Monday, May 31, 2004

Ars longa, vita brevis (insurance man's panic)

In amongst all the war and stuff, you may have missed the tragedy of the Saatchi art collection being trashed (sic). It's weird, really, here I am a fan of Duchamp and Jarry, Joyce and Dali, etc and Modern Art, generally (although the original meaning of modern - contemporary - has gone now) - but I can't stand most post-modern art.

If I had been one of the guys named on Tracy Emin's tent "Everyone I Ever Slept With" I would definitely be asking to have my name taken off. But is that the point? Is she bragging? Getting her own back? What? And why so twee? "slept with!" Are we talking fucking here, or aren't we? I've slept with people I didn't have sex with, just as many of us must had sex without staying to sleep over. So is this brave art, or stupid euphemistic twaddle? [OK, did my research, it included teddy bears, grannies and unborn foetuses, so that's OK then]

I admit that is the first time I have let rude language out in my blog, but it's crucial sometimes. W.C. Fields gets quoted as not drinking water because "fish make love in it" - which completely loses the phrasing of the gag - what he originally said was apparently "I never drink water. Fish fuck in it!" Now that's funny...
And British TV doesn't bleep after 9pm, and The Guardian newspaper (the only one, I think) uses that word where appropriate) I think I have to go that way, too - even out here in hypersensitive cyberspace.

C'est la vie (14 Merdre 132 E.P. St Sphincter - profès)

I was on a countdown to Mr Wilson's latest book - with an apparent publishing date of June 1st - but just came across a reference to this not being available until 2005. I hope that's not because Uncle Bob is ill.

Just played through Murray Roman's "A Blind Man's Movie" - but it does sound dated, and doesn't grab me quite as much as "You Can't Beat People Up and Have Them Say I Love You" - but it comes from the days when rude words were bleeped, and is sort of pre-hippie, more like the jazz beats - who thought that being black was the essence of cool - Mailer's "White Negro". Part of the 60s shift was that white boys started scoring their own dope, and playing their own take on the music (so white boy blues got re-exported from the UK to the USA). Hey ho, so it's a period piece, but I was researching the Snow White bit - (see previous posting on 16th May).

Sunday, May 30, 2004

need to know basis

Anyone who has met me in person knows that I think the world is made up of greater and smaller conspiracies. I am deliberately picking that unfashionable term because I think it is accurate.

It isn't by chance that 'conspiracy theory' has become linked with the lunatic fringe. There can't be any better place to put it if you are part of the British Establishment (running the City, the Tory Party and the Security services). That way, any hint of insider trading, disinformation, masonic involvement in large contracts, 'jobs for the boys', etc can be dismissed as left-wing paranoia. Magic! They are just conspiracy theorists...

I am reading "Smear" at the moment, which is precisely about this subject in relation to Harold Wilson's Labour government of the 60s - and what a battle he had at the time with the old money and embedded power (and how he has been portrayed as a failure ever since).

Of course, I am fascinated by the lunatic fringe, too. I particularly enjoyed the crop circle nonsense -(try "Round in Circles" by Jim Schnabel for a good chuckle about that). This mostly comes from my interest in how people are capable of believing just about anything (even a Creator god) - and my real interest is whether we can usefully distinguish between these kinds of special interest groups and belief systems - or even say anything useful about 'reality'.

It's still the Dark Ages as far as I am concerned, with tiny pockets of people hanging onto the civilised possibilities of humans - I remember being naive enough to think religion was withering away (!) - when that was just the Church of England.

I still live in hope of an integrated humanity, somewhere out there in the future, with a real grasp of our position as crew of Spaceship Earth, this fragile jewel hanging in space (and equally, the fierce old mother Gaia, quite capable of eating her own young), and our place/role in these complex systems.

But I am getting old, so I know it is probably just the remnant of my youthful 'hippie' dream.

People are crazy.

But if you don't have a lot of time, and want a quick, rational overview try the pocket essentials "Conspiracy Theories" by Robin Ramsay. Short and thorough, and to the point. Or, for the most up-to-date picture, check out his website Lobster.

13 Merdre 132 E.P. Sainte Lunette - solitaire

A little break from work, now, and time to think.

I am currently brooding about Derren Brown's magic of the mind show - so much more interesting to me than David Blaine veering from card tricks to 'hard man' stunts. Derren's show has caused me to rummage back through my brain and books - looking again at NLP (Frogs Into Princes, etc) - mental magic (book tests, billet reading, etc) - Gellerism - etc.

I found sound samples online, of Joseph Dunninger doing radio mentalism back in the 40s. I decided to buy Ian Rowland's book on Cold Reading, as it is supposed to be state-of-the-art. I came across a bit of Chan Canasta in my video archives....

And if I am talking in jargon, you may have to do a little research of your own, because this is a public place, and a lot of people don't want to know how things are done (fair enough). Also this is almost totally theoretical for me, it's not an act I was planning to do - unless I lose this steady little job of course, and find myself back on the street.....

PS: if you wonder what all this calendar stuff is about read this

Friday, May 28, 2004

Amnesty International's 'birthday'

Apparently, Amnesty International was founded on May 28th, 1961.

good work, people - against this ever-rising tide.....

This can't be right! I'm only smart, not a genius....

A few weeks ago I did an online IQ test which I didn't have a lot of faith in - they are dubious enough at the best of times - as it only took a maximum of 13 minutes. I think I took about 10 (and I get credits for being old, too).

It says I am a genius. Normally IQ tests mark me out in the 135 range, but this one gave me 162. I don't believe a word of it (it's too simple a test) but of course I am telling you all about it! I decided to go and look at their breakdown (for a few dollars). Perhaps they just set it on the flattering side to make their bucks.

I am not bragging so much (heh), as asking other people (especially people who have been measured before) to go try, and tell me whether it is hard or not. Perhaps one or two of the questions were similar to things I have seen before, or something...

It's free (unless you want the detailed report) and it takes a maximum of 13 try it, and come back and use 'comments' to let me know....

And no, I didn't cheat on the fact it says I am a slow old thing....I probably shouldn't have gone back for a quick double check of my responses before posting it...

Welcome to the Pentaphiles

I just dropped in on the pentablog and came across a link to this blog, so in case you arrived from there I will give you this link to get back (will this throw the internet into an endless loop?)

The 'Nazi coca-cola' link was in my posting on the 26th May. Mark Thomas is a British equivalent to Michael Moore (kinda) but much funnier, and slimmer, and ruder. But then again, he started off as an alternative stand-up comic.

I don't know if the exhibition is still open to new contributions, but it is certainly already open in London....

This was the invitation
Check out this modern robot toy advert with swastikas(!)
And here is a bit more background about it all - from The Independent
Or check out this book, reviewed at The Edge

I did have a link to Mark Thomas's article in the New Statesman that woke me up to this, but since then the link has changed and takes you to a page which demands a subscription payment. So you'll have to put "coca cola nazi" in Google, scroll down a little to find the New Statesman, and then look at the cached version (if you don't want to pay that is). - and you can enjoy his conversation with the man from McDonald's, talking about corporate responsibility: "I found this conversation incredible. Coca-Cola was being criticised on ethical issues by McDonald's!"

Fighting all over the world

I caught most of a programme last night which sums up the best of what the BBC does. A calmly told story of 16 people around the planet, and what they were doing on 22nd March 2004.

The twist being that they were all involved with wars. Short term, long term, high profile and low profile - if you want details (and to see video clips, etc) go to the BBC's webpage here.

Watch it and weep.

I have managed to stay out of the frontline most of my life - but I fully understand why 'freedom fighters/terrorists' try to draw our attention to the plight of so many other people on the planet. I don't like their means, but I understand their motivations.

Here we all are, complaining about obesity, or traffic jams, or not being paid enough - unaware that we are top of the heap on this planet, living a life of (relative)luxury and (relative) security.

These people can't talk about 'early retirement' or 'unlocking wealth from their mortgage' or 'holidays' - they aren't worried that there is a shortfall in their pension plan. They are lucky to live one more day and get one more meal. I guess it was my realisation about, and identification with, that kind of life (far more common on this planet than middle-class office workers) which forced me to live as humbly as possible. I just felt really uncomfortable with any kind of privilege.

I know it doesn't help them much, to simply 'identify' with people living hand-to-mouth - but I have always felt like a landless serf; I lost (well, mislaid) my dad when I was 5 and my mum when I was 12; hated the religious education (indoctrination); hated the assumption of superiority (white, British); felt completely helpless when confronted by the weight of the opinions of the majority who surrounded me. Although I grew up in a home which my grandad had bought, by the time I was 19 I was homeless, and it has been rented rooms and borrowed sofas, tents and sleeping bags ever since.

It's hard to get a job without an address. It's hard to keep belongings when always on the move. And yet I have had it pretty easy. Look at me, 58 years old, fairly healthy (for my age), reasonably happy (all things considered), relatively secure (now that I work for society rather than myself), and with more happy memories than bad ones.

I shouldn't complain about anything, ever.

11 Merdre St Memnon - vidangeur (cess-pool cleaner)

I have a soft spot for Alfred Jarry - not only was he so far ahead of the game that it is silly (Ubu Roi was published in 1896!) - but he always sounded like a man after my own heart. This is from Barbara Wright's intro in the Gaberbocchus Press edition. "He was a brilliant and original boy, indepependent, curious, eager to live; obstinate, fierce, sarcastic, shy. In 1883 he entered the Lycee at Rennes where he learned with extraordinary ease but would take orders from no-one. He worked when he liked and not otherwise, he was a superb wrecker of classes when he felt inclined; he applied himself to sabotage with wit and intelligence."

I'd bettter go and start on that bottle of absinthe immediately....

Thursday, May 27, 2004

10 Merdre St Barbapoux - lover

OK, I'll change calendars again, soon. It's just the insanity that surrounds me that tends to push me back off into absurdist realms. Just as I find it hard to talk to people about money (if they think it's real), I am finding it very hard to talk to people about what is going on in Iraq.

Have you seen that Major General Geoffrey Miller! Makes General Jack D. Ripper look almost human. He doesn't need dogs to scare prisoners, surely. Even military dogs must run away with their tails between their legs, whimpering, if he gives them a 'look'. I mean, that's not just the school bully, that's surely a psychopath.

And no, I am not qualified to assess people, especially not just by their looks and their voice, and sure, it's just my opinion...but did you also see Donald Rumsfeld saying "I've stopped reading the papers - I'm a survivor" and doing that smug shit-eating grin, hoping the soldiers will see him as "well hard". What an asshole - no class at all. If it wasn't for the fact that they would jump on me, hack my computer, do a character assassination and bust me with no human rights I would hint that those are the kind of politicians that need assassinating. (Is that incitement to crime? I dunno). I never felt that way about anyone before, except perhaps Mrs Thatcher who messed this country up completely (and we still are suffering the consequences, even now).

I don't think ranting or radical politics is the right approach, but I have no game-plan for geting rid of such entrenched stupidity/arrogance/greed. I am just a humble peasant, mumbling under my breath as the Sheriff of Nottingham rides by.

Oh,and PS to the rant below

I am currently getting a daily Theosophical quote. No, I don't belong, yes my dad did for a bit when he was young, no I don't think they are right about everything, yes I am glad they brought Eastern religious insights to the West, no I don't think everything they believe is true, yes I know the Nazis used some of their ideas (but they used Darwin as well) - I could do this all night - anyway, today's quote seemed right, when I realise I may be seriously upsetting family and friends with my ranting:

There is more courage in facing the world with undisguised truth,
than in descending into a wild beast's den.

Farewell to Arms....

I went for a farewell drink with a library staff member who has given up on our neglected and underfunded service, and gone to get a proper job.

I enjoyed it, even if this was the second night this week, of drinking too much.

When home, I always sober up before going to sleep (my only good tip for not having hangovers). Unfortunately I ended up watching yet another programme about US torture. I can't be surprised at this particular stuff - appalled, yes. Soldiers have to learn to do horrific stuff.

I am a bit startled to hear soldier's attorney's using the "they were only following orders" defence - as over here in the UK we have always used that line as a sick comedy line about certain Germans during the second world war (sic) who tried to deny any human moral responsibility with that defence. Like, you shouldn't defy bad orders...

And I understand what kind of personal threat THEY were under if they didn't follow orders, of course. The British have been shooting or humiliating deserters and conscientious objecters for centuries. It isn't just Israeli Intelligence inventing torture methods - a lot of them were honed by the British while building an empire, and some were (closer to home) really polished up in Ireland (which I take a bit more personally). And the religious aspect can't be left out. Christians have famously tortured anyone who got in their way for centuries. As an atheist with witchy tendencies I would have been burned at the stake anywhere in the last few hundred years "to save my soul". Check out the Spanish Inquisition.

When the Cathars quietly pointed out that this 'God' seemed to be a minor, arrogant, bullying demiurge (a local planetary ruler) in this great unknown universe, (really just a demon or fallen angel) they found themselves in a Hell of eternal torment staffed by Christians....When they said this life was a fall of spirit into matter, and that this life was the low point, a purgatory, they found themselves condemned to live through the Christian's own image of hell STAGED by Christians. What is that description of hell (demons with hot pokers, etc)? Where did you end up in this life, if you didn't believe that was where you ended up after death? Right. A torture chamber. Magic, huh? You don't believe in our Hell? We'll show you....

You may wonder why I quote surrealists and 'pataphysicians, but it's because (to me) most of the debates are avoiding the obvious, denying any straight human thinking, so basically absurd and completely evasive. And they always have been. I didn't want that 'British Empire' training (Church and State joined), which is why I dropped out in The Sixties. I am not claiming to have done a lot of good since then, but (Hippocratic Oath) at least I tried to minimize the harm I did, while being (unavoidably) a white English-speaking male.

And although I am glad this stuff is coming to light, I am really shocked both at the prurient 'reality tv' aspect, and at the hypocrisy of the people who funded it all - in denying that they knew the kind of tactics being employed.

'Rules of war' always made me laugh (I come from the first sick joke generation) - surely if you can agree on rules you could agree on an alternative to fighting - once you are fighting there can't be any rules "Rules?In a knife fight? No rules!".

When I was growing up we were told the Germans and the Japanese ignored the Geneva Convention - sure, and the British aren't famous as possibly the best at dirty tricks....we won fair and square. Sure.

Sick to my stomach - and now sober - I am going to bed.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Fanta for Nazis

yay for Mark Thomas, who is putting on an exhibition of art with the theme of Coca Cola's connection to the Nazis.

Now on in London

9 Merdre - Vidange

I have been playing my old game of look for my friends in the library. It's the old-fashioned version of putting your name in Google.

When I first started working here I found one of my dad's books in The Stacks; I found my friend Mick on the last page of Coincidences, by Brian Inglis, and in the Encyclopedia of Social Inventions; then I found a picture of me performing in "The Masterpiece:Award-Winning Fishknife" with Bruce McLean and Michael Nyman (don't ask); I found Caroline Noh in the Local Studies dept - when she worked with Moving Being; I know I am in the New Statesman (Covent Garden Hat Fair article) but I have no idea what date; a couple of days ago I found John Trigger on a video.

Of course, show business is like that. If I looked for people I have known or worked with I would find dozens (Jim Henson, David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg etc et name-dropping cetera....) So I restrict this kind of stuff to my personal friends and other minor show biz folks....

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


I am using the 'Pataphysical calendar, just to confuse the issue. (The world seems to have gone mad).

Went drinking last night with Jules - ended up in a subCULTure of which I was unaware here in Cardiff. Short film makers. Now I know the Star Wars fans do 'fan films', and I was only recently filmed for a low budget vampire movie called "Dornröschen" being made by some German friends, but I didn't realise it was thriving so close to home.

Always surprised afresh by humans.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Late British comedian Spike Milligan, the creator of landmark radio series The Goon Show, has finally been given his choice of inscription on his gravestone -
"I told you I was ill".
Two years after Milligans's death at the age of 83, the epitaph has been added to a Celtic cross above his grave at St Thomas's Church in Winchelsea, southeast England, it was announced on Monday.

The headstone carries the sentence in Gaelic - Milligan's family originated in Ireland - which the comedian had always joked was his chosen final message to the world.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Music of the spheres (and listening to Keili)

I was ducking out of a party tonight, and downloading some bits of music from Keili's site. (look under Audio)
I am really enjoying Settingrine (got it on a loop).

Go listen.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Elephants limp free at last

I have been involved with non-animal circuses, and I am a lifelong vegetarian, so I have never really enjoyed zoos or animal circuses ever since I became conscious of other beings....although, when I was young,it was fascinating to be taken backstage at the London Zoo, and handle snakes and baby alligators and stuff.

I just always felt real empathy for fellow mammals. It's the eyes. I wasn't brought up to think humans were a 'special creation'. We're mammals.

So it was excellent to hear from Crissie that a couple of middle-age elephants are going to walk free. Detroit Zoo is letting 45-year-old Wanda and 51-year-old Winky go to a more spacious sanctuary, with other elephants for company. It's like hearing Nelson Mandela was getting out. No-one could ever apologise enough - the thing was to go forward, and use what time is left. Mr Mandela's ability to forgive was what was so impressive.

I hope the elephants can forgive us, even if they can't forget...

And it reminds me that the very first show that made me want to be a performer was Le Grand Magic Circus (no animals), who had on their poster the subtitle "et ses animaux tristes" - or, in English, "with it's sad-eyed animals" - who were the human performers, of course.

mammals, all... "I miss my mammary!"....."Thanks for the mammaries..."


Ray Davis was on the box the other night, he's making a solo album. A fellow Muswell Hillbilly, I have always had a certain affection for the band that didn't break into America. Hard enough for the Beatles (more famous than Jesus) or The Stones (attitude), but to get banned just because your name sounded 'kinky' (sigh)

Anyway, he kept that English music-hall feel, and I loved it. Of course, I realise how old I am, and how overlooked they are when they played Waterloo Sunset and Julie (quite a lot younger) said that she always thought that was a Beatle song...

The one real flash for me was Celluloid Heroes - I forgot what an utterly brilliant song it was, and how I sang it (off and on) through the 70s when I was trying to get into show biz.

Everybody's a dreamer and everybody's a star,
And everybody's in movies, it doesn't matter who you are.
There are stars in every city,
In every house and on every street,
And if you walk down Hollywood Boulevard
Their names are written in concrete!

Lots of wonderful rueful gags about stars being walked all over by tourists...ending in:
I wish my life was a non-stop Hollywood movie show,
A fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes,
Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain
And celluloid heroes never really die.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Now I remember why I don't want a mobile phone...

Crissie sent me a photo in that old-school Auguste clown outfit I was given as my role in The Raree Show back in 1973 - a costume which alternated with Gloria, the friendly Gorilla, (and that character costume, with 4 inches of padding ALL OVER was a great persona/outfit for learning acrobatics and pratfalls). In the photo we are grabbing a sandwich and a beer after a show, and she is 'taking a call' on my mobile phone. It was an old-style phone (we are talking 30 years ago) and it was pinned into the 'magician' back pocket of my tail-coats.

It was a gag about being interrupted when you are concentrating...I've enjoyed the same gag in Father Ted, when the people he rings are skiing, or driving fast, or whatever, and totally, disastrously, distracted from what they were doing when the phone goes...

At 'wrong' moments in my street show my mobile would ring, and give me the chance to take a call from anyone on the planet; or even turn to the crowd and ask "If there is a John here?" - Yeh? - It's for you....and then stand, phone coming out of jacket on short wire, while some poor guy would try to improvise a phone conversation. Hey. some of them were great - and it gave me breathing space, too. It's hard work doing a solo street show, especially on your own.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Walking unwillingly into work on a bright blue day

It reminded me of the joys of self-employment (I would have given myself the day off).

It also reminded me of the story about George Santayana (adjusted for May, and no inheritance!)

The philosopher had received a sizable legacy and decided to retire from the faculty. The room was packed for his final appearance and the lecture went very well. During his concluding remarks, he glanced through the window at a forsythia that was beginning to blossom in a patch of muddy snow. He stopped abruptly, picked up his hat, gloves and walking stick, and made for the door. Then he turned and softly said,

"Gentlemen, I shall not be able to finish that sentence. I have just discovered that I have an appointment with April."

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Ah, sorry, yes - Old hippies only will remember this

I mentioned Murray Roman, without thinking how obscure that reference might be. He was a comic in the 60's. We were easily pleased - a comedy record with great music riffs, stereo sound effects, subversive jokes - it seemed great to me at the time.

More like Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In than Lenny Bruce, and yes, I guess a touch of George Carlin. I tracked down a worn old vinyl album of "You Can't Beat People Up and Have Them Say I Love You", but I can't fully get the stereo sound out yet - it was made to play on Mono or Stereo record needles (!)

Anyway - I thought it was funny, even the 60's bits that sound sexist today...non-PC though they are. Here's a reference if you care, and here's a little quote from that site:

Murray Roman's masterpiece of sick comedy was to title an album "Blind Man's Movie" and issue it with a completely black front and back cover, and a black gatefold.
His albums are more hip than dark, as he tried unsuccessfully to be the Lenny Bruce of the late 60's. But the late Mr. Roman often had a dark, telling line or two. From his first switched-on comedy album (he liked to collage rock music between the bits) there's this little gem: "Hey, why doncha call the police department at three o'clock in the morning and speak to them in German. If they answer in German, you got 'em, babe..."
It was Roman, by the way, not Carlin, who first thought up the idea of a drugged out version of Snow White: "Get high one day and read it. Sleepy would be a downer freak, into Seconals, droppin' up all day. Dopey would be a grass smoker...Sneezy was a coke sniffer. Grumpy was a speed freak. Happy was an acid head: "I love you, I love you." Bashful was a juicer. And Doc was the connection. Dig where that is. And Snow White...was their fantasy!"

Oil prices up? No surprise there, then

Steve Grad and his buddies were shocked at the price of petrol (gasoline) here in the UK. Of course, they got a bad exchange rate (weak dollar against the pound) - but we are not subsidised in the same way that the Americans have always been. I am not saying we pay the 'real cost' of course (the real cost to the planet is something much bigger).

The papers are full of how, if the war in Iraq was about oil resources, then it has backfired, with the prices soaring.

I think that's crazy. What makes you think George Bush and Bin Laden and the other oil billionaires are fighting to reduce prices at the pumps, for the ordinary consumer?

The price of oil going up might well be exactly the desired outcome, if you are invested in oil.

Or am I missing something? Perhaps they want to save the planet by reducing our dependency on cars and planes?

Remembered this quote, and tracked it down....

"It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting."
– Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity
If more Christians were like this, I would have a lot more respect for organised religion.

Applying Jesus’ Economics
Habitat’s economic philosophy is based upon what Fuller calls the “economics of Jesus.” The no-profit, no-interest components of the program come from a passage in the Bible (Exodus 22:25) that says those lending money to the poor should not act as a creditor and charge interest.

Friday, May 14, 2004

PS to Bob's thang (or is that thong?) - see previous post, below

I guess I am just similarly ambiguous about women and relationships, and moving towards 60 myself...

Run this by me again. Victoria's Secret is pornographic? It's a lingerie catalogue for f sake. That used to be jerk-off material back in the 50s when there was nothing else, but nowadays I see sexier women advertised as accessories to a car (by implication).

Sorry? It's the guys who are sad is it? Not the women who want "a man of wealth and taste"? Not the women who wax and paint and dress and act and simper and fake orgasms to get what they want? See, I can do boring old pig-bloke, no problem.

Personally, I think women mostly dress up for other women, but I could be wrong. After all, blokeish 'blokes' don't even notice a new hairstyle or new shoes. It sometimes seems to me that most women want a 'real man' except when they are grooming, in which case they are more 'fag-hag' and just wish guys cared about clothes and hair and perfume, and cleaning house, and relating, etc. Male models have designer stubble (a bit of rough), husbands have to be clean-shaven.

I am just writing to annoy, of course (which doesn't mean I don't think this stuff). It triggered a memory of "You Can't Beat People Up and Have Them Say I Love You" by Murray Roman [a 60s comedy album). He had a bit about the difference between the magazines men look at, and the magazines women look at. To paraphrase him "All the women we dig have tits!" You look at Vogue, or something, with (as it was then) Twiggy, and you can see "that it's a dyke thing", no tits. Weird.

A woman gardener in the UK doesn't wear a bra, and all the women viewers are up in arms - didn't we sort this out 30-40 years ago? (and at least their men folk now join them in watching the gardening programme!) Then I tune into "Sex and The City" and topless jiggling and nipple outline is apparently OK in these particular role models.

I'll never claim to understand.

Bob gets people's knickers in a twist

I came across a thing yesterday, that Bob was not just selling one of his tunes to advertising, but actually appearing in a Victoria's Secret ad!

Well weird, but quite funny. Why people are shocked, I don't know. Perhaps because they still describe him as Bob Dylan the protest singer (!) which is only a 40 year out of date description...and they forget he has a sense of humour, or might just fancy hanging out in Venice with a load of models (could do worse).

This is it. And here's a slightly saner comment on the uproar...emphasising that there are more important things to be getting upset for the real hysterics, hinting that it is a paedophile ad - ah come on people, not all paedophiles are over-60, and those models are certainly not under 16 (Adriana Lima is 23) so what ARE you on about? Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones together in a movie? (even bigger age gap than Michael Douglas the husband...) These are grown-ups for goodness sake...and Bob ain't claiming to be wiser (that was the arrogant speed freak adolescent) - he seems to be having fun. Is that so bad?

And it could be as simple as this:

"Behind it all, this is a very funny joke, and those who would criticize Dylan for what he's done should lighten up. At a December 3, 1965 press conference in San Francisco, Dylan was asked: "If you were going to sell out to a commercial interest, which one would you choose?" After a brief pause, the 24-year-old Dylan replied, "Ladies garments." It was funny then, and it's even funnier now, nearly 40 years later, in light of the Victoria's Secret commercial. Dylan is an immortal artist of Shakespearean stature who has always walked to his own drummer, and anyone who expects him to nurse a guilty conscience over something so inconsequential and amusing will be disappointed."
Brantley Brock

And here's the track list of the CD you can buy at VS shops....

And advertising is getting people talking. it worked, didn't it? I hope Bill Hicks would allow Bob to be an honorary Willie Nelson.....for the gag...or is that for the gaga?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Masters of Wisdom

I have been getting a Theosophy quote of the day email for a bit. I liked this, today:

Like signal-fires of the olden times, which, lighted and
extinguished by turns upon one hill-top after another, conveyed
intelligence along a whole stretch of country, so we see a long line
of "wise" men from the beginning of history down to our own times
communicating the word of wisdom to their direct successors.

- Isis Unveiled, II, 571 HPB

I realise that there is a certain chauvinism in this, but the same thing could be said about women's 'mysteries' being passed down the generations, too. It's just the major religions which seem to have become dominated by men. Is that typical? Not the skills of midwifery and cooking and interpersonal skills, etc. No, men are out there doing useful stuff like speculating about whether the universe is finite or infinite, and whether there is a creator or not. The important things in life. fnord

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

All good stuff

Great connections...Jay signed into the Guest Book (for lack of a published email address); Crissie sent me a couple of pictures of Raree Show days (I'll stick them up when I get a chance), which took me back to 1973; Keili added a comment, so I know he is alive and kicking out there, working on his album and on his website, etc.

Julie finished her old job today, is taking a bit of leave, and then will start her new job - more flexible hours, standby mode (sleeping) a lot of the time...

Monday, May 10, 2004

Brand new Blogger

I am at work today, so I will not be able to play with this - but Blogger seems to have launched a brand new version, and my templates and all that stuff may soon change.

There is a comments option, and all sorts of new stuff like that.

Friday, May 07, 2004

More about the blog's title

Here's an online encyclopedia on memes - language as a virus, etc

Well, well, well...

Anyone who knows me knows that I spend a lot of time thinking - hacking the biocomputer - and also thinking about thinking, learning how to learn, etc. What else is there to do? They can take away my stuff, or I can abandon it, or lose it, but even in solitary you have your biocomputer. That's probably why they torture people, I guess. If you are not torturing people to extract specific information, then you are doing it (maybe) just for kicks, or to demoralise the person (stop them thinking clearly).

There's not a lot you can do about being captured by sadists, of course, but I am startled at the response to (possibly fake) photos of soldiers tormenting prisoners. I know about the so-called 'discipline' of armies, but since when did you send a lot of testosterone filled young men into an adrenaline situation which they might not survive, and not expect them to do a bit of 'raping and pillaging'. I don't approve, of course, but I am hardly surprised.

[update 14th] Here's someone putting that point better.... "To attribute the scandal at Abu Ghraib to "a few bad apples" or to "individual failures" is poor psychology and self-serving pseudomorality. "


Anyway - I riffled through a book called software for the brain, and I liked this quote:

I believe you can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want." Zig Ziglar (whoever, or whatever that is - sounds like someone from H2G2).

Star Wars pilgrimage

It was great to talk to Steve Grad and the guys last night - they've travelled a long way to meet up with us all, and I am still very honoured that people should go out of their way to come and meet me.

Thanks guys - it was a great evening - hope to meet you again sometime.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Dylan was very funny last night

As Julie doesn't like Bob Dylan, I bought her tickets to Dylan Moran instead...(I'll go see Bob with someone who appreciates him).

He was excellent, very funny. Touches of Bill Hicks (onstage drinking and smoking in front of an audience who can't, general misanthropy), and (the rambling approach) Eddie Izzard...but I don't really like comparisons.

He is hilarious in Black Books, anyway, and a lot of the crowd had come because of that television show...but we had both seen him do ten minutes of stand-up on tv, a whole evening was a real treat. Only problem, I drank too much wine (in honour of the occasion) so it's a little hard this morning.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Coen Brothers' dialogue

'I'm not Mr Lebowski, you're Mr. Lebowski. I'm The Dude. So that's what you call me. That, or His Dudeness, or Duder, or, you know, El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.'

Oz Tentacles -

A bit of random browsing led me to notice that "Oz: a rock and roll road movie" is finally being issued on DVD.

This was the movie made by friends of mine in London (the people who let me live in the shed at the bottom of their garden) which I thought was very funny indeed, but it got a bit overshadowed by the release of The Wiz (!)

In this version the Cowardly Lion is a timid Hell's Angel, the Scarecrow is a spaced-out surfer, the Tin Man is a greasy mechanic, the Wizard is a Bowie-like rock star, the Wicked Witch of the North is a sinister truck/truck driver......I leave the rest to your imagination....

I even tracked down a copy in an OZ video store a while ago, but couldn't talk them into selling it to me. So FINALLY I can get to see it again. It's a pre-order for May 19th


Big hello to Chris Lofven and Lyne Helms!
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