Three cheers for Joe Calzaghe's comments on Nottingham Super Middleweight Carl Froch.
Three cheers for Joe Calzaghe's comments on Nottingham Super Middleweight Carl Froch.
Driving along the M40 last night, several farmers fields contained unpleasant erections.
Wandering down to Trafalgar Square yesterday at 5pm, I'm not really sure what I expected to see.
Over in Brussels recently, I picked up a bottle of Tea Beer in one of the many beer shops.
So says a new report.
So - if you see a grossly overweight person at any of the summer green fairs - or indeed at ecologically progressive festivals such as Glastonbury - kick them out.
We know television lacks ideas, but the news that the BBC have remade the 1970s sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, is depressing.
Photographs from recent visits to Belgium and the North West have been added to the "On the Road" section of this blog, whilst a rare example of pro Abu Hamza flyposting can be found amongst the London pictures.....
I'm a stiff upper lip man when it comes to death. No fuss, nor do I have any desire to share the 'experience' or grieve with others.
Up in the north west over the weekend, one of the main stories was the fact that Cabinet Minister James Purnell puts his weekly grocery shopping through as part of his MP's expenses.
"I keep seeing in my mind the eyes of my son when he scored. It was incredible, fiery. I was in tears, I could not believe the moment we were living. It was as if he was saying 'see where we have got to, see where we have come Papa".
Working away recently, I had the dubious honour of being woken up by a knock on the door for a previous tenant. I knew who and what she was as soon as the woman on the other side of the chain issued these immortal words:
"Its not as if I'm a bailiff or anything"
The staff may change, the debtors may change - the tired old lines don't.
What is the point of Lily Allen?
Listening to The Fear recently, the full corporate horror of it all struck me. When she choruses "I don't know how I'm meant to feel anymore" - Lily we are all as confused by your success as you are!
Lily's objectives are on the whole as vacuous as she is - fame, diamonds and money. The recession seems to have passed her by, but then again recessions always pass people like Lily Allen by. It is hard not to laugh however at one of the tracks conclusions - the importance of 'getting thinner'.
Have you ever seen a young woman who is a more obviously destined to be a middle aged fatty than Lily Allen? There are not many certainties in life, but one is that in 15 years time a punk band called 'Lily Allen's Fat Arse' will be doing the rounds, hopefully whilst the talentless Ms Allen is choking on her diamonds somewhere.............
It is overdue that I should review issue 17 of Aufheben, which was published last October.
To put my cards on the table, I have always regarded Aufheben as a waste of space. Whitechapel Anarchist Martin Wright coined the excellent term 'pointy-heads' to describe that section of the UK Anarchist/left Communist milieu (movement appears too strong a word to use here) that is for ever critiquing and analysing, but never really doing that much. And for all their analysis, the only people they ever seem to really influence is one another.
The UK can quite possibly claim to have the worst pointy-heads of all, in that ours do not even produce books! What is remarkable about these more intellectual types is how little they actually publish, certainly when compared to those Anarchists who have traditionally adopted the cause of direct action. Far more books, pamphlets and journals have been produced from the syndicalist or Class War end of the movement in the past 15 years than from the 'serious' left communist end in 20 or even 30 years.
I have been flicking through Aufheben's magazine on and off for nearly a decade, and for all its self assured verbiage, cannot recall anything that was both of interest and accessible. All the more remarkable then that two of the three articles in Aufheben 17 are actually readable. "Croissants and Roses" is a detailed examination of something that certainly exists today, but that 25 years ago was never mentioned - the British Muslim community. Aufheben place the rise of this community - or perhaps we should say its 'representatives' - to the backdrop of the transfer of multiculturalism from the political fringe to the mainstream, and - internationally - the rise of political Islam. Aufheben's definition of communalist politics is one that is particularly useful:
"Local community leaders are able to mobilise large numbers of voters for given politicians using their influence over networks of extended families. In return the local leaders receive access to priviliges or public funds which they can administer or distribute to their community".
I have not seen many simpler, or stronger descriptions of much of what now passes for politics in many inner-cities.
The second piece of interest is "Al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army: Sectarianism and Resistance in Iraq", which is a strong critique of Patrick Cockburn's book on Muqtada Al-Sadr. If like me you felt deeply uncomfortable at the sight of the Stop the War Coalition bringing over representatives of Al-Sadr to the UK to be portrayed as freedom fighters, you will find much here of interest.
Indeed the first two articles are so strong it is almost a relief to reach the third "Capitalism and Spectacle: The Retort Collective's Afflicted Powers" which is not only unreadable but utterly pointless. Such people should be made to write to one another, rather than inflicting written dirges on the general public.
So - what next? Will the real Aufheben please stand up?
Amongst the piles of leaflets and papers I returned home with following the Put People First demonstration in London last Saturday, was a flyer advertising the Anarchist Movement Conference 09.
You may have noticed that the colours of this blog have changed from the previous, rather garish purple.
Why? Well I have decided to adopt the sea green of the Levellers (or as close as I can get to it) plus a bit of a London theme. Let me know what you think.
I took this gem from the Daily Telegraph twitter site on the G20 protests:
Steve Mitchell, Telegraph.co.uk reader in the City, writes: "There are more police than workers or protesters, which I guess is a good thing. I do think the protests have been blown out of all proportion and hope all groups involved will get their points across peacefully without fair-weather anarchists causing trouble."
Who - or what - is a 'fair weather Anarchist'?
Good luck to everyone protesting against the G20 Summit in London over the next couple of days.
One of the problems demonstrators face is actually getting to do anything without journalists standing in the way. Whilst the police can be relied upon to bring London to a standstill on our behalf (who said they were useless?) the media really serve no useful purpose at all, other than getting under your feet.
Another element to consider is the undercover journalist, who infiltrates meetings or demonstrations in an attempt to gain a story they believe is only obtainable by subterfuge. One day Anarchists need to turn the tables on this - get a job with a newspaper and report on the extent to which employment law, professional ethics and drugs legislation are flouted on a daily basis by journalists - but this week we can have some fun by looking out for jobbing journos disguised as protestors.
My all time favourite in this field is the BBC's Emma Simpson. I first met the lovely Emma at an organising meeting for May Day 2000. Having a bit of a taste for fesity 5 foot 1 Scottish babes, I was even more delighted to see her in Parliament Square, just before the Guerilla Gardening began, and shortly before the statue of Winston Churchill gained his legendary green mohican. Sadly the casually dressed Emma was not interested in my weedy chat up lines - she instead wanted to grill me about the days events, and had a series of leading questions that would have put a trained interrogator in the Lubyanka to shame.
Realising her true motives, and with my heart broken, I could barely manage a smile when I told Emma a rather big porkie - that a series of sound systems would be entering Parliament Square at any minute. "From which direction?" she shouted so excitedly. In time honoured tradition, I made my excuses and left. Emma Simpson - you broke my heart!
Anarchists everywhere - look out for undercover journos today!