Monday, 30 May 2011

Tom and Jerry

Love Film have finally delivered what I wanted, the early classic Fred Quimby Tom and Jerry collection. After chuckling away happily I realized something, something substantial perhaps, but I'm not going to get all Zizek about it.
Actually Tom likes to snooze under a tree, the dog likes to snooze in his hut, and Jerry likes to lounge in his hole reading a good book picking off bits of cheese from the mousetrap in utter contentment, and it is always the way with these cartoons, that the intrusion of others, usually unfortunate relatives of Jerry, cause havoc with the peace of all three. Global politics in popular media- you've got it right there.

Architectural Films

When The Fountainhead and The Towering Inferno come on rotation on TCM I wish they would put them together. They are the best architectural films and undoubtedly deserve each other. For the first, as far as I can see, establishes the perfect scenario for the second, and it's almost as simple as that. Whilst somewhat tastefully diminished and humanized, Paul Newman wrestles in TI with the very problems he has created, in the The Fountainhead Roark is oblivious to actions of men around him, he works in splendid isolation, just as Ayn Rand believed men should, with no altruistic sense for others at all. The two together collapse Rand's rather ridiculous logic, and this should be a lesson for all. Anyway, the parting shot of The Fountainhead, the cum shot if you like, is the most ridiculous piece of cinema. She rides up Roark's shaft, to explode with ecstasy at the summit, Roark of course, standing there with no handrail, waiting.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Three Bears

Went go and get the fish. The stall would close soonish but I felt so fucking awful I wasn't sure I'd make it without a stop at the Misty Mountain along the way. The place was to say the least subdued, in fact more like asleep. The half dozen old men in there had had enough of the day already.
Ambiguously cheered (did I feel better or worse?) I plugged on, only to arrive at the stall a fraction of a second after a large Jamaican lady in strange garb and headphones for periodic dancing started shouting about the exact medical procedures of her grandchild's birth while demanding five filleted plaice and four filleted mackerel which, if you don't know, takes ages. Why does this always happen to me? All I got was 'I've been up for three days....she could feel it coming......but she just wouldn't open up!' about a zillion times until I began to feel quite nauseous and certainly pathological.
Dented but with cod and kippers I caught the bus back, and a nice asian lady actually offered me her seat. I thought, Christ I can't look that awful, but accepted anyway under the guise of looking very old indeed.
And this aging process is what leads me to lament so often, or at least re-adjust to, old times or old things in the space of this blog. As Scott said Hegel said "The owl of Minerva (wisdom) takes flight at dusk'.
Last night we realized the whole of my young life was conditioned by three bears; Winnie, Rupert (which was nearly going to be my name) and Paddington. No wonder we always visit bears in the zoo, watch bear programmes on the TV, that Julie looks a bit like a sun and moon bear, and I go and get the bloody fish.

Thursday, 26 May 2011


Woke up startled, straight up in bed. I had two black eyes, I felt filthy, cold sweat, it was maybe 4pm or 4am (I have mistaken them more than once) The sheets smelt of hamsters, there's a girl next to me of some sort, probably with thighs like tree trunks.
The horrors of dreams. Thankfully I woke up and realized I no longer get black eyes falling out of hotel beds or walking in to things or falling over (but don't put it passed me on occasion) that our bed is just about the loveliest thing I can imagine, that Julie is sleeping quietly, and that the past has long gone. But nomatter how defined life might become in middle age, I still wake up every now and again with those visions, they appear rather necessary when I think about it. I need to savour it all at least to say- 'well I don't need to do that now....etc etc....pretty much did it....etc etc......glad I'm still here'
For those readers out there who are still in the midst of waking up in cells, wondering who it is next to you, worrying about the reprehensible things you might or might not have done with a vodka bottle, with black eyes and ruined suits, ragged wits and frayed nerves, those clutching for their wallets in desperation, those crying in the afternoon, dependent on the kindness of those you did whatever it was with the previous night, I salute you.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Van Halen II

What with Julie finishing 'Crazy from the Heat' it was time to play some Roth, some Van Halen, with both a newly invigorated turntable and a new critical capacity. Soon I shall have ALL the Dave Lee Roth records, and Julie fancies the (now very hard to get) Helmut Newton poster (him chained to a dog pound) included in at least the US release of 'Women and Children First' as a pin up for her studio.
Now why should you love, or even be interested in, David Lee Roth? It's thirty years ago, it's LA, it's the sublime combination of rock and roll and vaudeville. Also, nobody else had the range of DLR, nobody could growl, then squeal like a cat in the same line quite like him IN TUNE, he's like a siamese. And then, there was the jumping, the pure showmanship.
Van Halen II is by no means a great record, but it is, in it's fresh enthusiasm for good fun with your feet in the sand and your tits in the air, a perfect incarnation of a certain new adolescent experience which had been banished from 'heavy rock'. While 'Running with the Devil' from the first album was the first hit, it was really not what Roth was about at all, Van Halen were clearly about fun when he was around.
After a decade of Jethro Tull- the biggest grossing band of the seventies in the US would you believe- who wouldn't love this stuff?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Barac Obama in the East End

Walked back across the green from Tescos and thought; 'The only thing differentiating that guy on the grass drinking White Lightening and you with your St Emillion in your bag is the fact that you have to mark those fucking essays- so you'd better get on with it'. It's marking season.
Many of us do everything possible to avoid the task at hand.
Today it was the hot tip off that Barac Obama, leader of the western world, was going to make a special effort to pop in to Pellicci's, a rather famous cafe at the bottom of our street to 'meet the real people of London' We were sworn to secrecy on this information, and Julie was terribly excited, we wouldn't even use our mobiles. It's also possible that we are both total dupes. I did spot a couple of traffic controllers from Tower Hamlets Council out there with maps yesterday, and duly reported that 'something was going on' to excitable Julie. But as I should have known with the council, nothing whatsoever was going on, and as an expectant Julie went to breakfast in Pellicci's, prepared to stay all day if necessary, the talk was of nothing but Ryan Giggs and wind.
However I did have visions of inviting the President over to the Trench for a pint of stella served by the lovely girl in her overcoat studiously reading Martina Cole, to meet the other two occupants on their mobility machines, and him being simply astounded at the reality of modern Britain (he goes to a banquet tonight where, the BBC loving informs me, it takes eight hours to lay the table)
Pellicci's was never on, as Scott said (I ignored for a moment the ban on mobile communication in fear of the CIA) 'Has he ever tasted the food there?'

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mick McCarthy

There are few football managers I really admire, and I'm afraid it's never much to do with what happens with their team on the pitch. Today Mick McCarthy has survived, by a whisper, with Wolves. Therefore I can continue to enjoy his doleful and honest interviews on the radio which always cheer me up.
Of course I also admire Sir Alex (although I'm no fan of Manchester United) probably for the same reason, for neither give much of a fuck about the media, and they think they concentrate on the football. But of course you are never perceived exactly as the presentation intends. This is one of the great fallacies of PR. Any lover knows this, you're never loved for what your think you are loved for, but usually for something else entirely. In their case, not exactly whether they win or loose, but the attitude they have to the media about it.
Jose M, of course, much loved at Chelsea, chucking his jackets and medals in to the crowd and so on, seems to have turned in to a bit more of a sulky child at Real Madrid, the 'Special One' tag wears thin with Freudian considerations.
Meanwhile this afternoon was one of the best two hours of football commentary on the radio I have ever heard. Five games at the same time. It was like playing the accumulator on Vegas slots.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A re-write

I've re-written the piece on Ian Sinclair below to hopefully make better sense of it.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Blank paper

I've just 'read', my first blank paper, I mean utterly blank, no writing at all, there is length, but no characters at all, it is bound, but with no words in it, it has the correct official submission slip stapled to the cover, my first John Cage essay, and what the hell am I going to do with it? Well I think it might just test my metal a little bit. We talk about this sort of stuff in class, and now it's happened, it has come back home to roost. It takes quite a lot of balls to hand in such a thing, and I'm appreciative of the time to reflect, once more, on nothing. I'll be up at 3am in the morning thinking about it.

LA Woman again

An almost joyful stroll down Bethnal Green market brings back sardines, crab, cherries, peaches, a ray of sunshine, and a vinyl copy of The Doors LA Woman. The vinyl looks in really good shape, but the sleeve has clearly seen some appropriate use. No doubt one listen will counteract all the healthiness of crabs and cherries and so on, and I'll be bouncing off the walls wailing (Morrison wails, not howls, I think you wail when you're drunk) just like I used to.
We are steadily buying our vinyl back. I left most of mine in one flat or other in Peckham round 1992. Clearly a mistake based on unwaranted enthusiasm for new media, nomadic lifestyle, living without baggage and all the rest of it. Such thinking might get you somewhere if you are lucky when you're young, but it can also leave you nowhere. In the middle there are practical and prosaic considerations as to the material necessity of architecture to grapple with, such as; I don't need an office to sit in at the university, the pub will do, but I do need a hell of a lot of shelf space for my library (lesson for university planners) or, as my friend Tim Pyne once asked me, I think for pertinent social purposes - 'I need you to go and buy me a complete record collection'.
Now the man on the stall seems to light up when we pass by, all expectant like a puppy dog. He needs to sell at least some of his LP's and we like the idea of recycling them. He also seems to have stocked right up on Hawkwind in hope. So we've got to keep him going, it seems to have become a local obligation.
However the wailing gets us in to trouble. When Julie put her new Burning Spear record on the other night there was an ominous chime from our new seventies retro Abigail's Party doorbell and our little rock n' roller about to make it big as rock star neighbour complained about the noise! Fuck me, this is some inversion. Correct, little rock and roller and his partner who wants to save the world are quiet as a fucking mice (occasionally we hear a little bit of guitar noodling) but really, I've never felt more like some character out of 'Old Folks Boogie' (a Little Feat classic if you're uninitiated).

Thursday, 19 May 2011

All poetry and no trousers (Ian Sinclair)

Really I shouldn't go out. One glance at the whisky bottle tells me that. But then again, curiously refreshed having let the devils out to play, I don't feel too bad. I remember the Fat Man wants to take us out to lunch, and I remember Ian Sinclair, doyen of so many of the classes I detest, as being not really much more than Allen Ginsburg for trainspotters (all poetry with no trousers).
Sinclair was talking, as far as I knew, on the subject of Shoreditch. It is only afterwards that I realize that Sinclair's 'reading' of Shoreditch is rooted in the vaguaries of psychogeography. This means basically roving around, preferably on a bike, pausing every now and again to listen to ancient rivers running under manholes, then writing dreamy sequences about such things, or taking blurred photographs at night (see the work of Mark Atkins- a fellow traveller in such endeavours).
This, of course, is the sort of thing I consider bullshit.
I remember the Fat Man (a highly prominent estate agent, and inventor of what you might call 'the real' Shoreditch) being physically restrained from asking a pertinent question (following on from my own) of Sinclair's monologue, where he was no doubt going to point out the materialist basis of Shoreditch's recent history. When I even mentioned the word 'cocaine' there was a possitive heckle of dissapproval from said classes I detest in the audience who were clearly ready to bash me over the head with their bicycle pumps.
I mentioned cocaine because as far as my reading of the new creative industries of Shoreditch is concerned, they run on coke like Los Angeles runs on petrol. However, the facts should be examined, and facts are not really for the psychogeographers. Instead there is a world of delusion out there, so I should indeed stay indoors.
The Fat Man, I heard the next day, was barred for three months from the venue, Shoreditch House, the place he invented.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bedtime reading

I'd like to make a photograph of Julie and I reading in bed. The old bloke with the beard reading 'Why Marx Was Right', the youthful Julie reading Dave Lee Roth's 'Crazy from the Heat' (see previous posts). It would be a picture of middle age, (sort of Terry and June) but not entirely accurate, for I'd actually be chewing over a gumshoe classic like Poodle Springs- an excellent bedtime choice with a good if stereotypical plot with the added enjoyment of trying to distinguish the bits actually originally written by Raymond Chander and the bits finished off by Robert B Parker. That image might be even more like Terry and June.
I save Terry Eagleton's 'Why Marx was Right' for the daytime. It's a book he finds so easy to write it's almost an embarrassment, and by now he must be knocking eighty, and as I glance down at the bag still full of essays I have to read next, I wish some of the students had the gumption to read such stuff and consider such straightforward materialist concerns rather than produce such idiotically pretentious self indulgent drivel.
It's enough to make you feel your knocking eighty yourself, and believe me I feel it even at fifty, such have been the consequences of my almost life long enthusiasms, which I now have to reconcile myself with and bat away mention of gyms, press ups, healthfoods and general moodiness at me tending towards lunch at 4pm.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


I'm convinced it is the destiny of readers of the London Review of Books to feel nothing but pain. I'm not going to call them intellectuals or academics which are kinda vague terms, but if you bother to subscribe to those fortnightly pages and actually read them, you are due for unremitting pain.
I was sitting in the pub opposite the university minding my own business in preparation for a marathon afternoon of tutorials. There was only me in there, and three student types in the easy chairs over the other side of the room. Unfortunately it was quiet and I could hear what they were talking about. Now don't get me wrong I have nothing against these particular hamsters, two identical looking males and one stereotypical female. But as they sipped their cokes and their chatter went on and on and on, I was plunged into profound despair, for the only thing they talked about for over an hour was cars. Car's they'd like, car's they'd 'outgrown', incidents involving cars, their relations interest in particular cars, their car histories (much talk of VW Golfs) trading cars, milage of cars, tire situations, all dealt with great deal of interest, including:
"The only white car I could possibly consider owning.." said the female with much pause for thought "....would be a sorta classic cabriolet.... yes an Escort cabriolet" at which point she relaxed back in her comfortable seat with quiet satisfaction whilst her companions contemplated such profound words.
I'm presently reading lots of essays from my own architectural hamsters which often involve total distain for the car. I wish they could have overheard that conversation, it shows how doomed we are.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


I've been sketching designs for houseboat renovation, thinking about houseboat renovation, even got a whole picnic scheduled for next week with the intension of inspection of said houseboat with Scott and Julie and Scott's girlfriend Vanessa as some kind of fucking party.
But there are things that trouble me a great deal about this enterprise. Namely, when boats go wrong they sink (even if it's just in to the mud). That or they go up in flames (Scott mentioned a wood burning stove and the very thought chilled me to the bone). There are also no doubt major curiosities in plumbing, water supply and poking your head periodically in to bilges, and painting and general DIY activity, none of which are my favourite things (However, Scott might prove invaluable here - in fact, he seems very much in favour - but he was also very hungover).
Meanwhile it seems to be the time of life to worry about just about everything. I can hardly watch the news, hardly read the essays my students have dutifully submitted without severe trauma as to the condition they inherit, the LRB is full of misery, The Eurovision Song Contest appeared to have hired the ghost of Joseph Goebels as creative director. This makes bolthole boat rather attractive.

Thursday, 12 May 2011


It could be my hangover, but I've become rather fond of the present girl on ChatGirlTV. Debbie lies there doing fuck all staring at me for hours if I have the inclination. She lies there in spacey music in bra and panties, her only action being to occasionally paint her nails, an action which is most appreciated. It's an interesting job I imagine, more interesting than most, lying supine as if for a Degas painting. Periodically her phone goes off, and she answers and talks, and that particular business must be even more peculiar. What, actually are you going to say to each other? I used to phone up my friend Danielle when she was working for Babestation and ask her what she had for breakfast. Unfortunately it got too expensive.

Gerry Badger

I'm reading Gerry Badger's 'The Pleasures of Good Photography'. It is the kind of book that wrestles with the ineffable, perhaps as I might when spending daft time over Lowell George's lyrics, but he sustains his effort, quite beautifully in my opinion, and makes photography a wonderful concern. I have to say I'd like to write a book called 'The Pleasures of Good Architecture' but, to be honest, I think I'm better 'live' like Thin Lizzy, and not so great in the studio (there lies my demise in gloomy moments). Of course we always look to that studio for creativity, but usually it's all sitting infront of you, you don't need another place to do it, you don't really need a studio, it's a kind of pretension. This of course is the wonder and success of capitalism, you know you don't need something but you want it anyway.
Hungover after a great evening over the newly revived turntable (who, actually, would find Eric Clapton's 'Backless' interesting except us at one in the morning) Julie had another conversation with the houseboat man. I am most taken with the idea of a houseboat, even this particular houseboat, a sort of Eeyore houseboat.
But for now I shall sit here, look over the precious ground infront of me, it's modernist greenery, our fabulous masquerade of crap, and love every second.


There are few bands who have talked about places, or a variety of places and the people in them as Little Feat. It's curious to find yourself singing about Dallas Alice in the shower, or even having the urge to put 'Willin' on the turntable just as soon as you wake up. I believe the endless routeless 'movement' in Lowell George's songwriting is a major part of its appeal, it's melancholia. If he's not in Atlanta, he wants to be there, but you know he's in LA, or Jackson, or some other place he's not entirely pleased to be, and probably hanging out in some dive like the Spanish Moon all the time thinking about his Dixie Chicken . That is the beauty of Willin' the ultimate truck drivers song, slowed down for maximum effect on the excellent 'Live' Waiting for Columbus, an album that doesn't sound live at all because he spent so much time re-mixing it to achieve just that right accent of something or other (groove + sadness = exquisite)
So I went on e-bay and bought a Lowell George tee shirt.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


I had a morning, and I had some deliveries, one of which was a mint copy of the Stones Beggars Banquet LP, white cover Decca original to 1968. I looked at it and looked at it and realized it was 43 yrs old, and got myself a drink, but not before I'd sorted some preamble by playing Little Feat's 'Feats Don't Fail Me Now' which arrived in the same post. Both were a transportation in time, but I saved that original 'Street Fighting Man' for the last seconds before I went off to chat away with the hamsters. I rocked.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

P-Middly porn icon

So Pippa (which is not a good name in the first place) has been offered £3m to star in a porn film for Vivid, and her brother, if he joins in, gets some more.
Go for it girl! Remember your roots! Make the most of it! The family hate you anyway! Your sister's life on Angelsey is a drag! Life as a porn star in and involving much broadening of your mind to involve, how should we put it, confrontation with REAL events. Then you can get busted for drugs, sell your story for millions, and have a blast in the mean time. Vivid's a respectable company! You'd be idiotic not to do it! Meanwhile ask your mom (ex air hostess!!) along too!
I see many girls every day I think should be porn stars, especially in the East End, but of course I don't go up to them and suggest it. But at a distance - since Pippa is now suddenly a celebrity- I can only encourage her to be the first porn star semi royal, pearl necklaces a go go, facials a plenty, with a yacht called 'Double Entry' (I actually saw such a name on such a boat in godforsaken Bermuda). It would be a natural extension of the celebrity process to get a semi royal seriously rogered on camera by professionals. It would be the making of her and the Royal family. Make them more, sort of, contemporary. And just think of the script! It's a writers dream!

Monday, 9 May 2011

World's most expensive tomato

Back on home turf, I slip in to the university and it's as quiet as the grave, just as it should be at this time of year, about as stuffy and uncomfortable also.
So it's away with a carrier bag full of essays.
I find Lily weaving a friendship bracelet on the bar of the White Horse between dances. It's an unusual thing to find a dancer doing, but not surprising if you imagine she cycles to work, thinks mental institutions should be more colourful with fresh flowers and possibly rabbits, and, on mention of Stacia (the dancer with Hawkwind 1972) immediately realizes that's exactly what she wants to do- roll around naked in paint. Excellent.
Having been cheered up by such countenance, I buy the worlds most expensive tomato (buffalo) from the Conran shop opposite. £3 for a tomato is pretty much an art event, almost worth it for the mutual expression of incredulity between staff and customer. Nomatter, still cheered I venture out only to step on an upturned screw. However, cheeky chappy from the corner computer store is soon at it with his pliers. My god, there is humanity, this is my big society.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Big Banana (see below Island Life)

Island Boy

Island Photo

Island Life

I surmise these days islands are things you are either desperate to escape from or desperate to escape to. In the sunshine of a Friday afternoon, with the rigging tinkling against the yacht masts and the estuary water melting in to the sky, with houseboats picturesque in the mud of the salt marsh and even a friendly black cat on the balcony, Mersea Island felt pretty much perfect, in fact it felt more than that, it felt like home. I was born here.
By 10.30 at night, with the music pumping from the downstairs bar, and local lads kicking off and mouthing the sort of intimacies you only say when off off your nuts;
'I love you......
.....I love your parents....
...........I love your parents dog!'
It was still pretty pleasant. This was after all my tribe, I'm an Essex Island Boy. However an alarming number of my primary school friends (who stayed) are now dead via smack.
Even the next day, with Julie phoning up estate agents for the prices of picturesque houseboats on a whim and the clean air ruffling your hair, and the smell of the sea, it was fantastic.
It was only when the very friendly lonely old fella in the pub (the only fella in The Black Lion at opening time across from the church that I used to be a choir boy in) shat himself that, in Ancient Greek terms, the omens appeared a little bleaker. That and the boarded up corner shop where I used to pick up my Airfix Magazine.
So we recovered from reverie and caught a taxi out while the tide would let us and went to a bloody awful exhibition in Colchester (because we said we would) called, curiously, 'Citing Reverie' which was the sort of exhibition put on by PhD students citing chunks of unreadable prose in the name of theses on beach huts or people who collect Nazi models. Sometimes a beach hut is just a beach hut, and a collector of Nazi models may just be someone you don't want to spend too much time with, but these two were milking them for the type of phoney 'PhD via Practice' tosh that means, essentially, lots of work about very little for no purpose whatsoever.
However the garden of the Minories was nice, including a bouncy castle opposite Britain's oldest solid one, until I noticed something very nasty lurking over the tree tops looking something like a giant banana.
'They call it the giant banana' said the very well spoken lady also bewildered by the text on the exhibition walls..'some South American architect...'
It's not finished yet, and has cost millions, taken ages, but it still looks rubbish, and I took delight in explaining this to her, and then found out she was some kind of trustee.
We scarpered back to Bethnal Green.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A tiny Iliad

I was at the Slade UCL today, in the main courtyard in the warm afternoon. Well dressed people were carrying actual mugs of tea across the grass, and you could just walk in anywhere and enquire after so and so or whatnot without a jot of security. I was in another world, like something out of Logans Run. Not sure I liked it.
Anyway that's not what I want to talk about today, I want to talk about The Iliad in about three paragraphs.
Firstly the hero Achilles is mostly absent- he's sulking on a beach. I'm not sure when he might appear in full flourish, but hats off to the poet (Homer) who keeps the main guy out of the action for as far as I've got (half way). The main text is unrelenting carnage, describing in about three brutal deaths per page (the 'well aggrieved') Greeks attempt to sack Troy. It's a bit like a description of the Grand National, nobody falls without a description of how and why. Maybe all wars should be described like this, but they are not.
It's a clever three way plot, for Achilles, whilst he's on the beach with the Greeks, has fallen out bitterly with Agamemnon, the leader, and has refused to fight against the Trojans. Since Achilles is half god, he's got the ear of his mother to persuade God of all Gods Zeus to go against Agamemnon with the Trojans, so I believe the Trojans are supposed to win, but I'm not at all sure right now, for the mansion of the Gods is a bit like the set of Eastenders, they seem endlessly plotting against each other and Zeus is always pissed off with them.
The reason Achilles and Agamemnon fall out is because Agamemnon stole his wife. There is a lot of this; the reason the Greeks are trying to sack Troy is because somebody stole somebody else's wife. We are also made acutely aware that the Ancient Greeks were a bunch of pirates, basically horse trading treasure acquired from others. In the battlefield they slay, then they pause to plunder the armour (CUT- plunder the armour- note it's precise qualities etc!)
They live on boats or in huts. There are well made huts but no architecture as yet. They cast their trophies (armour of the slayed) in to the trees to please the gods who are often duplicitously helping them whilst Zeus has passed out from having far too much sex with the duplicitous Hera (his wife). Aphrodite (her daughter) had unwittingly given Hera extra sexual powers so she could go and spice up the life of the grandparents 'down below' ( a most ancient inculcation of Viagra) but actually she used them on the old boy Zeus himself. When he wakes up he's going to be pissed.
The moral message? Well, so far, hero Achilles stands his moral (high) ground. That seems to be a good thing. Agamemnon, despite periodic feats of valour, vacillates- hence not doing so well in the heroic stakes. Probably Hector, superman of the Trojans, will meet his doom while Zeus sleeps it off. It is clear that for Homer it's best to know what you think and stick with it, even if you die (but kinda handy to have circumspection as well as invincible powers) because if you die that way you will be remembered by the poets well.
You can see that centuries on, this attitude has caused many problems, but I'll hang with it for now.
It's a terrific book, if relentless in death, and the girls just knit.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Mobility Machines

So I went over to The Trench to pick up some authentic haggis from Scott for supper. We sit there generally disinterested like you should generally musing on the death of architecture around 1700.
Then an old guy in a maroon mobility wagon swoops in looking the spitting image of Hunter S Thompson - blue aviator sunglasses, white sun hat, the lot, just no shoes. He has to edge up to the bar carefully to avoid hitting his stockinged feet, gets his drink, reverses and swivels, parks it carefully against the table next to us. We congratulate him on his look and he smiles. Then I realize there are three of these electric mobility machines in the place. I think there must be a lot of money in making these mobility machines. In short, that this is the future! If you are going to design a pub for this day and age, forget the wheelchairs, it's the self propelled /escapology from home situation electric cars every drinker will need in the end and of course only the elderly and infirm will be allowed to drink, and I'm thinking: The bars should be like roundabouts! The side walls will be designated reverse in to parking, tables will hang from the in pubs!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bin Laden in Beverly Hills

Personally, I would expect to find Osama Bin Laden in Beverly Hills reading 'The Long Goodbye' by Raymond Chandler with a big smile and long glass of orange juice. Personally, I'm not surprised to hear Mr Hague talk about trade deals not aid deals with the Japanese today at the Foreign Office because I've skimmed the Shock Doctrine. I'm also hardly surprised that Osama occupied a fortified and rather expensive compound under the noses of the military- that's called being smart- but not as smart as Beverly Hills. I'm also not surprised, but quite depressed, that thousands of Americans are shouting for joy. There's always going to be another one you know, there's always cause and effect, and the more we cause it (I'm talking the divvying up of global resources for an expanding global population and our own response- a massive increase in border agency controls and global exploitation) that 'triumph' can look a bit, well, 'stupid'. But that stupidity is sure in the interests of some people. They will work you up in to a frenzy just so you can't think straight anymore.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


We made the mistake of visiting my parents on the same day as the Royal Wedding. I hadn't even thought of the possible consequence of this coincidence. However, it dawned pretty quick. My parents are in their late eighties, conservative, religious, patriotic and FERVENT. not, actually the opposite, and such feelings are hard to mask no matter how we try in the quest for peace and harmony. I often feel sitting in my own parents house is just about the most uncomfortable thing that happens to me on an almost regular basis. Firstly I can't believe they created me, other than rationalizing all my consequent actions in terms of rebellion. I'm sure I'm hardly singular in this, but in our periodic and equally fervent escapes from the land of the perpetually perfect to the pub across the road, Julie and I agreed it was to do with the fact that we have invested so much time in 'critical thinking' (we criticize almost everything on a daily basis- and it's our job pretty much to do so) and my parents have done pretty much the opposite, they represent the perfect bourgeois, they delight in enjoying everything apart from criticism!
So when I happen to mention on the umpteenth re-run of the Royal Wedding the fact that 'Well....we paid for it' my father goes ballistic, pretty much reminding me of the old days when he would chase me around the house for wearing a fur coat before a party. My god the old boy's still got it in him! However, thankfully these days, meltdown is more easily diverted and he's soon over it, he is after all, a bit of an old, nearly blind, bull, and you have to love him for it.