mr. zilla goes to town

Sunday, May 29, 2005

honey pot sounds good

Sometimes a conversation like this:

"Where are we going for a drink?"

"Honey Pot sounds good..."

Leads to a night like this:

Launched last night with fanfare, posters, flyers, drinks specials, marching girls and a mariachi band, SOUNDS GOOD at Honey Pot went off like a treat with a great crowd in. The pay is peanuts (so far...) but on first appraisal venue and vibe are great. Hiding around a corner from one of Oxford's main clubbing streets, Honey Pot seems to be one of the town's undiscovered treats, so I'll be in there for a couple of hours every other Saturday working to change that in a good way. (Flyer credit: the multitalented two-time blades-winner Ms Z)

Friday, May 27, 2005

always take the weather

A wise man I know used to say to me: the sun shines even on a dog's arse some days.

It's twenty eight, twenty eight, TWENTY EIGHT degrees!

So please excuse me while I go and take all my clothes off and run around under the sprinkler.

(I'm in the office at the moment though, so I better pull the plug on the PC here before I go trip the fire alarm. And I guess I'll find out exacltly how progressive this joint is when I start swinging my jeans about over my head...)


Thursday, May 26, 2005

please be upstanding

With a speech to deliver to 150 16 year olds on Friday and a new DJ night to launch on Saturday I've got no right to have been out tonight in town and now awake and kicking. But the news from the ABC's Asia Pacific webstream about the current voting going on in Bougainville is very exciting, and I can't go to bed without posting up a quick picture that captures how I feel about it.

I'll get back and post something like a photoessay and some commentary over the weekend I suspect.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

knox force five

Feel the funk, babycakes: track of the week playing right now is a b-side from killer DC crew the Fort Knox Five. This track reminds me of buying records in the DJ Hut they worked out of on P St -- seemed to be always, always, with the blacksploitation films running in the background...

For the kids back home, peep your ears up on 'em, last I heard (and mind you this was a conversation with one of the FKF guys in October last year) they're booked in for the 1 Jan 06 Field Day in Sydney. You're in for a treat.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

...towards a more perfect union

You lucky lucky people... I am like 'the daywalker' Wesley Snipes in Blade, providing Atlantic-spanning political theory one day, and now with the other foot in Europe, presenting mister zilla's live eurovision commentary....

First performance of the night is an encore from last year's Ukranian winner, featuring a six foot slavic lass in half a pair of trousers firing off a flamethrower. Game on!

First actual entry of the night - Hungary! Yeah yeah, blokes doing some high steppin fancy dancin. Pass the guinness.

UK! Good god, a kingdom of sixty million plus people and this is the best on offer? Better hope some pity votes come in from Ireland who didn't make the cut!

Malta! Hey! Who put the fat lady on third! Move to the back of the queue miss, there's plenty of yogurt in the green room!

Romania! It's a rousing, stomp-inspired, light industrial, euro-synth laden number featuring the love clone of Elvira and Ruby Wax! Now we're getting somewhere!

Norway! Come on, come on, come on! Absolute gold. Well, absolute silver spandex actually. Great work keeping some classic hairy-chested glam on ice all these years guys.

Turkey... Shit, more bongos! Get off you trollop!

Moldova! Now this is what we came for. It's green day meets your granny in a rocking chair. Ohh and she's out of the chair now and rockin it too! Sick!

Albania! Boobies! Yes, boobies so good I can almost ignore the awful song and the dancers' weird faux violins. Almost. Next!

Cyprus. Well at least now we know where Scary Spice has been the last few years: locked in a cage on the Neverland Ranch.

Spain. What the hell happened here? Looks like Ricky Gervias fell asleep on the beach in Ibiza and was abducted by a guerilla flamenco troupe who promptly hocked his corneas to raise money for bribes to fix the count. Ouch, and his larynx too. Poor fella.

Israel! A half decent bleedin heart ballad that Ms Z swears is a Japanese rip. 3 points for the great dress.

Serbia. Look fellas if you wanna b-backstreet at least try to have one dance move. Just one would be enough! Muppets!

Denmark! It's bloody Queer Eye for the Hawaiian Shirt time. But what happy little shoes you have!

Sweden! I'm in a room of about 40 people and every girl in here just screamed and threw her knickers at the big screen. Hunka hunka man candy is our root vegetable on screen. We may have a contender...

Macedonia! Uhhh, did the lead lip syncer just pick his nose? I think he just did! Damn, that's some edgy choreography.

Ukraine! Awwwww the feelgood moment of the night as GreenJolly, the soundtrack to the revolution gets a guernsey. Ohhh looky the little dancers are breaking their chains. Did someone give the MC some hemlock too or did he look that bad anyway?

Germany! The keyboard banger has a KISS-style star on his eye and the lead lipper's eyelash extensions are so long she looks crosseyed, but they still can't disguise a frightfully bland effort.

Croatia! I feel sorry for Mr. tall, dark, seductive and handsome up front. Clearly no one told him about the guy playing the sack of bagpipes or the ugly as sin bald drummer totally blowing his schtick.

Greece. Oh how nice! Israel won Eurovision with a transsexual singer in 1998 and Greece think it's going to get them over the line too! Hang on a minute no, I think she's really a she, was just taught to dance by a gorilla with bad feet I think. Damn, did that dancer guy just pull the cello out of his pants??

Russia! Yeah ok, slighty rock, slightly good! Extra points for almost falling out of your titanium sequin swimsuit miss!

Bosnia! Your patently transparent ABBA rip off gets the response it deserves. A toilet break.

Switzerland! I think the group's name, "Vanilla Ninja", is their only redeeming feature.

Latvia! I don't think these kids are old enough to sit on these barstools let alone go into bars. Ohhhhh, cunning tactical positioning though, I think they've got the deaf vote sealed up.

Lucky last, France! Look you bloody mongs, international diplomacy is the perfect venue to demonstrate your superior grasp of nuance and subtlety and by golly I'm in your corner over the position you took with Mr Blix and so forth. But six people in basic black doing some effete little shimmers on a six thousand foot stage before an entire stadium, nay, an entire continent, nay, a potential Federation of nations squalling in the womb of a new Europa - plus of course the hangers on from beyond who get invited along to be polite, yes Turkey we're talking about you - wake up and smell the sequins kids!

And now the results...

And a few more results...

Funny how they can rip through the count from multi millions of people in thirty something countries faster than the Brownlow isnt it?

And a few more results........

Well its Greece on top god damn it, my money in the sweep was on Moldova, now if you'll excuse me there's more guinness and a kebab with my name on it somewhere in this town... thank you and good night!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

good news for a change

May 2005 - OPD [Ocean Power Delivery] announces that it has secured the first order for Pelamis wave energy converters.

OPD has signed an order with a Portuguese consortium, led by Enersis, to build the initial phase of the world's first commercial wave farm. The initial phase will consist of three Pelamis P-750 machines located off the North coast of Portugal, near Póvoa de Varim. The €8m project will have an installed capacity of 2.25MW, and is expected to meet the average electricity demand of more than 1,500 Portuguese households.
Elsewhere on their site, OPM mentions:
There is sufficient energy breaking on the UK shoreline to power the country three times over. However, it is not practical to recover all of this energy. The economically recoverable resource for the UK alone has been estimated to be 87TWh per year, or ~25% of current UK demand.
If you check out their dinky world wave resource map it seems that some of the richest wave energy around the world to tap is off southern Australia. Cool. Surely no more excuses for our ghastly percapita greenhouse emissions levels then!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

GUTs or (old) glory

The tone of discourse is passing strange this week in Washington. A report at Newshounds via The Poor Man:

Neal Horsley returned to the Alan Colmes [ie Fox] Radio Show Thursday night to defend his history of his, er, um, fancy of a certain mule in his pre-teen life of a "normal" farm boy. It was a natural occurence, he said, like that of a mutt that will hump everything warm and wet in sight. He maintained that he did not rape the mule. Horsley claimed that the mule consented and was a willing consultant in this match due to the fact that the mule was clearly a whore for accepting the gift of an ear of corn for the sexual act. Now if you are doing a double take on that piece of information, I should advise you, he really said it.

Mr. Horsley stated that it is logical and natural to engage in beastiality in today's world, comparing it to consenting gay sex. Mule-man sex is natural, and man-man sex is natural but not normal.

... Horsley continued by saying that you can be forgiven for the "naturalness" of beastiality because animals are dumb and have no feelings, but those involved in homsexuality should be put in prison.

So while you pick your jaw up of the floor and take your seat again, I’ll preface what follows by saying that while I am not keen to discuss the congress of man and eqine any further, the blogosphere is all about getting terrier like into an issue in which you have some comparative advantage in the ability to inform your fellow man, so off we go:

As you may be aware, the holy grail of theoretical physics is a Grand Unified Theory which provides a unified explanation for the five forces in the universe: the electromagnetic, the strong nuclear, the weak nuclear, gravity, and mothers. Brilliant minds such as Stephen Hawking have given the matter many years of effort. Nonetheless, many notable physicists however had to sagely but sadly shake their wispy grey heads and turn to other matters upon being presented with a conundrum that seems to preclude ever reaching a provable G.U.T.

Known formally in the inner circles of Cambridge, Massachusetts as the Herscovitch-Dingwall Noncertainty Principle but in whispered curses as simply the horsefucker theorem, this 148-page mathematical proof logically elucidates that in the instance of a person entering a barn (E) to find another man (M) standing upon a barrel in flagrante delicto with an equine companion (H), it can never be possible to explain what goes through the minds of the person entering the barn, the man on the barrel, and, crucially, the horse, in a context which there simultaneously exists a singular, unified and sensible universe. The universe is just one inexplicably crazy freakin' ball of mischief, and there can be no GUT, QED.

Now since Laura Bush's revelation the other week -- possibly in jest as I initially thought, but with regression analysis demonstrating a disturbingly high probability of being based in fact – my sources in DC tell me that political scientists at Georgetown University have been up to their elbows in blackboard chalk and powdered governance attempting to interpolate any localized consequences for the polity should man (M) be substituted for coke-addled fratboy and future President of the United States (W).

Some preliminary results have been achieved by firing some of the more useless members of the US congress at relativistic velocities through the supposedly incomplete Superconducting Supercollider in Texas. They seem to indicate that if one postulates that such an event actually took place during George W. Bush’s 'lost year' in 1972, the resulting chaos butterfly like effects upon the fabric of the Republic have causal implications from everything from the Watergate scandal to the complete horse’s ass of the last thirty years of US foreign policy.

If, however, said event took place during W’s astroturf relocation to Texas prior to running for Governor in 1994, then Nixon was just his own special brand of dag-nasty evil, but Bill Clinton’s shenanigans (and Ken Starr’s clenis obsession) were more the consequence of a temporally inverted & perverted standing wave bouncing about the Oval Office than his own alleged lust for a tubby intern. I mean come on, did that make sense to anyone?

Looking forward, and wingnut anti-abortionists on Radio Freakshow aside, if the current application of the theorem holds true then Senator Rick Santorum could well have the inside run in 2008 for the GOP, so now would be a good time to get a few readies on this dirty nag while the odds are long and the disturbing noises coming from behind the still-closed barn door could just be Schrodinger's cat having kittens and not any of the malarkey discussed above.

More fundamentally this theorem is less a foreshadowing, and more a carving into basalt bas-relief, of the small matter that the current US President will never live up to his ancient claims to be 'a uniter, not a divider'. After the fractious 2000 election, peace, love and harmony were never going to be a feature of his domestic legacy, but the horse (fore) play back in the day is the clearest, logically positivist evidence that the monomaniacal idiocy in Iraq and beyond has caused a jagged tear in the starred and striped fabric of US financial, military, and moral hegemony.

He's a modern day George-the-terrible, tossing Humpty Dumpty from the castle walls. And don't even let me get started about his mother.

Monday, May 16, 2005

next up on the wheels... DJ Insecurity!

"Honey, does my arse look fat in this flyer?"

Big ups to the talented Ms Z for turning what is more or less a photo of my backside into a pretty spankin' flyer for the laid back Brickworks midweekers coming up.

More news on a new biweekly Saturday residency I've landed will follow soon too...

Do as we say, not as we… well actually, don't do as we say

US news magazine Newsweek is currently copping in the neck over suggestions that their misreported details from a source in Guantanamo -- who alleged, but then retracted after publication, that the Koran had been placed in a toilet -- led to riots in Afghanistan and death of at least 15 people.

Setting aside the fact that there's ample precedent to indicate this kind of disrespect is very likely to be going on, let's look at a few other choice remarks on the public record lately and some of their possible consequences.

George Bush, Tblisi, May 10:

You are making many important contributions to freedom's cause, but your most important contribution is your example. In recent months, the world has marveled at the hopeful changes taking place from Baghdad to Beirut to Bishkek. But before there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq, or an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was the Rose Revolution in Georgia. Your courage is inspiring democratic reformers and sending a message that echos across the world: Freedom will be the future of every nation and every people on Earth.

Now, across the Caucasus, in Central Asia and the broader Middle East, we see the same desire for liberty burning in the hearts of young people. They are demanding their freedom -- and they will have it.

Uzbekistan, May 13:

Anti-government protesters occupied the central square [of the Ferghana Valley city, Andijan] throughout the day. Some estimates put the crowd as high as 50,000. Many protesters called for Karimov's resignation, complaining that the government's economic program, including a tax policy widely viewed as confiscatory, was impoverishing the population.

Uzbek security forces killed at least dozens of people… as President Islam Karimov acted ruthlessly to crush an anti-government protest. Uzbek authorities also took steps to isolate the city from the outside world, making it difficult to determine the extent of the carnage.
So it's going to be hard to determine what's going on. Let's compare and contrast one official and one unofficial report though:

Exactly how many people were killed when security forces fired upon a crowd of several thousand protesters surrounding a seized public building in the square on 13 May is still unknown. The government puts the number of dead around 30. Uzbek President Islam Karimov said late yesterday that 10 police and troops were killed in what Tashkent described as a fight against rebels.

But witnesses and human rights group say the number may be as high as 500, and most were civilians. Gulbahor Toraeva is the head of a nongovernmental organization in Uzbekistan called Animakor, which deals with the protection of the rights of medical doctors and their patients. She told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service today that she saw with her own eyes yesterday about 500 civilian corpses that had been gathered together at School No. 15 in Andijon.

"If we speak about [yesterday's] events, I went personally to School No. 15 in Andijon [yesterday] and I saw the bodies were gathered there. I saw it with my own eyes. There were about 500 bodies or more," Toraeva said.
Now if you believe the Uzbek government on this one, then you'll believe that this is a regime in which prisoners live in mortal fear not of hard labour but the tea breaks in between:

The elderly mother of a religious prisoner allegedly boiled to death by Uzbekistan's secret police has been sentenced to six years in a maximum security jail after she made public her son's torture. Uzbek prison authorities maintain that Mr Avazov died after inmates spilled hot tea on him.

So how has the Bush administration responded to the carnage in Andijan? Washington DC, May 16:
Scott McClellan, Mr Bush's spokesman, declined to take sides when asked about Uzbek troops opening fire on unarmed civilians. "The people of Uzbekistan want to see a more representative and democratic government, but that should come through peaceful means, not through violence."

The State Department was equally unwilling to speak against the iron-fisted regime of President Karimov. Richard Boucher, a State Department spokesman, said: "We believe that everywhere people have the right to express their grievances, but that grievances should be pursued through a peaceful process."

So perhaps what George Bush should have said in Tblisi, on May 10 was:

Now, across the Caucasus, in Central Asia and the broader Middle East, we see the same desire for liberty burning in the hearts of young people. They are demanding their freedom -- and they will have it. So long as they realise full well that my administration and my government will be providing rhetorical support and international influence to support them only if I need a push in the polls. Could you talk with Scottie and maybe arrange something for the Congressional race in 06?

Freedom will be the future of every nation and every people on Earth… except if I need yours as an airbase for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and can't afford to upset the current regime. Or if they're kinda useful for me to outsource some fingernail pulling to. But everyone else, well, give it the jandal kids, and I'll be right along to join the freedom cakewalk as soon as the Secret Service has sampled the buffet!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

what hath laura wrought?

What follows may offend some viewers. Look away now, children.

Via Salon's War Room, we learn about a May 6 exchange between anti-abortion activist Neal Horsley and Alan Colmes on Colmes' FOX News radio show:

In the interview, Horsley, a vocally religious proponent of posting names of abortion doctors on the Web so that anti-abortion extremists will know how to find them, admitted to having engaged in bestiality.

"You had sex with animals?" Colmes asked, with regard to reports of Horsley's past experience with bestiality and homosexuality. "Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule."

When Colmes suggested that maybe that's not the case for everyone who grows up on a farm in Georgia, Horsley shot back, "It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from reality ... welcome to domestic life on the farm ... You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually. You're naïve…If it's warm and it's damp and it vibrates you might in fact have sex with it."

What's next, Rupert Murdoch pontificating in public about how he took an Asian bride just to help him crack open the PRC telecoms state monopoly? Rush Limbaugh anally plugging his hillbilly heroin live on air but having to remove the microphone first to do so? Look here you fucking spooge-for-brains freakshow fundies! Laura Bush's speech was A JOKE!! It was written for her by a COMEDIAN!! George Bush probably didn't really GIVE HAND JOBS TO HORSES!! (Well you never know, he was a coke addled frat boy for about 20 years, but that's not the point I'm screaming about here). Her speech DOESN'T mean that it's now politically astute - or even the latest fashion -- to unburden yourself on national radio of all the perverted mischief that you used to get up to on your own time down on the ranch! Look, I'm not saying 'we' are better than 'you' - that sanctimonious rubbish is your ball, baby. In fact I'm sure the endangered Ruralius Liberalius are just as much Leviticus-18:23-Lotharios as you lot, but WE JUST DON'T CARE!!

Please, please, shut the fuck up.


Thank you.

when crustaceans challenge

Nick the wily Crustacean threw the some procrastination bait at me the other day, something I have always been powerless to resist. Here goes:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be saved?

If I recall, the premise of F451 was that the books were saved by people devoting themselves to developing word-perfect memory of books. So while there might be great works of the global canon that I should be thinking about, if I have to live with this thing in my head then I’m jolly well going to have something pleasant. I think I’ll take that famous childhood primer on English class relations, Roald Dahl’s Danny, The Champion of the World.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Menolly in Anne McCaffery’s Dragonsinger played guitar, rode genuine, genetically-engineered, fire-breathing dragons, and had that ‘so stunningly hot that the stupid woman author never got around to mentioning it’ thing going for her as usual. What’s not to get damp trousers about at age fourteen?

The last book you bought was…?

A couple of weeks ago when I bought the Observer it came with a free copy of Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

The last book you read was…?

Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen and Key Issues in Development by Damian Kingsbury et al. (Did I mention I handed in a 4000 word paper on Wednesday?)

What are you currently reading?

“Tell me a bedtime story!” said the scallywagalicious Ms Z last night as we had our heads on the pillow. I had just reached a new sub-chapter heading on page 83 at the time, so I started to read to her.

“The 1963 Massacres,” I replied in my best Pate Biscuit voice. “The Qasim regime fell, its leader executed, on 8 Febraury 1963…”

“Ohhh, I don’t think I’m going to like this story,” she said. “Doesn’t your book have a nicer one?”

Hmm, Could be tough, since I’m reading Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses by Mark Curtis. I’ve been jumping around in it rather than going from the front but the title is a bit of a misnomer so far; Curtis seems to devote a lot of time to documenting Britain’s enthusiastic to-the-hilt support of US human rights abuses and aggressive activity. The chapter on the Vietnam War makes for all-too-familiar reading, as declassified Whitehall memos describe the MacMillan government’s complete behind the scenes support and approval for US actions including strategic (ie, indiscriminate) bombing of North Vietnamese cities while making gestures to placate the anti-war sentiment of British public.

“Well… how about I change a few words?”

“Like what?”

“OK… the 1963 muh, muh, muh, aha! The 1963 Masquerade!” She smiled. I continued. “The curtain on the ball fell, er, rose, the band leader introduced, on 8 February 1963….”

“Much better!”

“The coup, I mean the catering, was run by General Abdul Arif and Prime Minister General Abdul al-Bakr of the Baath party, with substantial CIA backing and organisation. The CIA insisted beforehand on a detailed, er, seating plan! for the Iraqi Communist Party. The CIA provided the caterers with a list of names, around 5000 of whom were hunted down and, um, invited to the ball. They included senior army officers, lawyers, professors, teachers and doctors. The… invitations… mostly took place on an individual basis, by house-to-house squads of army… accordion players… who knew where the guests were, and who carried out on-the-spot invitations and often a merry song and Morris dance too for the guest’s family…”

Five books you would take to a desert island?

1. The world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji by Murusaki Shikibu. If my desert island has good wireless in the local internet café and I can borrow a few bucks from passing German backpackers, I’d even be able to read it online, woodcuts and all.

2 Shipwreck (Island, Book 1) by Gordon Korman. Should there be a lack of passing backpackers, boats or banana republicans, I’d be reassured to know that if six fictional teenagers with behavioural problems can survive on a desert island, then so can I!

3. David HumeA Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to introduce the experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects. (1739–40). One of my fondest memories of my Philosophy major at ANU was the Philosophy of the Enlightenment course taught by Dr Chris Falzon. He had such an engaged and friendly disposition and passion for the material you couldn’t help but be fascinated. Since I was a part-time student at ANU while also working full-time I was always rushing to and from the place to get back to work, and often the day’s lecture was also the only chance I would have to grab lunch. So consistent were my habits of going to this great class armed with a still-warm bread roll or two to munch on, that beyond the cerebral joy of getting my mental teeth into a text I still feel a happy associative experience of bakery smells and a full tummy sensation when I read old empiricists and philosophes. I have no doubt that such would come in very handy on a desert island until I figured out how to open the coconuts.

I would also take Hume’s Treatise over many much better works of the period though, as there’s a good amount of filler in the middle there and I’d like to have something I wouldn’t feel too bad about tearing up for a signal fire or loo paper.

4. Bertrand RussellA History of Western Philosophy. Used to have this on the bookshelf in Canberra in the place I shared with Lunch, never got around to reading much of it, I wonder if he got stuck into it at all?

5. Who Murdered Chaucer? A Medieval Mystery by Terry Jones of Python fame and his historian mate, Et Al. It's another one I’ve actually gone 100 pages into here, and have been stuck there for a month or two now, as I always seem to get caught up in sixteen other things before I get back to it, only to find that I’ve lost the thread. Should the coconut issue be resolved, and preferably some rum and pineapple too for a pina colada or three, I would hope that I could be left alone by the briny blue yonder long enough to finish it.

Who are you passing this stick on to and why?

I'd pass it on to absent mates The Bandwagon and The Midday Meal to see where their heads are at, as well as word-worshipper Cristy at Epeolatry.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

dogs are the best people...

... or at least if owned by the best people, seem likely to bear a passing resemblance to the best people.

So says the annals of Psychological Science, 15(5):361, May 2004:

Research Report: Do Dogs Resemble Their Owners?
Michael M. Roy and Nicholas J.S. Christenfeld

We examined whether the frequent casual reports of people resembling their pets are accurate by having observers attempt to match dogs with their owners. We further explored whether any ability of observers to make such matches is due to people selecting dogs who resemble them, in which case the resemblance should be greater for predictable purebreds than for nonpurebreds, or is due to convergence, in which case the resemblance should grow with duration of ownership.

Forty-five dogs and their owners were photographed separately, and judges were shown one owner, that owner's dog, and one other dog, with the task of picking out the true match. The results were consistent with a selection account: Observers were able to match only purebred dogs with their owners, and there was no relation between the ability to pair a person with his or her pet and the time they had cohabited. The ability to match people and pets did not seem to rely on any simple trait matching (e.g., size or hairiness). The results suggest that when people pick a pet, they seek one that, at some level, resembles them, and when they get a purebred, they get what they want.

Surely this was not a cheap stunt by both the researchers and the journal to increase their profile. Surely!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Cute video selling jeans to overwhelmed metrosexual man. If Levis are hooking their viral marketing to the idea it must be cool, but I think their 'uncomplicate' premise is all wrong. There's no going back from here in manly body-con consumerism, and if we're headed back to the future it's merely going to manifest in artificial badger/wombat strand-by-strand fashionably fudged and mohawked chest hair toupees and/or implants. Just you wait, keep an eye on the what's going on under the shirts during goal scoring celebrations at next years World Cup in Germany, you see if I lie!

Oh, god. That reminds me... it means its must be almost time for Australia's World Cup non-qualification debacle to begin again. Now I'm depressed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

marketing the new political correctness

Whoah. Via Wonkette, the story of American long-distance telco United American Technologies running a telemarketing campaign to persuade punters to switch company by telling them that the other major long distance companies promote the 'gay lifestyle' and that one (MCI) runs a child pornography website...

You can listen to this mp3 of a chap who recorded his conversations with UAT.

the horror, the horror (episode 4,784)

Another informed comment from Juan Cole:

A Kuwaiti court sentenced 25 radical Muslim fundamentalists for plotting to go to Iraq to fight US troops, or to fund the effort. They were also accused of belonging to an illegal organization. Only as you read down the Reuters report does it gradually become apparent that the "forbidden organization" is . . . al-Qaeda! Diplomats in Kuwait City told Reuters that "sympathy for Saudi-born al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is on the rise among Kuwaiti youth."

This statement requires some sort of comment. Why? The US rescued little Kuwait from Saddam in 1991. If Kuwaitis don't like the US, who in the Arab world would? But even many of them are turning against us. From a fundamentalist Sunni Kuwaiti point of view, the US occupation of Iraq is the ultimate insult to Islam and Muslims, and has empowered the Shiites and their Iranian allies.

I repeat. If Kuwaitis are turning against the US and joining al-Qaeda and going to Iraq to fight US troops, then the "War on Terror" isn't going very well.

Sheesh, I don't know why Professor Cole has his knickers in a twist, it's not like the US hasn't written the playbook on how to invade Kuwait. And this time around they already have a huge advantage, what with all the bases and troops already there! I mean come on, this is another righteous victory juust waiting to happen.

Friday, May 06, 2005

while you were reading

So yeah, music stream on the blog, wacko eh! good idea? bad idea? interfering with music you're already playing? getting you busted for surfing at work? if you don't like it go and blame protomedico Phil Mosley whose bits of code I nicked since I wouldn't have had a clue how to do this myself. Actually don't be too harsh on him, he says rude things to Tories:
my local Tory candidate came to my door the other day and said to me, "Are you thinking what we're thinking?"

I said, "I don't know. Are you thinking, "I'd quite like to make a necklace out of the vaginas of all the female contestants on that new ITV celebrity wrestling programme....apart from Annabelle Croft. And in place of her vagina I would like to include the penis of James Hewitt as a kind of pendant?"

And he said, " no, we're not thinking that."

I said, "That's a shame, because I would vote for anyone who was thinking that."

And he said, "Really.... well, we were thinking that a bit."

I think that says all you need to know about the Tory party.

Bloody good track first up though innit. You'll find it on #5 in the Brazilectro series. Go buy it.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

more brick work

With the head hitting the pillow sometime after 2am on both Monday (after the usual set at Thirst) and Tuesday (after playing a black tie gig at a college followed by far too much champagne, vodka, and despairing discussion at the current and future state of the ALP), playing for an hour last night down at the Brickworks I was very much in the mood for keeping it low and slow:

Hightower Set – Putting Heads to Bed (Blue Note)
Okuyama Minako - Like A Flower (Flower Records)
Bionics – Intelligent Jazz (Jimpster’s Jazz Mix) (Compost Records)
Jazztronik – The Piano (Flower Records)
Cold Cut – Onamission (Ninja Tune)
Monday Michiru – Fading Beauty (Chillin’ Winter Mix) (Kitty)
Chingy – Right Thurr (Capitol Records)
DJ Food – Dark Lady (Ninja Tune)
Jet Set Productions – Go Forward (Flower Records)
Mark De Clive-Lowe - Smile In Your Eyes (Arision Recordings)
Jazztronik – Brisa (At Jazz Remix) (Flower Records)
Plantlife – When She Smiles She Lights The Sky (4Hero Remix)
Quincy Jones – Along Came Mister Nobody (Concord Records)
Hajime Yoshizawa – Rise Me Up (Especial Records)
Emo – First Time Experience (Povo Mix) (Subterranean)

Yes, that’s not a typo, that is Chingy in the middle there, but I want to you imagine it made thoroughly respectable by an impromptu mash with the bassline from DJ Food’s Dark Lady (also appropriated famously for Bomb The Bass’s Bug Powder Dust).

The Brickworks is a relaxed atmosphere and cosy capacity, and both times I've played there now I've had people dropping me email addresses to get set lists and find out when I'm playing again. So no surprise that on the back of the two guest appearances I’ve made with the Peepshow over the last month I’ve got another regular night lined up, and will be hosting the monthly first-Tuesday there. It seems in this place one must be proper and fill in one's dance card in from the front on the week...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

election wrap

For me elections are a bit like a line of coke as long as a baby's arm. Kind of jolly good fun conceptually, but the evidence of the last attempts at it (Canberra, Washington) is starting to suggest that when you keep waking up in hospital the next day, screaming about what's been inflicted on (and by) the body politic, it might be time to give the game away and outsource the whole ruling business to some Platonian philosopher kings. John Ralston Saul is Consort to the Canadian Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson and I'm sure that's no small coincidence it seems to be one of the sanest nations on the planet at the moment.

Anyway the point is that I'm an absolute political junkie and yet its taken me until two minutes before election day here to get around to mentioning the UK election on the blog. That should give you some idea about the general level of interest and engagement in the election. Despite a bit of hoohah in the last week about formal legal advice on entering into the Iraq War, Labour have firmed from odds of twelve-to-one on to win about a month ago to the ridiculous rate of thirty three to one ON to win the election. It's a pretty damn sure bet but with three quid back from every hundred you lay down its almost not worth leaving the house, let alone leaving the house to vote!

That said there are one or two interesting contests about. In a contest not dissimilar to Andrew Wilkie's run against little John, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray is running against Foreign Minister Jack Straw in Blackburn, have a gander at this interview to get an inkling why:
So [my deputy] went and saw the CIA head of station in Tashkent, and this was in November 2002, and said to him, “Look, my ambassador’s worried that the intelligence you’re passing on to MI6 is probably obtained under torture, and he wants your take on whether this is possible”. And she reported back to me, absolutely no reason to disbelieve her, the CIA head of station Tashkent said: “You’re right, it will be obtained under torture. But, we don’t see that as a problem.”

While Tony and Gordon's Labour party have perhaps a 3-6% lead in the polls give or take, this translates into a fairly hefty 90 seat majority if it all plays out this way. The Liberal Democrats -- a genuine third force party that the asshat Australian Democrats should and could still have been if they hadn't forgotten to pack a few spare watercress sandwiches before fighting over the control yoke and crashing into a mountaintop in The Andes -- will probably make some net gain; however as this will be more at the expense of Labour than the Tories its not much to get excited about except that it demonstrates the extent of the progressive consensus that exists in this country to an extent unthinkable in both the US and Australia. (The current wunderkid of the Tories is an openly gay young chap who has had the Conservative leader out doorknocking in his electorate. Can you see the libs or the ALP preselecting anyone similar in Australia? Shit, can you see the ALP preselecting a red blooded country-born train driver like Ben Chifley unless he was the secretary of the union? Tch.)

In the interests of democratic hygiene I would love to see the government that misled this country into a terrible war of choice cleansed from power. In the interests of keeping the dog-whistling, race-baiting, "are you thinking what I'm thinking?" two-faced tories out of power, I have to say I'll be glad to see them returned.

Monday, May 02, 2005

desperate whitehouse wives

What do you do when you're the leader of the free world and your keystone domestic agenda to dismantle social security is going to pot, the body bags from Iraq and Afghanistan are still coming home, and your approval rating is at its lowest ebb in your glorious five year reign?

Call in Karl Rove. Powwow with the strategists and speechwriters. Explicate your vision with diamond clarity. Triangulate the heavy media artillery onto your target demographics, congressional districts, likely voters, swing voters and floater voters.

And then have your lovely wife Laura stand up in a White House dinner and make jokes about how she visits strip clubs, isn't getting any, and how you once gave a horse a hand job.

Absolute genius. And like the horse, I bet the democrats never saw it coming.


(High Street/Magdalen Bridge.)

ANZAC day marks both a focus of Australian nationalism and the time in Canberra when you feel the first chilly nights and light up the fireplace. But for people with upside down feet, May Day a few days later doesn't feature strongly on the cultural or national calendar, except perhaps when the labour movement is steeling itself for some rough years ahead. Similarly I don't recall the day featuring highly on the US calendar, perhaps due to both a fairly weak labour movement and the day's taint of many decades of military parades in front of the Kremlin.

The day in England (and throughout Europe for that matter) has much deeper roots; more about the annual spring rebirth, fertility and reproduction than a mere century-old barney about the means of production.

(Cometh the time, Cometh the Green Man.)

Unless you've been on a champagne and black Russian binge in a black tie river-bourne ballroom on the Thames all night and got back to Oxford around 4am absolutely hangin for a kebab and a breakfast beer -- a fortunate circumstance in which we just got a head start on everyone else -- May Day in Oxford begins with a six AM burst of prayer and choral song from Magdalen College and Bridge, followed quickly by the dispersal of the ten-thousand strong crowd to the innumerable pubs throughout the town for a pint or three. Leading the town in this celebratory charge are Oxfordshire's delightfully barmy troops of hanky-tossing, stick-whacking Morris Men.

(Wild hankies at 10 paces outside the White Horse on Broad Street.)

Having first been exposed to it at length by Australian practicioners at the National Folk Festival, gotta say I love the unbridled merriment of the Morris madness. What in essence used to be a way for medieval farmers to busk and make a few coin with their mates to fund their boozing is now a marvelous excuse for modern pommy blokes to strap their bells to their regalia and apply themselves thoroughly to the tankard. Plus ca change, the more punters love a pint and a shot at a bit of Maypole action, as the saying goes. Without in any sense rejecting their multicultural modernity, a number of the locals I was speaking to yesterday morning really got a great sense of joy out of the sustenance and continuity of a form of very particularly English culture.

Unfortunately I have to report that the day wasn't fun for everyone. One of the other Oxford traditions that some students follow is a May morning leap from the Magdalen Bridge into the muddy river below. This year the five metre drop was into a river barely three feet deep and known to be festooned with shopping trolleys and so on from undergrad hijinks at other times of the year. Despite the police erecting barriers and security guards warning students off, over a hundred ended up jumping, and fifty had to be rescued from the river with broken legs, ankles, feet, ribs, concussion, and worst of all at least one reported spinal injury.