31 May 2009

Daily Chat 31/05/09

31 May 1669 was the last diary entry recorded by Samuel Pepys.  On this day in 1859, the clock at Westminster began keeping time* and 2200 people were killed in the Johnstown Flood in 1889.  Celebrating birthdays:  Clint Eastwood, John Prescott (who only wants a toilet seat for his birthday this year), Peter Yarrow, Terry Waite, Sharon Gless, Brooke Shields and Colin Farrell.  It is the Feast of the Pentecost for Christians.

*I'm now thoroughly confused.  I always thought "Big Ben" referred to the bell.  Wikipedia says it's the clock & tower.  I'm sure someone will set me straight.


  1. I thought the chime was called Big Ben & the tower itself is the clock tower. Here's an explanation from the parliament website:


    There's a link there to the 150th anniversary website - where you can even download ringtones! I predict mobiles around the world ringing with the Big Ben chime. We could even call one another on the hour ...

  2. Frank Cook. Can you BELIEVE it?
    And yes, Montana, I'm sure you're right about Big Ben...

  3. Big Ben is the bell, they probably mean in the general sense that Big ben is used to refer to the whole tower.

  4. "Frank Cook. Can you BELIEVE it?"

    A month ago, no, but these days nothing shocks. Though only low in value (£5) this is one of the most ugly, shameful claims of the whole lot.

  5. LordSummerisle31 May, 2009 10:55

    "Frank Cook, Can you BELIEVE it?"

    I'm at the point where I'll believe anything now. But you have to love the way he describes it as a 'mistake', because it beggars belief. If he has any sense he'll describe how that mistake came about because it's hard to see how it could happen.

    I suppose it's conceivable that he was given a receipt for it, that happens sometimes though perhaps not in church services. Perhaps it was in with a wad of receipts that he handed to a subordinate who just did the paperwork, which he didn't check before it was sent to the fees office.

    But I prefer to invoke Occam's razor and say he's just a stingy, grasping bastard with an inflated sense of entitlement.

  6. Good stuff in The Guardian today:
    Brilliant documentary by the great Nick Broomfield, old mate of mine, on the Greenpeace occupation of Kingsnorth coal fired power station in 96,
    Extraordinarily bizarre article in Cif by the normally loathsome Nick Cohen on chiropodists trying to gag a scientist,
    And a very witty review of Tracey Emin's latest show. Am I the only one who thinks Emin a laughably crap artist?

  7. LordSummerisle31 May, 2009 11:01

    Dan, you could populate a planet with people who think that.

  8. It is amazing how often Occam's razor comes up these days. It's the most common reaction when i attempt to persuade someone that the WTC towers were demolished by explosive. "Look, it's yer Occam's razor, mate- the simplest solution is the most likely" or words to that effect.
    I've never actually understood exactly what it's REALLY about.
    Anyone give me a simple, clear explanation using words of 2 syllables or less?

  9. LordSummerisle31 May, 2009 11:16

    I'll try ...

    When offered two different solutions to a problem where the evidence for both is supported, the simpler solution of the two is more likely to be the correct one.

  10. The simplest explanation is most likely (though not necessarily) the correct one.

    That's it. It's about probability. Every time an extraneous factor has to be brought into a theory it is increasingly unlikely that the theory is correct.

    So...Highjacker...planes...crash...most likely.

    Large scale conspiracy...Zionist plot...US airforce/ secret service /media / scientific community complicity...thermite....explosives...missiles...faked mobile calls etc...increasingly unlikely.

  11. Thanks, LordS, that was fairly clear to me, but what is the story of Occam and why doesn't he use an electric razor?
    So nobody interested in writing a comic strip for me to illustrate in our proposed online magazine? I'm stuck here (happily) in Italy and too removed from (and too disillusioned with) UK politics and politics here is beyond a joke.
    I still can't get over Frank Cook's little scam... I mean, WHAT THE FUCK???

  12. So, Monkeyfish, (thought you were changing your name...) YOU reckon they fell down because planes flew into them?
    You cannot be serious...

  13. LordSummerisle31 May, 2009 11:30

    He didn't need a razor at all. He was a philosopher, so he had to have a beard. It was the law in those days.

  14. LordSummerisle31 May, 2009 11:36

    Strictly speaking you shouldn't really use Occam's razor to resolve the 9/11 dispute as the evidence to support hijackers is much stronger than that to support the conspiracy theory, so the razor isn't needed.

    But a reductionist might ask which is more likely. That George W Bush and his government could demonstrate the organisation skills that such a conspiracy would require, or were they just a bunch of incompetent fuckwits who were caught with their pants down by 9/11?

    I will discuss 9/11 conspiracies no more after this full stop.

  15. Oh dear. As I get older, I find I am getting the odd hair on my chin. Does this mean I am destined to become a philosopher? :o)

  16. LordSummerisle31 May, 2009 11:42

    That's very interesting question, almost a philosophical one might say ;-)

  17. You seen the Latoya Peterson thread on the Marvel divas yet, Dan?

  18. No, Mschin, I haven't. Please enlighten me.
    Fair enough, LordS, I respect your wish not to discuss 911 further except to say that those towers did not and could not have fallen down because airliners flew into them.
    Plenty of other things to discuss, I'm sure you'd agree. We clearly see eye to eye on Trace...

  19. #YOU reckon they fell down because planes flew into them?#

    I figure they were hit with planes, yeah.

    As for the falling down. I think that happened too...and was not undisconnected with the plane factor.

    Mind,I'm fucked if I'm spending a day like this in Trooferville.

  20. No, no, I agree, Monkfish. We won't go there. I don't want to spoil a beautiful relationship.
    So how's your vegetable garden?
    What do you think of Trace as artist who actually represented the UK at Venice Biennale? Almost as unbelieveable as Frank Cook's "mistake".

  21. Funny, just saw an interview with Brown claiming he is "leading the debate on constitutional reform".

  22. Oh dear - I suppose you would expect that - after all he thinks he saved the world!

    Our PM is delusional! That doesn't exactly make you feel secure does it?

  23. Trace is a good laugh but she's no more an artist than I'm an authority on controlled (sic) demolition.

    She's a product of an art establishment that so intent on 'pushing boundaries' or manufacturing controversy to garner media interest that it loses sight of the fact that a chimp with a packet of crayons would produce more meaningful work. Although, from their point of view, given that she's top value as a rent a gob, she fits the bill perfectly.

    This is not something I get overtaxed by. It's one of the less important avenues spawned by the post-modern Zeitgeist. I'm rather more concerned with the intrusion of relativism in the political mainstream which has proved the perfect breeding ground for identity and single issue politics as a 'respectable' political stances.

    Unfortunately this has led to a situation whereby diversity and difference are fetishised and any prospects of a natural constituency of ordinary working class people is destroyed. Semi-official, publicly funded barriers are erected between people who would once have been natural allies.

    Trace and other contrarian artists along with other special interest groups (troofers included) may find affirmation in such a climate but ultimately they're just fuckin useful idiots dancing to the corporate tune. While they obsess about their identity, individuality, their outre opinions and anti-establishment outlook and opinions, the establishment and especially the corporate state is free to shaft everyone at will since no cohesive opposition will ever form in such a climate.

    Anyway, shockart and the whole concept of being radical, alternative and on the outside is so fuckin last week. The future's socialism Dan...please join in if you feel able just leave your plans, blueprints, engineering texts and chemistry textbooks at home.


    I haven't got a garden, I've got a backyard. Couple of plants..not sure what they are, few old bricks, rusty bike or two and a rabbit.

    You did ask...

    Anyway...out to enjoy the sunshine...I'll check your response later...oh and less of the monkfish.

  24. Now is the time for all good bloggers to come to the aid of free and open writing.

    Allow me to make you a decorous proposition, my fellow bloggers, with a view to a marriage of minds. And if not a marriage, then let us at least gather cooperatively on the same pages, despite our differences, as equals. Let’s strike while the iron is hot. It’s a fantastic opportunity. You choose your own specialist patch. Pollyanna has got shoes. Is Pollyanna Linda Grant in disguise?

    Rabid atheists very welcome.

    If you want to discuss this proposal go here,


    Or email me.

    My email is: philiprichardhall@googlemail.com

    I’ll make a list of everyone’s patch soon:

    We already have a wonderful cartoonist, a proper good philosopher, an editor, and several other great people.

  25. Sorry, monkeyfish, I didn't mean to be disrespectful.
    The concept of a socialist future is to be welcomed but as far as I can see, it's never seemed less likely than now. Where is this new socialism going to come from? Not from our children's generation, that seems reasonably certain.
    And aren't we all dancing to the corporate tune? Not you, of course, but the rest of us fucking useful idiots...

  26. Pertinent article from Jeremy Seabrook in Cif with regard to socialism and the parliamentary system, don't you think, monkeyfish?

  27. I thought the Seabrook article quite an interesting one, bit iffy in places but an interesting article.

  28. Agree with Monkeyfish about that article Its interesting in that it repeats the old 'everybody is middle class now shit'.

    Its just not true and many more peole are slowly waking up to the fact as they get faced with negative equity and the sack.

    Going to work in a suit doesn't make you middle class!