Established 2003. Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Monday, June 29, 2009

Boris on Jacko

Michael Jackson: It would be wrong to sneer at this outpouring of public grief - Telegraph: "[...] Never was someone so obviously and so literally unhappy in his own skin, and by his obsessional suffering he earned the potential sympathy of everyone who feels doubtful about their appearance, which is a fair chunk of the human race. [...] And by his musical triumphs, he proved the essential point, that you can look weird, feel weird, be weird – and still be a genius. In one sense Michael Jackson was beaten by the star system, in that it made demands about how he should look and behave which he felt he could never satisfy. In another sense he beat the system. He beat it by writing Beat It." (Boris Johnson)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Virgin Mobile insurance con

"3 months free phone insurance. Cover your Virgin Mobile Pay Monthly phone, and the first 3 months are on us. After that, its just £5.99 a month."

£5.99 per month to insure your phone? What a rip-off, a tax on the busy parents of impressionable youngsters who demand mobile phones, not anticipating that this financial trap is being laid for them when they click through online. All "first 3 months free" schemes should be banned.


BBC - Glastonbury - 2009

BBC - Glastonbury - 2009

Lots of videos, including Neil Young and extended highlights from Bruce Springsteen's brilliant headline set

Friday, June 26, 2009

Richard Littlejohn's racist rants etc.

Happened to be in the barbers today and nothing else to read but the Daily Mail rag. To be fair, this housepaper-in-waiting for the genocidal BNP dictatorship had one good double page memoir about sexual mores in France, which was worth reading - an eye opener as they say. However it also contained a pageful of brutal and racist rants by a big Jeremy Clarkson-like buffoon called Richard Littlejohn. Like Clarkson this blatherer Littlejohn has made a living out of being an arse in the media for years.

He criticizes the police in a strange backhanded way, for example he complains that a guy was Tasered three times while spreadeagled on the ground while also describing him as "a piece of lard who probably deserved a good kicking". He gets some things sort of half right, probably by accident, including pointing out the stupidity of Tasering a sheep that was blocking a road. He then goes on in another strange backhanded sort of way about police swimming lessons being cancelled in Wales because it would put Muslim women off joining.

What I really didn't like was how he then went on via a tenuous link to say (and I quote) that "the Warwickshire police are holding a pikey's picnic this weekend, inviting all members of 'the travelling community' to a day of festivities at the force's Leek Wootton headquarters. The manicured lawns of the country house HQ will play host to a traditional Roma band, story-telling and even 'a graffiti project'. I hope they remember to lock up their lawn-mowers." [My emphasis]

It's not just the word "pikey" - which is offensive enough, I think, but that remark about locking up their lawn-mowers. I don't think you need me to draw the historical parallels of vilification that little jibe evokes. Have people like him learned nothing from history? As long as this country thinks he and people like him are, in the American term, "good old boys" we are headed for the horrors.

Remember today, remember everything you see around you: the communities, the arts, the hospitals and hospices, the schools and special schools, the languages you hear everywhere, the public transport passes for pensioners, welfare for people in hardship, benefits, pensions, freedom, rights. All these things will be violently and wilfully destroyed and disappear forever if people like him have their way, if they ever gain power. All that will be left is a feudal system of mansions, with unrepaired roads between them and surrounded by hovels, the Brazil of Europe, a banana republic with no bananas and no republic, run on the divine right of inherited privilege.

We can start the fight by binning the Daily Mail. Let's also oppose the Tories 10% cuts proposals and their alliance with the far right parties of Europe. New Labour sucks, and Gordon's expenses fiasco (yes, let him own it all) sucks majorly but look around, there is regeneration everywhere: new sports centre, rebuilt secondary school, rebuilt community hospital all within five minutes walk of where I live. When you go to a hospital appointment, you don't have to wait as long to be seen. There are new tests that are pro-actively promulgated for preventive medicine. There is a minimum wage. These are just some of the things one could list.

Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, let's purge lazy and concupiscent MP's but let us not install Lord Snooty and his friends to try to turn the clock back. Don't let them dismantle and sell off the investment that has been made. At the very worst, a Lib-Lab pact can survive. It is by no means over till it's over. Cameron is "measuring the curtains for 10 Downing Street" and therein lies his party's Achilles' heel: they think they have it in the bag, they have seen the winning post too soon.


Talking dog

This is good. (Montel Williams show)

Let's do this

Auto-ban: German town goes car-free - Europe, World - The Independent: "Vauban hopes to forge a model community without that great staple of modern life – the car. Now the sound of birdsong has replaced the roar of traffic and children can play in the street"

He made some good records

Michael Jackson - One Day in your life

Michael Jackson - Earth Song

The symbolism in the Earth Song video is messianic. Jackson redeems the world at the end by stamping his foot. The stamping of his foot as the world is regenerated is a primitive dance element and also (perhaps appropriately) how a petulant child demands something.

I don't know if he was guilty as charged although acquitted but that child abuse trial must have destroyed him. There was a chance of suicide at that time, I thought. Some good things are made by people who are not all good. Just one opinion.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pointless violence

Battle of Barbaji: A fight for hearts and minds in Afghanistan, but none are to be found | UK news | The Guardian

"[...] The wide street, lined on each side with garage-like concrete alcoves that serve for shops, was strewn with rubbish and, the Jocks discovered, eight separate IEDs. The only people in the shops were youthful members of A Company, who spent their time frying up some of the potatoes the traders left behind. ... His company finally found two local people to engage with on the fourth day [...] The first was a teenage boy caught foraging for stale bread in an empty compound [...] The second was a grey-bearded old man the British found sitting under a tree, outside a tiny mud-brick home the size of two telephone boxes – the only inhabitant of an otherwise entirely deserted village to have stayed behind. Only his bad legs, and the trouble he has walking, had prevented him joining the exodus. ... No fewer than three British officers set about trying to extract information and to deliver their key messages. [...] The old man wasn't having any of it: "Last year a big British bomb in Nowzad killed 600 people," he said. "Another 170 were killed at a wedding party."

Meanwhile, John Bercow and the government are fiddling while Afghanistan burns.


Update 26/6/2009: Obama must call off this folly before Afghanistan becomes his Vietnam: Senseless slaughter and anti-western hysteria are all America and Britain's billions have paid for in a counterproductive war (Simon Jenkins)

Wednesday night

Looking north towards a red horizon directly over Gladstone Park

Lavender beds

Around Willesden sports centre

Neda Soltan family 'forced out of home' by Iranian authorities

World news | "Parents of young woman shot dead near protests are banned from mourning and funeral is cancelled, neighbours say"

The world doesn't need the Willesden Herald to blog about this and Iran is not a so-called ally like Israel, so there is not as much imperative to disown its atrocities, which are like the atrocities of many tyrannies around the world. I don't feel I have to keep saying "Not in my name" for every shameful lower-than-rats activity of every crawling politician in power around the world - or else I'd spend my whole life going around like a town crier, bewailing the state of the world. However, that doesn't mean I can't say anything ever, either.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Setanta can battle the (air)waves no more

Setanta Sport goes into administration this afternoon after the collapse of the business in Britain (Belfast Telegraph)

It is doubtful you will find this combination of picture and newspaper very often.

Roll away the stone

PG newsletter, June 2009

"Changes for the next Willesden short story competition: a small entry fee will be introduced to cover running costs. Any extra will be donated to a charity and the accounts published online. As you know, this is not the first time we have donated to a charity. Last year we donated $10,000 to Comic Relief (I think most of you have read about that exciting time in literary history). If we can't make money, the least we can do is give it away." (More)

New Judge

Following on from Zadie Smith and Rana Dasgupta, the esteemed Richard Peabody has kindly agreed to choose the winning entry for the 2009-2010 competition.

Richard Peabody is an author and poet based in Washington, D.C. A native of the region, he is perhaps best known as one of the founding editors for Gargoyle Magazine and editor for the anthology series Mondo. He also runs a small press called Paycock Press; aside from acting as the official publisher of Gargoyle Magazine, Paycock Press has released a number of anthologies and works by individual authors.

"Peabody's own fiction and poetry is often set in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding region and is often noted for strong influences from the Beat Generation and experimental authors of the 1960s like Ken Kesey. During his writing and publishing career, Peabody has taught fiction writing for the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia, Johns Hopkins University, and the Writer's Center. He currently resides in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and two daughters." (Ref: Wikipedia)

You can read an interview from 2003 with Richard at Write This.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dry cleaning two hour

Who needs the yellow pages when you have the Willesden Herald?

Unlucky fledgling


I saw this young pigeon (a bit more than a squab) in trouble about an hour and a bit ago. No point in me phoning the RSPCA or trying to pick it up and take it home - I've been through this before. You just get a recorded message telling you to leave it where it is and the other birds will take care of it. I think, however, it is more likely that the urban foxes will take care of it. I know from bitter experience that there's nothing I can do for it, but if any of you think you can help it, it's at the bottom of one of the trees opposite Hassops car dealers. It's not in a place where many people will see it, as there is a wide swathe of pavement there and few go near the spot where it's lying.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hedgehog in the fog

hedgehog in the fog (yozhik v tumane - ёжик в тумане)

"Classic Russian animated short film from 1975. Based on a story by Sergei Kozlov, directed by Yuri Norstein. In 2003 'Hedgehog in the Fog' won the '№1 Animated film of all the time' at 'All time animation best 150 in Japan and Worldwide' contest in Tokyo, Japan."

What the symbolism of the bear cub and the hedgehog means is something to ponder but it's a beautiful film.

Booted thugs stand on woman's feet

Kingsnorth video shows surveillance protesters bundled to ground by police | Environment | "Women arrested for challenging officer with no badge number"

They asked for an officer's number, which they are entitled to do and which the officer should have been displaying but was not, and for their trouble they got their necks held and pressure-pointed, pinned face down on the ground, handcuffed and ankles taped together. At one point one of the police gang is seen standing on a woman's feet, and she asks him to stop while this so-called "officer" (I could think of a better word) denies it. I repeat, surely a revolution is at hand?


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Y'know what Gordon - go ahead

Gordon Brown: I could walk away from this tomorrow: Prime minister is 'hurt' by attacks (Guardian)

The man takes everything personally. He is incapable of recognising his utter inadequacy for the role he has usurped. The last thing he should ever think about is how sorry he is for himself; instead it is always the first and last thing he thinks about, and the only thing that guides his decision making process. As a result he gets every decision wrong. He is purblind to the concerns of most people.

This is the man who gave pensioners a 50p raise, who abolished the 10p tax rate (and would have done so without compensation - still hasn't restored it), who in just the last week announced an inquiry into the Iraq war to be held in private (unbelievably), and who is the origin of the whole expenses scandal by refusing to accept the independently adjudicated pay award for MP's four years ago.

Like all natural misers, he is wildly profligate at others' expense, showing no concern whatsoever for your costs. This is a condemnation of his record. His personality is his own and would not be of any consequence, were it not causing him to drive the good ship U.K. (or the creaking old rustbucket, if you prefer) full steam ahead onto the rocks. As for that pathetic mutiny attempt: apart from Purnell, the whole crew has been exposed as feeble and more interested in expediency than in the fate of the country. It's been obvious from the time of the election for deputy prime minister, when ten of them queued up for a sinecure and mansion, that they are a bunch of political minnows with few principles.

I don't like myself for having a go at the Prime Minister. I'm sure that as a human being he is a fine chap. I'm not even going to say anything about the other people who were nice to their families now. He's ok, no doubt. Just not as PM - anything else, yes probably.


United Kleptocracy of Britain & N.I.

MPs' expenses: MPs made inflated council tax claims - Telegraph

They're taxing us but claiming back the tax on expenses when it hits them. Those expenses to pay their personal taxes are also taken from your income-taxed money. Surely a revolution is at hand? We need a general election NOW - the fabric of UK democracy is being damaged by running on these flat tyres.


BBC iPlayer: Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Life

BBC iPlayer - Omnibus: Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Life: "Portrait of Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen, originally recorded in 1973. Featuring interviews, archive film and live performances from London, Paris, Athens and New York. Broadcast on:BBC Four, 10:00pm Friday 19th June 2009 Duration: 70 minutes Available until: 11:09pm Friday 26th June 2009 Categories:Factual, Arts, Culture & the Media"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Willesden skyline

Bee happy


The great MPs' expenses cover-up

"Despite a pledge from Gordon Brown that “transparency” was the only way to restore public faith in democracy, the files released by the Commons authorities withheld details that would have exposed the worst abuses of the expenses system." (Telegraph)

We've been had.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

London calling

diamond geezer: "Yesterday's Digital Britain report hid a nasty surprise. Radio's changing, forever. Prepare to throw your old sets away."

What - have to retire the cat's whiskers and not be able to tune in 2LO on the wireless!? I hate the idea of all that hardware becoming obsolete. My beautiful Pioneer stereo equipment, which admittedly has to be slapped to stay on station, my umpteen cd players with different parts broken, the little blue transistor radio in the bathroom - this is ... oh, who cares? But people shouldn't be left high and dry. There should be a minimum number of stations kept going, the basics - especially for national and local emergencies.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Opera singing contest final

BBC iPlayer - BBC Cardiff Singer of the World: 2009: Highlights: Final For a limited time. UK only

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World reaches its dramatic climax as the five best singers from the week take to the stage in front of a packed house at St. David's Hall.
Huw Edwards and Aled Jones present full coverage of the final with profiles of the competitors and all the backstage tension.
Expert comments and analysis are provided by Susan Graham, one of the world's leading opera and recital artists, and leading vocal expert Mary King.
The competition, widely regarded as the most important in opera, can be the springboard to stardom. Who will carry off the title in 2009 and follow a distinguished line of winners? The waiting is nearly over!"

A box of delights. They are all worthy winners. One of the judges said something interesting: "It's not about what the voice is, it's about who has the voice." (That might not be verbatim - it's from memory.) In the end, I think the final decision was right.

Monday, June 15, 2009

6,000 years ago, down the M4

Huge Pre-Stonehenge Complex Found via "Crop Circles": "Given away by strange, crop circle-like formations seen from the air, a huge prehistoric ceremonial complex discovered in southern England has taken archaeologists by surprise.
A thousand years older than nearby Stonehenge, the site includes the remains of wooden temples and two massive, 6,000-year-old tombs that are among 'Britain's first architecture,' according to archaeologist Helen Wickstead, leader of the Damerham Archaeology Project."

After the thunderstorm


You should have seen the kid cycling in and out of this flood on a little bike, on his own, only the world does not look kindly on old geezers who take pictures of kids in the park. But, more important, let's leave them (and everyone) to live their lives in peace.

Ghost plane


It looks like a giant, very low plane through the clouds but there was none.

Friday, June 12, 2009

More signage

  In case you don't know how to go for a walk in the park, these eyesores have just appeared inside all the entrances to every local park. There will come a day when you will not be able to see any part of the parks in Brent, they will be completely obscured by officious signs. Coming soon: "Walking is good for your health. This walk is 10% of your daily quota." "Don't forget to breathe." "If you see anything suspicious don't forget to do whatever it is you do when you see something suspicious." "Take your litter with you." "South: this way." "Seen a defective sign?: Phone the signs hotline." "Walking with longer steps saves the environment." "Don't feed the squirrels." "Mind your step - signs about." Red

Good obit for a sound man

David Marcus | Obituary | Books | The Guardian: "Literary editor who championed Irish prose"

Yours truly had the honour of being rejected more than once by the man but with encouraging notes.


BBC iPlayer - Leonard Cohen Live in London

A recording of a concert from Leonard Cohen's 2008-2009 world tour. For a limited time. UK only

"For over four decades, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, a figure whose body of work achieves greater depths of mystery and meaning as time goes on. In 2008, Leonard Cohen embarked on his first tour in 15 years. His set included Hallelujah, Suzanne, Bird on the Wire, I'm Your Man, The Future, Democracy, Dance Me to the End of Love and First We Take Manhattan, and was quickly recognised as musical folklore in the making, leaving fans and critics alike hailing the show as a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

I've been listening to the double album, it's a superb concert with humorous banter, music (including the brilliant blowing of Dino Soldo and the whole band) and singing and, of course, poetry. Unfortunately the BBC iPlayer recording only includes 60 minutes out of a concert that was about 140 minutes (rough calculation from the iTunes tracks). Of course they choose such things as Bird on the Wire, where many afficionados would probably choose a completely different 60 minutes. They should have put the whole concert up in two parts - I don't think it would do anything other than increase the record sales.

Just playing it back now while typing, and they have destroyed the concert - emasculated it! Can you seriously imagine the leaden editing process that cuts out most of the banter and skips "Ain't No Cure for Love", takes the lugubrious "Bird on the Wire" and skips all the following: "Everybody Knows", "In My Secret Life", "Who By Fire", "Hey that's no way to say goodbye", "Anthem" (my favourite), "Introduction", "Tower of Song" and skips to the overplayed "Suzanne", then skips "The Gypsy's Wife" and "Boogie Street" and jumps to the overplayed "Hallelujah" etc. A complete travesty of the concert and also a little dishonest because nowhere does it mention that this is less than half of the actual concert, it just says "A recording of a concert".

That said, it's still worth seeing for the stage antics that you can't get from the concert recording alone. "White man dancing" is one such moment. Finding out what the reference to Dino Soldo "on the instrument of wind" means is another (it's some sort of an instrument that LC suggest, probably jokingly, he doesn't know its exact name). I'm updating while playing, just on "I'm your man" now. Apologies if my updates cross with comments.

[Ach, it's great, just watching it again, without writing this rubbish. I'm glad Rainbow Spike likes it. Something better watching things when knowing somebody else is or has been watching. Thanks.]


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Worth the licence fee

BBC iPlayer - BBC Cardiff Singer of the World: 2009: Round 1: "Petroc Trelawny is the host as 25 of the best young opera singers from around the world converge on the Welsh capital to compete for the coveted prize of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009. Alongside Petroc is vocal coach Mary King to guide us through the highs and lows of the night, while backstage Josie D'Arby meets the singers and catches up with the gossip. In the opening round, competitors come from Canada, Latvia, Argentina, Bulgaria and Japan"

Monday, June 08, 2009

The pink premier

Cash foiled the coup against Gordon Brown – and killed Labour's last hope - Telegraph: "The past few days have reminded me of the climactic scenes of one of those Pink Panther films, when the world's supposedly most ruthless killers are converging on their target, and their mission is Kill Clouseau! or in this case, Kill Gordon! Each has his or her signature weapon, and each manages to bog it up. With an unexpected yell, Purnell springs from the stationery cupboard at the Department of Work and Pensions – and his rubber dagger spangs harmlessly aside. Then Caroline Flint closes in for what is meant to be the terminal embrace, armed with the spiked attack bra of the scorned Labour women – only to find herself denounced by Labour women themselves. Barry Sheerman, Charlie Falconer, Hazel Blears: one by one they let off their guns or bombs or petards, and through the smoke and the cordite Gordon Brown sails on with his Clouseau-like imperviousness, beaming his mysterious beam." (Boris Johnson)

Cue saxophone theme by Henry Mancini.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Another sunset

T.S. Eliot: fascinating Arena special

BBC iPlayer - Arena: TS Eliot
For a limited time. UK only

"For the first time on television, Arena tells the whole story of the life and work of TS Eliot including the happiness he found in the last years of life in his second marriage. His widow Valerie Eliot has opened her personal archive, hitherto unseen, including the private scrapbooks and albums in which Eliot assiduously recorded their life together."

This is a keeper.* Superb archive footage, commentary from Seamus Heaney and others. Endless joys. As well as many readings by Eliot, there is film of Ezra Pound, Stephen Spender, W. H. Auden, a lot of fascinating archive film, including such things as a glimpse of Trotsky addressing a rally, pictures of pages from the original of The Waste Land edited by Ezra Pound etc etc etc.

I'm updating this as I watch the program. Fascinating section towards the end about Eliot's apparent anti-Semitism, with an account of Litvinoff's counterblast from the poet himself, Danny Abse and others. Eliot was present (unexpectedly) at the event described, and his reactions are recalled.


* With the new iPlayer download manager, if you download a program you get an MP4 file but whether you can save this and defy the expiry of the temporary license is not clear.

Obama's speech at Cairo University in full

BBC iPlayer - Briefings: Barack Obama
For a limited time. UK only

"Recorded coverage of President Barack Obama making a keynote speech at Cairo University as part of his tour of the Middle East and Europe, from Thursday 4 June."

It is a great speech. Once again, Obama recycles Lincoln's phraseology - as he always does - to great effect. "We meet here today" etc, as in the Gettysburg address. He talks persuasively - of course - about Islam and America. He seems intent on steering a course out of brutality towards harmony, but his pragmatism encompasses the bombing of Afghanistan, which is hard to reconcile with what he says.


Waiting to be removed

"I've just spent a week sleeping at the houses of the Hannoun family in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Three modest two bedroom bungalows are home to the families of the Hannoun brothers – they are part of 28 homes in the neighborhood, inhabited by over 500 Palestinians.

As part of their illegal 'Judaization' of East Jerusalem (which is meant to be the future capital of Palestine), the Israelis have told the Hannoun's, and other families in the area, they will be evicted and their homes destroyed to make way for new Jewish settlers."
Matt Kennard: An East Jerusalem Story

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Need a good read?

Advertisement by Gombeen™

The Green Press » What We Were Thinking Just Before The End: "Only £6.99 for United Kingdom delivery or £9.99 outside of the UK, all postage and packing included." Order direct and support independent publishing. There's more good reading in this book than in many W. H. Smith books put together. Take it with you on the underground, read one story on the way to work, a poem at lunchtime, another story on the way home. It's a multi-talented, multi-faceted, refreshing antidote to a world of mouldering politics, finance and war.

Mooney gets the call: appointed Blog Tsar

Feargal Mooney has been appointed Blog Tsar by Gordon Brown. Red Woodward is believed to be in Downing Street now discussing a tsarship for gambling regulation. Other passersby were surprised to be stopped in Whitehall and escorted into Downing Street to take up government positions.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Quote of the day

Hollywood star died in sex act admits Thai police - Telegraph: "'There was a rope tied around his neck and another rope tied at his sex organ, and the two ropes were tied together and hung in the closet,' police commander, Lieutenant General Worapong Siewpreecha said. 'Under these circumstances we cannot be sure that he committed suicide but he may have died from masturbation.'"


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Feeble justice

Two sentenced to life in prison for stabbing French students to death | UK news | "Sonnex will serve a minimum of 40 years and Farmer a minimum of 35. Trial judge Mr Justice Saunders told the Old Bailey the pair had only escaped being jailed for the 'truly horrific' murders for the rest of their lives because of their young ages."

What do you have to do to get a whole life sentence? Can you believe the judge still shows consideration for these murderers? The judge should serve the difference when they come out if he's alive at the time, which by the way is unlikely; so he doesn't even suffer the societal consequences of this feeble, insult of a sentence.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Good riddance

MPs' expenses: Hazel Blears resignation deepens Gordon Brown's Cabinet crisis - Telegraph: "Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, has resigned from the Cabinet, deepening the political crisis now engulfing Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister."

Never liked her, never trusted her, never respected her transparently dishonest spin-doctoring. This government is crumbling like a bad building in an earthquake. For god's sake, go - but no automatic reselection! We don't want this same lot back.

PMQ's live: fiddling while Rome burns. Disgusting how they drag in the names of dead soldiers to give MP's ersatz dignity, when they have none.


Davy Byrne's 30k (Euros) for short stories


The shortlist for the 2009 Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award will be announced on Saturday in The Irish Times.

Over 800 stories were entered for the competition and we are now down to the final six. The six winning writers have been notified.

The overall winner of the €25,000 prize will be announced on Monday June 22nd. The five remaining shortlisted writers will receive €1000 each.

Thanks are due to all who entered to the competition and to Redmond Doran of Davy Byrnes for his very generous sponsorship.

While the six shortlisted writers are clearly the main beneficiaries, the Award represents a great boost to the short story itself - encouraging people to write short stories, to read them and to celebrate them.

It's very fitting that the overall winner of the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award will be announced in the same week that Alice Munro will be in Dublin to receive the Man Booker International Prize.

Onwards and upwards...

The Stinging Fly

Green revolution?

Vote Green tomorrow but beware of getting rid of Gordon today | Jonathan Freedland | Comment is free | The Guardian: "For four senior Labour figures to quit on the eve of a double set of elections – apparently indifferent to the damage this might cause the party's chances – reeks of the sinking ship: now it's every rat for himself."

The election leaflets falling through the letterbox at Herald House are mostly from the Liberals and some Christian party ("Put your X beside the cross"). That is apart from an unctuous letter of apology from Gordon Brown on behalf of the entire parliament. Shouldn't he have at least excluded St Sarah of Willesden? He's trying to dilute the muck by including clean people in his ineffectual and redundant apology. One thing we know for sure, they are all very sorry: that is their permanent situation. They really feel our pain.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Impression of evening

Inveterate liar is also an embezzler

MPs' expenses: Geoff Hoon claimed on two homes at the same time - Telegraph: "Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, is exposed as the second Cabinet minister to have claimed expenses for two different second homes at the same time." (Telegraph)

The government's professional liar in the Iraq invasion is now revealed as a repeat embezzler of public funds. What else would you have expected? Of course the problem with his denials is that, as already proven, he is a known liar. It is not credible that people like this, who use our money to pay accountants by the way - as a fraudulent perk, which they don't pay tax on and should, needless to add - to help them get their accounts right, should make so many mistakes, invariably in their own favour.


Don't let Hitlerism in by the back door

Dynorod the disgusting BNP down the sewer of history.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The daily lemma: Fed up being a god?

Boy chosen by Dalai Lama as reincarnation of spiritual leader turns back on Buddhist order

'I was amazed to watch everyone dance. What were all those people doing, bouncing, stuck to one another, enclosed in a box full of smoke?' (Guardian)

That has to be one of the best quotes ever. The funny thing is, it's rather what one would expect a god to make of humanity.