such an appeal, might seem like a lack of impartiality because the news may have contained articles about the Israel/Gaza war. Now the debate isn’t that interesting but what is quite interesting is the fact that the decision has been cover constantly on the main news programs on the terrestrial channels, News 24 and the BBC website. The BBC news website even had a click through link to the DEC website. So without showing the appeal itself they are making sure that everyone is aware of the appeal and giving them easy access to it. I don’t think that that has happened by accident, someone at the BBC is having a bit of a chuckle to themselves and people should really stop having a go. They have raised the awareness of the appeal by going on and on about it without having to show it.

There is to be a drive to recruit men to work with children in Nurseries and general child care. This is, obviously, a good idea. Children get to see both sexes doing the care thing and therefore their attitudes are set before anyone can notice. The only problem I can foresee is the excellent and positive attitude of the British mainstream media, oh and most of the public. As a male nurse I can assure you that a vast number of people do have a 70’s attitude towards these things. As Scroobius Pip said “not every man who plays with a child not their own is a Paedophile, some people are just nice.”

Now that racism has been ended by the election and inauguration of Barack Obama perhaps now we can concentrate on sexism, sorry but I’ve been listening to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 in order to avoid George Lamb on 6music. Did you know, for instance, that there is a pay gap of 17% between man and woman in this country for like for like jobs and that the conviction rate for rape stands at just 6%. I know it is a hard crime to prove but are 94% of woman who decide to go through the humiliating process of reporting a rape lying? The incredibly misogynist response in the press to proposed changes in the Murder and Man slaughter laws giving women an equal footing in the press a couple of weeks ago was also rather shocking. The basic premise of the headlines and editorials was that the changes in the law would mean that woman who killed their husbands would get away with it. As it stands at the moment men can claim that they snapped and killed their nagging wives in a moment of madness, woman, however, are more likely to premeditate the killing of an abusive partner and therefore aren’t able to claim provocation. The proposed change would alter this, fairly I think. I really don’t understand how woman can work for newspapers like The Mail or The Express as they are always unpleasant towards their sex.

Let us hope that 2009 will be a good year for science as it has lost out a little bit in the last few years, what with newspapers turning against it, flawed reporting in most outlets and a President who clearly didn’t believe in facts. It has started quite well on both sides of the Atlantic. President Obama has lifted the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and over here there is a lot of hype around the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s masterwork “The Origin of Species”. Also the Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills committee has criticised Prof John Beddington, the Government’s chief scientist, for failing to challenge ministers over their policies on cannabis and homeopathy. They went as far as to accuse him of defending the government’s reclassification of cannabis and it’s funding of 4 homeopathy specialising hospitals despite a complete lack of evidence. Oh my, some sense has reached our centre of Government, bring it on I say.

You know that at some point I would get round economics at some point didn’t you. 2 things this week, 1, the ONS has realised the spending figures of you and me, well probably not me as I’m a tight arse, for December and can you guess what? Oh yes, you’re right, spending in December was up 1.5% on the year before which, as I’ve mentioned before, was a record. So new record spending then! See I told you that it wasn’t your fault.
The other thing that I wanted to mention was the small town of Lewes in East Sussex which has introduced its own currency, the Lewes Pound. It is worth the same as the British Pound but it can only be spent in about 400 local shops thus keeping all the spending local and not in big chains. Brilliant! This is a scheme that could be rolled out to every town in the country, oh yes.

Shall we do some awards now as it is Burn’s Night and I’ve got Haggis to eat. Have you ever seen Haggis? It looks horrid, but it tastes fantastic. Significant other also found a poem of his on the BBC website entitled “Cock up your Beaver”. Oh come on that’s funny.

The Award for Rather Mean Sentencing of the Week,

This goes to a court in Thailand that has jailed an Australian novelist for insulting the Monarchy, which is sort of fair enough as it is their law, don’t agree with it myself but there you go. His book had sold just 7 copies.

The Award for Fun Spoilers of the Week,

This goes to every single news outlet that published the identity of the Stig, the Top Gear test driver. Do you understand that we all think that you are now spoilsports with no sense of humour? Part of the fun is not knowing.

The Award for Surprise Return of the Week,

This goes to Kenneth Clarke. Who would have thought that a pro-European who has openly supported the Governments VAT cut and has said that taxes will have to go up, whoever is in charge, openly disagreeing with David Cameron. Oh my, this could be fun.

The Award for Picture That Will Definitely Make You Smile,


Look! He’s leaving! Is there anything more sweet?

That will do for this week I think. Went to see Frost/Nixon this afternoon and it is fantastic, really well acted and a great script. Go and see it. Significant other also says that Slumdog Squarepants is fantastic but not, as advertised, the feel good film of the decade but it is great.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Is He Trying To Tell Us Something?

I want to get this joke in before I see the Daily Show about the inauguration in case they steal it or you think that i stole it.


Finally the truth is out. Dick Cheney really is a Bond Villain.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

It's a Good Day

I know it sounds a little clichĂ© but today IS an historic day. Whatever your politics or views on America, the inauguration of President Obama is a great day in their history. I have heard many people complaining about the fact the media are currently obsessed with his “blackness” and that they should be focusing on his policies. Well I suppose that they have a bit of a point but if they concentrate a little harder, i.e. turn the sound up so that they can hear it, they has been plenty of policy debate. The reason that everyone is now talking about his race is that he has won and he is a black man. Who would have thought that in a country that is so racially divided as the US? Consider their history, not their ancient history, but recent history. The civil rights act was only passed in 1964. Malcolm X was murdered in 1965 and Martin Luther King in 1968, these are very recent events. See how far they have come in 44 years, although Martin Luther King did predict that there would be a Black President in 40 years in 1964, not a bad prediction at all it turns out.
There is, of course, symbolism in the place as well. The inauguration will take place in front of a building that was built by slaves and the invited guests and real people will watch from the National Mall, the 2 mile strip of land that runs from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building, which is where slaves were bought and sold. It was also the venue for Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. So a pretty symbolic day all round then for America and the world. I hope everyone has a fantastic day. And whilst everyone celebrates perhaps we should have a quick look at England. It was still alright to put signs up in Hotel windows that said “No Blacks, no Irish” in the 70’s and our politics is still depressingly white but lets not bring down the mood. Let's allow them their day of celebration for tomorrow the work begins.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Diana Watch (on tour)

Usually she just lies there in the faecal position. Today Martyn is in Kent. In the front line, so to speak. It’s like war reporting this. Let’s get it out of the way at the beginning because I know that it has become a little dull to hear me go on and on about Israel, it has been reflected in the readership numbers, but at the time of typing there is talk of a ceasefire. Much to the relief of the UN, as well as the Palestinians, who have had 2 schools and their headquarters in Gaza bombed, possibly with white phosphorus bombs, which are illegal. My point is this, what has Israel achieved? They claim that their goals for a ceasefire have been met but Hamas are still firing rockets at them, so that doesn’t seem to be one of them. Is it suspicious that they started talking about a ceasefire on the day that George W Bush left the White House? The timing is also significant in Israel because they have an election coming up. You don’t want to go into an election actually at war but going into it just after a war that you can claim you have won and see how seriously we take National Security, the only thing to be heard saying this season for any serious politician, does give you a reasonable platform. To claim that the war was merely electioneering would be a little cynical but hey….

It seems that no one listens to me. This will not come as a surprise to anyone but me. I turned on my television this week to see Iggy Pop advertising insurance. And after my “why do famous people do adverts” rant, oh how the mighty have fallen and while we are at it, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Charlatans seem to have licensed their music for ads. It makes me sad but I suppose you have to make money. One other point, on the ghastly “Injury lawyers 4 U” adverts it is claimed that “they are real lawyers”. Good, I’m glad to hear it, although it is sort of what I would expect from a company of lawyers, even if they do use text speak in their company name. Oh and is that a vulture that appears over their name at the end of the ad? I don’t suppose for a minute that they have that level of self awareness but it would be nice.

Environment news now and I think we should start with a positive story from India. Delhi has banned the plastic bag and they’ve really gone for it as well, no silly little punishment for them, oh no, up to 5 years in jail. One of the reasons that they have banned them is because discarded bags were blocking the drains and this is remarkable unhelpful in a monsoon. They are not the first to ban them though; Rwanda, Bhutan and Bangladesh are also in on the act. So if some of the worlds poorest countries can do it, take this bold step into a plastic free future, why can’t we? Well the reason is Gordon Brown. And man who really doesn’t understand. This week has seen one of more odd announcements from this government, one that will haunt them until they are no longer in charge. We shall have a third runway at Heathrow. Why? Do we really need it? It is estimated that it will only generate £42 million a year which really isn’t that much. I have heard at least 2 government spokesmen saying that the 3rd runway will help us be more competitive on the other side of the recession and at least 1 said that it will help Britain’s (how will it help Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?) infrastructure post-recession. Now the likelihood is that they won’t cut the first sod until 2012 and it won’t be finished until, at the earliest, 2020! How long do they think the recession is going to last?
Greenpeace is doing its bit in order to help hold things up. It has purchased a small piece of land within the area that will be needed for the expansion and is currently dividing the ownership up too as many people as possible. At the moment it is owned by about 12000 people and Greenpeace are going to start offering parts to foreign people in an attempt to slow down the compulsory purchase order process even more.
What the government has succeeded in doing is providing it critics with a really big, oily stick with which they can hit it every time they try and do something meaningful for the environment. Whatever suggestions they make we can shout back “Heathrow”. They have managed to shoot themselves in the foot so badly that now the Tories look like the environmentally friendly party. There should be a joke about recycled ideas here but I can’t be bothered. They took the opportunity that was presented to them and grasped it with a big tree hug and proudly announced their own plan to save the planet, some of which was very good, tidal power, an “intelligent” power grid and micro-generation (see I told you it was the way forward) but some of it was utter pish. Plugs all round London to recharge electric cars despite the fact that electric cars are rubbish and take hours to charge, for instance. Hydrogen fuel cells are the future anyway as you can fill them up like a petrol car. The government messed so badly that David Cameron could vote against getting rid of old style tungsten bulbs (as he did this week) and still look like the hippy. A quick fact for you, 14% of all the electricity generated in this country goes on lighting. Think of the power that could be saved of we all switched to low energy light bulbs? Even the Daily Mail agrees with that.

Let’s do some awards,

The Award For Fantastic Bit of Flying of the Week,

This goes to Chesley Sullenberger who managed to not hit anything in New York after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, getting hit by a flock of Geese, losing both engines and then somehow managing to land safely on the Hudson River. Take off to landing took 7 minutes. Lets be honest, we take our pilots for granted but when it comes down to it, they do a remarkable job.

The Award For Really Embarrassing Thing of the Week,

There really is no competition for this week; it really has to go to Kate Winslet and her awful, awful acceptance speech at the Golden Globes when she got her gong for being best at pretending to be someone else.

The Award For Funniest Art Instillation That Embarrassed A Government of the Week,

“And so we are going to be the EU presidential country for 6 months, how should we celebrate such a thing?” “I know, sculpture!” Unveiled this week was a sculpture to challenge European stereotypes. It was suppose to be by 27 different artists doing a bit about their own country, it turns out, however, that it was all done by one artist and a couple of his mates and some countries have found his jokes a tiny bit offensive. Bulgaria was portrayed as a toilet; Denmark was made out of Lego and, if viewed from a certain angle, looked a bit like one of the cartoons of Mohammad that pissed so many people. My favourite part of the work was the UK, which wasn’t there. See what they’ve done there? Britain is not really in Europe, see?

The Award for Fuss Over Nothing of the Week,

This goes to everyone who made a fuss about Baroness Whatsit saying that she could see “the green shots of recovery”. George Osborne claimed that she should apologise for the comment as she was insensitive and out of touch. A spectacular fuss was made in the press about it as well, claiming that it was a gaffe but really what it was was an answer to a direct question about the credit markets and her reply was in reference to a specific company getting a loan. Taken out of context it could be a little wrong but you could consider other business results out in the last weeks. Sales figures for Sainburys, HMV, Tesco, Aldi, Carphone Warehouse and the Smart Car are all up. Consumer confidence survey was up and the website says that numbers registering on the site looking for a new home had doubled on this time last year. Green shoots there might be.

Ok that will do for this week, hope you all have fun. Oh and listen to the new single by Britney Spears and Lily Allen because they are both fantastic. I know I should be telling you about obscure indie nonsense but pop music it good for you, sometimes anyway. To redress the balance may I recommend to you albums by The Acorn and Woodpigeon cos they are great too.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Stop Touching Me

Dear Pregnant Woman,
Hi, how are you doing? Not too much back pain? Are people offering you their seats on public transport? Enough with the small talk then, now down to business. I think I now understand how you feel. Not with the strange thing growing inside you side of things (although I did once have a tape worm, does that count?), no, no, but with the invasion of your personal space thing. I am currently rocking a furry little beard and it looks ok but today, within the space of 5 minutes, 2 women came up to me and stroked it! I’m sorry? What do you think you are doing? Do you go up to pregnant woman a cop a feel of their roundy bellies? Oh, you do. Well stop it, it’s not very nice. Ask first. Pregnant women of the world you have my sympathy, for this and for all the other things from which you are about to suffer,

Yours Thinking about Shaving,
Martyn xx

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Diana Watch

Your wife’s brain is sort of umm……. Shrunken. Good day to you all, I say all, last week it was 20, so I could probably greet you all individually and still only take up 2 lines. Hope you have had a good week, if not here is a thought to lighten the load, as I type this there are only 9 days left. 9 sleeps until still President Bush is ex President Bush and a collective sigh of relief so large that it will alter the course of most shipping is let out by 4.6 billion people, oh the joy. And if that doesn’t help it’s the 50th anniversary of Motown and every other BBC program is dedicated to this and playing many fantastic tunes, listen to them and your life will be good. Quickly back to the subject of George W Bush leaving, or more importantly Barack Obama taking over, lets be honest, this is probably the worst job in the world right now. World wide economic meltdown, yet more war in the Middle East, some of which his country didn’t start, and expectation so high that if he isn’t the first President to actually fly like David Copperfield, or indeed actually fly (my lawyers would like me to point out that David Copperfield can actually fly and that joke had no basis in fact), then America is going to be one very disappointed country. The rest of us don’t really mind what he does too much because he isn’t called Bush. The President elect has this week been outlining his plans for stimulating the recession hit economy that he will inherit. His plan is his own version of FDR’s New Deal, a new New Deal if you like and it mostly comes down to this, what FDR’s New Deal built, we will repair as no one has paid the slightest bit of attention to it since, why do you think the levees broke so easily in New Orleans? As we have discussed before the New Deal didn’t really lift the American economy out of the depression, that was the beginning of the 2nd World War and the massive increase in arms spending by Britain, but it did give people jobs and, combined with a new, reassuring President, it created confidence. FDR’s decision to re-open the banks would have ruined the country if the people hadn’t had the confidence to take their money back to them and reinvest. In faltering economies confidence is the key and this is what Obama will bring most to the U.S., oh and a shit load of spending, really, really big spending, which will be nice.
Of course the change of President and, probably, foreign policy does limit the time that Israel has to continue systematically destroying Gaza and the people within. The UN Security Council voted this week to call upon Israel and Hamas to declare a ceasefire, the vote passed and the call was ignored by both sides, but what was interesting were the numbers. Of the 15 members of the council 14 of them voted for the ceasefire motion, only one of them abstained, can you guess which one it was? Yes, that’s right it was Israel’s great friend and weapons based shopping centre, America. So the slaughter of hundreds in a pointless war is not enough for you to consider it a waste of time and a bad idea then Mr Bush, oh now, wait, you have previous for this sort of thing. Lets us all hope that the Obama Administration are a little more pro peace and sorting things out in a civilized way and a little less turning a blind eye.
It has been another bad week to be in Gaza, although I can’t think of many good weeks to be in Gaza recently and by recently I mean since about 1967, but the lowlight, if you will, was when Israel bombed a school, a UN school, with many children sheltering inside. On the BBC’s Today program on Radio 4 the Israeli Ambassador to Britain said that they had Drone (an unmanned spy plane) footage of Hamas Militants firing rockets from the roof of the school only hours earlier. The BBC then phoned the Israeli Embassy for clarification on this and were told that he had got it wrong. The footage that he had referred too was in fact taken during 2007. Oh and it was of a different school. The UN has also called for an investigation into what it describes as a “War Crime” by Israel in its treatment of injured Palestinians. In international humanitarian law soldiers are supposed to help and treat the injured, no matter whose side they are on and the UN claims that it has proof that Israeli soldiers have not been doing this.
I do know that this does sound very one sided and anti-Israel so let me add that rockets have still been fired into Israel from Gaza but also from Lebanon which really, really doesn’t help, unless the point was to remind everyone that Israel has a history of invading other countries in order to stop militant groups firing rockets at it and failing to do so. If that was what they were trying to do then goal achieved and well done, if not then sit down and shut up at the back you are not helping. I do agree with every Israeli spokesman that appears on any media outlet or their Youtube channel, ah, footage of the death of innocent people and funny animal clips, that’s what the internet is there for, that their country has the right to live peacefully within it’s borders with it’s neighbours without the fear of rockets raining down on them but maybe they should listen to their own words.

I’m sure you are asking yourselves, “Why are so many big companies going bankrupt?” ok, so you might not be but I’m using this as a narrative device so that I can crowbar my point in. Well it has very little to do with consumer spending, which is in fact slightly up on this time last year according to the ONS, and far more to do with the business practices of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Stupid as it may seem to you and I, it was the business mantra of the time. Cash in the bank bad, debt on and off the books, very good indeed. Now to most normal people this seems like a very poor idea that is fraught with danger, “what if the banks stop lending to me to cover this debt, my business will go under” but to those that ran, see how I used the past tense there, large companies this was not seen as a problem. By investing in very complicated financial products, that they borrowed lots of money for in the hope that they would make more money to cover that debt, they could move those debts off of their books so it looked like their situation was much better than it was. So when the banks stopped lending to one another and then to businesses, such as Woolworths, and then wanted their money back (this is the credit crunch not a drop in retail spending as the TV news seem to think it is) the companies in question were sunk, landed with huge debts that they couldn’t pay. So please don’t believe the bleating of the shops, you are spending enough money. Hey, maybe you should consider saving a little or paying off some of your own debt and if you do have a little to spend, do so in a small local shop like “Down to Earth” in my road. With all the space appearing in the high street this could be the chance for the local shops to take back some ground.
We are living in a very odd and confusing time as those who we thought were arch capitalists, politicians and business leaders etc, now seem to be some sort of socialists, encouraging us to nationalise things. Well sort of. They want us to nationalise their debts but leave the profits for them. Given their old ways you would have thought that an empty shop unit was a wank fantasy for them as it should that the “Market” was working and the strongest were surveying and the weakest going under, but no, they want help all of a sudden. Years of taking our money in return for shoddy products and bad service and now they want our help. There are some who have a terrible dystopian nightmare were meglo-companies straddle borders, employing hundreds of thousands of people, making singular decisions that effect stock markets and making trillions of pounds in profits until they don’t. A couple of bad investments and those years of profit are wiped out. These companies are too big to fail. Just one of them going down could ruin a country so various Governments are asked to step in to save them. “We’re sorry. We’ve really messed up and all our investments are worthless” “What about all those Profits you made over the last 25 years?” “No, that wasn’t us, you must be thinking of some other Bank.” “Ok, here’s billions of pounds” “thank you xx” What’s to stop these companies from continually doing this? Holding whole countries to ransom, pay up or we ruin you. Gordon Brown hinted at this “moral hazard” problem at the beginning of the credit crunch but has done nothing to deal with the problem which has lead to money going into the banks but not coming out again.

Some Awards now,

The Award for Tosser of the Week,

This goes to Tory Party activist Matthew Lewis who went to a New Years Eve party dressed as Madeleine McCann. Now, the question here is not why would you do that, tasteless prank, lack of moral judgement, a Tory, who’d of thought, it is, how would you do that? Did he wear a small girl’s frock? Get himself a funny eye or his family a publicist? Was he poorly investigated by Portuguese Police or did he just mysteriously not turn up?

The Award for Not Really a Great Surprise,

This goes to Prince Harry for using a racist term. This is the man, let us not forget, who went to a fancy dress party in a Nazi Uniform. What is it with the over privileged and fancy dress parties?

The Award for Odd Media Obsession of the Week,

This does not go to the wind turbine somewhere up North that got damaged and a blade fell off. Oooh, there were strange lights in the sky, twas a UFO you know. Was it? Was it really? Oh no, a much stranger obsession crept in this week, it was light bulbs. I have heard an article on radio news, seen an article on BBC television news and it’s all over the papers. This is because the EU wants to stop the production of the old fashion, not overly efficient, 100 watt tungsten light bulbs. I’m told that there has been panic buying of them despite the fact that it’s not going to happen for at least 2 years and that our government announced it ages ago. BBC news had a little voxpox piece asking idiots why they were panic buying. Several answers were given, my favourite being, “I don’t like the light that they give off”. I’m sorry? What now? The light that they give off? IT’S LIGHT! THAT’S THE COLOUR AND SPEED THAT IT COMES IN! One of the other answers was that the price of energy efficient bulbs was too high so I went to my local bulb emporium and found that the energy saving bulbs with equivalent candle power output of the old 100 watt tungsten bulbs start from 75p. If people won’t spend 75p to save the planet then we are all doomed. Although I got some free from my electricity supplier and from Waitrose. Only after I’d already bought a load for my house, so if you want some I do have some spares. Then the Daily Mail decided that this was an “it was all better in my day” issue and couldn’t help themselves but join in and start giving away 100 watt light bulbs. Would they also be happier if we repealed the “clean air” act and London went back to having fogs that could kill? Who would have thought that the only sane voice in this madness would come from the Sun who decided to give away some Energy saving light bulbs? I can’t believe that I am actually going to type the next few words but, well done the Sun.

Have a nice week. Go on, spend 75p and start helping to change the world.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Diana Watch

On the same day that I was asked to join Yes I got a call from David Bowie asking me to formThe Spiders from Mars with Mick Ronson. I have spent most of this weekend decorating my hall. Have I ever expressed to you how much I hate decorating? I really hate decorating. Well, I hate the painting of the walls, glossing is alright. A rather surprising thing has happened whilst doing the decorating though, I have put up a new coat rack/shelving thing and nothing has gone wrong. Not a thing. Putting it together was easy, all the parts were present, the drilling of holes in my wall was no problem, wall plugs slid in, screws went in, tightened up nicely and the unit it’s self fitted perfectly. This is very odd indeed. I don’t have the greatest history with DIY and shelf putting up more significantly, just ask significant other about her cherished glassware that was in our dining room, but this all seems to have gone scarily well. It won’t last. At least I can now do karate now after all that painting.
There hasn’t been a great deal of news this week due to the fact that no one has been watching the news because there have been many showings of Wallace and Gromit on the BBC (if news is reported and no one is watching, has it happened?) but what there has been has mostly been about Gaza and the destruction there of. Israel is like a badly behaved child. Since they were born they have been behaving badly, not playing well with other children in the neighbourhood, but their parents (America) has turned a bit of a blind eye. There has been the odd telling off and various empty threats to take the toys away but still they have been allowed to play with their cowboy outfit, the parent is secretly proud of the strong, independent child that they have bought up, every so often defending its behaviour with the “difficult/traumatic birth and childhood” excuse. What Israel needs is some sort of UN sanctioned Super Nanny to make it sit on the international naughty step for a while whilst it considers what it has done and why it might upset the other children to have their Lego knocked down. The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has said that Israel’s bombing of Gaza will lead to the radicalization of Palestinians against Israel yet when asked the same question about us bombing Iraq he denied that this phenomenon would take place, how odd.

Your Government wants to know what you are doing. They really, really want to know what you are doing. So much so that they have decided that asking you might end with you standing with your hands behind your back, sulkily looking at your feet, rubbing out an imaginary cigarette with one foot and mumbling under your breath “nothing”, and this won’t tell them what they won’t to know, so they are bring forward legislation that will enable them to track every phone call you make and email you send and website you visit. That won’t know the content but they will know who you are contacting. Oh and a private company is probably going to run it. Oh where to start. I don’t want the Government to know how many times I phone my mother or not in my case. Well, finding out how many times I’ve phoned my mum after a private company has left the information has been left in a kebab shop. There is also the point that if they don’t know the content of the message then what’s the point? Some one I know might be a terrorist, it could happen, my money is on my friend Kate, you know, best Christmas card of the year Kate, happy family life, pretty children, suspicious I think you’ll agree, and I could message them a lot simply because they are my friend and I could be caught up in their web of intrigue and terror because the content of my messages is not known, not that that is a reason for the Government to know everything. Why is the argument always “if you are innocent you have nothing to fear”? It is a silly argument. You do have something to fear. You have to worry about someone knowing everything about you, as it says on my shopping bag “anonymity is not a crime”.

Why do staggeringly wealthy people do adverts? Why does George Clooney advertise some piss poor coffee thing for Nescafe? Why do Bruce Willis and Alice Cooper appear in the new Norwich Union advert? And why, oh god why, does Ewan McGregor do that awful “fragrance for men” nonsense? Pierce Brosnan is worth it I’m told. Have you not got enough money? No, really, be honest, the only reason you can be sullying yourself to do them is for the money. You don’t believe the nonsense you are being told to say any more then I do. It has to be for the money but you are fantastically, don’t have to work ever again and live really well, wealthy. Why are you doing it? Why are you selling your souls and hawking crap on the rest of us? It’s because you are getting paid isn’t it? Despite the fact that you don’t need it you will do almost anything for more money. You disgust me.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m a little bile filled this week and I’m not sure why. It may be the result of the, not quite finished, decorating. Wax on, wax off. Just a couple of other things and I’ll leave you alone. It must be like answering the door and some bloke just starts shouting at you about things you don’t care that much about. A website was set up for worriers, by a worrier, and held a survey about worrying and guesses what? It found that the people on the worrying website (that’s a website about worrying, not one containing intimate pictures of Tony Blair with a Tonka toy) were worriers. Not a great surprise really but what was a surprise was to turn on BBC news and have some dimwit shouting “it’s official, we are a nation of worriers,” and then quoting from this survey as if it had something important to say or was carried out in some way that would give us some statistically significant results. Some crappy website survey is not science and it most certainly is not news.

The Awards for the week,

The Award for Oddest Music Show on the Radio of the Week,

This goes to Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone on BBC 6Music, Sunday evenings 17.30-20.00. Where else would you hear recordings of KPM all-stars playing the theme from Countdown, Channel 4 news and the Dave Allen show recorded live at the Jazz CafĂ©?

The Award for Really Odd and Slightly Sinister Medical Research of the Week,

This goes to Doctors at the HaEmek Medical Centre, Israel, who are going to carry out clinical trials to test the value of medical clowns for patients who are about to have cataract surgery. This will involve 100 patients and half of them will be half scared to death by, sorry, exposed to a clown before their operation to assess the effect on blood pressure and pulse rate of patients undergoing surgery under local anaesthesia. I would imagine that the pulse and BP of those who have to suffer the clown torture will be sky high or am I missing the point. Another week, another story from the BMJ.

A quick mention of the new Dr Who and no real surprise to find out that it wasn’t me. It was, however, slightly funny looking Matt Smith and, whilst I’m not familiar with his work, I’m sure he will be fantastic; he has a slightly sinister look about him. I’m told that he is not as pretty as Mr Tennant, information supplied by significant other there. Decided for yourselves. Ah well, better luck next time for me then.


Happy New Year everyone xx