18 October 2009

Daily Chat 18/10/09

The Danes defeated the Saxons in the Battle of Ashingdon in 1016.  Basel was destroyed by an earthquake estimated to have measured 6.5 on the Richter scale in 1356.  The British Broadcasting Company was formed in 1922.  A bomb attempt to assassinate Benazir Bhutto left 139 dead in Karachi in 2007.

Born today:  Lotte Lenya (1898-1981), Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000), Melina Mercouri (1920-1994), Chuck Berry (1926), Klaus Kinski (1926-1991), Peter Boyle (1935-2006), Martina Navratilova (1956), Jean-Claude van Damme (1960) and Wynton Marsalis (1961).

Those of you living your life by the French Republican calendar know that today is Septidi, 27 Vendémaire, CCXVIII.


  1. Searching for an image to go with today's thread, I found this. Does the fact that I find it incredibly disturbing make me a philistine, a prude or both?

    Now, for a couple of points I intended to address yesterday:

    Cyrus might not be an awe-inspiring name (it was Kurus in Old Persian), but he was an unusually enlightened leader for his time. A bit about him...

    I had successfully blotted Sigue Sigue Sputnik from my memory. Thanks, Monkeyfish.

    I'd also done a pretty good job of blotting out the Waitresses, your Lordship.

    Doesn't surprise me that Burning Sensations was unknown beyond these shores. They were one-hit wonders here. But it was a really good hit to have.

  2. "Does the fact that I find it incredibly disturbing make me a philistine, a prude or both?"
    Makes you someone with taste, Montana, that's all...

  3. Loving the David Mitchell piece - arguable in places, but pretty much the most honest assessment of the mess we're in I've read in a long time.

  4. Morning all,

    sorry to start on a depressing note but:


    How utterly predictable yet still depressing. And of course the comments below make for even more depressing reading.

    Something I brought up on a CiF thread a couple of weeks ago. The same numbskulls crowing over the posties defeat will be the same ones moaning their heads off when the subsequent privatised service will be shit and more expensive.

    The dispute has all the hallmarks of the miners strike.

    - Purposeful neglect by management of pay/conditions etc followed by press releases that it's all in the name of modernisation which the ''Unions don't want.'' Because of course they are dinosaurs!

    - The Govt and country ''will not be held to ransom'' regarding postal services due to postmen's neglect of their duties.

    - Govt manipulation of the media. Union leaders made to look like Marxist Scargillites by 'out of context' editing.

    - Of coure it's been manipulated coming up to the crucial xmas period to show up the posties as being bastards who don't care if your gran gets her xmas card.

    All the while the bankers are back up and running giving themselves the usual obscene bonuses WITH OUR MONEY.

    Is it just me or does anyone else think the post office strike is being used by the Govt as a cover for their mates in the banks?

    It's enough to make you weep. Again, cheers for letting me let off steam.

  5. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n18/maya01_.html
    brilliant piece posted on the PO thread. The bit near the end about how the figures for volume of post have been manipulated is enough to make you spit...

  6. I wasn't familiar with Romeo Void before, but it's a great tune. The guitar style reminds me a lot of Adrian Belew.

  7. There's something a bit paedo about that painting...

    Nice tunes there Montana _ I want to be a cowboy !

    When you stack it up like that it does seem pretty depressingly familiar... and ity is something I'm sure the government feel they can use to make themselves look 'tough'... desperate.

  8. Yes, that's a very good article by Roy Mayall.

    People don’t send so many letters any more, it’s true. But, then again, the average person never did send all that many letters.

    My thoughts exactly. Mandelson is yet again taking us for fools if he thinks we'll believe that texts on mobile phones are responsible for a drop in letters. God, that bloke makes my blood boil!

  9. LordS
    Adrian Belew ? Try this from the Old Grey Whistle Test... still moves me today !


  10. Love these guys:

    Although still unable to work out how to do links properly. Anyway.

    On the PO thread, there's a chap who's said he's taking up the temp work that everyone talking about. Now, doesn't this show the invidious nature of what's going on? - the guy's desperate for work, to get off benefits - he's putting that over solidarity, and while I disagree with him, I do sympathise. To go back to the 'death of the left' talk we've been having, this whole manipulation of the situation is just 'divide and rule', isn't it? And by the Labour Party. Makes you want to weep, frankly, as his grace says...

  11. There's something a bit paedo about that painting...

    That's the old Japanese manga/Disney animation trick, large eyes being an indicator of youth. But she can hardly be a child because she's 'giving birth' to things.

    No, the problem with that picture is that it's sickeningly twee. Stick it next to the picture of the dogs playing poker, the tennis player scratching her arse and the stack of hairy highlander shortbread tins ;-)

  12. Hmm, twee. Yep. Still something a bit creepily kiddy fiddler-ish though - manga stylee as you say.

    But look here Lord S, I've found the perfect shirt for you !


  13. LOL (and I really am!) ... that is so bad that I might get it for Lady S for Christmas ;-)

  14. Phillipa,

    great link. I would actually like to see a CiF blog from the Guardian's resident postie, Berchmans about what it's actually like at the erm, stampface?


    It is desperate indeed. In my opinion the ultimate victory of Thatcherism wasn't the mass privatisations, loose regulation of the financial markets etc it was the ability to manipulate the great British Public into a seething mass of mutual jealousy.

    The recession and postal workers strike is a brilliant case in point.

    The Bankers and financiers live in what may as well be another planet to the average Brit. So whilst they are squeezing the country so hard the pips squeak, they do so using abstract economics mostly out of the understanding of the average man on the street and are for the most part faceless.

    However, the postie is 'one of us', we see him/her each day and have some form of interaction.

    Now rather than identify with the Postie, we seethe at him- ''Why's he getting a pay rise? Why is he demanding something I daren't ask for in my non-unionised job? Who does he think he is holding the country to ransom?''

    This is Thatcherism's victory, we can't identify with our peers anymore without some form of economic mistrust and jealousy- Divide. And. Conquer.

    All the while the Banks and Big Business stroll along merrily on their Friedmanite path while we fight with each other for the scraps below.

    The political consensus of the last 30 years is summed up beautifully by Keynes:

    “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”

  15. I then go on to CiF and see Victoria Coren of all people has the same sentiments I've just expressed above.....!

  16. " it was the ability to manipulate the great British Public into a seething mass of mutual jealousy."

    Oh yes. Putting it bluntly, the real driver in the New Labour years of credit euphoria - social mobility. It seemed that everyone and his plumber was middle class all of a sudden getting the Sunday Times to ogle the rich list and find the best schools. Only chavs didn't make money. Now the shit's hit the fan, and it's hate thy neighbour time again. Several comparisons with Thatcher era stand, except if you listen to economists, an important difference is that the entrepreneurship that drove the eighties economy is hamstrung now... That Mandelson really does want a brick through his face.

  17. Damn i'm depressed now. Right, off for a country walk.

    LordS - now HERE's something for the missus !


  18. The Dook makes good points; this dispute has a structured feel about it, and Berchie should indeed be given a blog - he actually wrote quite well about it only about a year ago, when we compared horrors. I worked as an agency postie in 2005 and it was a nightmare - dogs do attack you, and guys smelling of booze at 7am challenge you about missing mail. I had a stretch of Argyle St to do, in which the only clean close was one with a brothel at the top.

    I have to say though, on the working-class solidarity front, that regular posties tend to look down on agency workers - humankind is, after all, a hierarchical species - and I can think of several agency guys who would love to come back and strike break for top whack.

  19. Sorry, Montana, but Cyrus isn't quite the all-round groovy guy he's painted. That 'first charter of human rights' stuff is generally Iranian nationalist hooey. It's also not unique to Cyrus, but something he borrowed from Babylonian tradition. That said, as Empires go, the Persians were generally pretty tolerant laddies.

    As for the Post, be worth asking all these people railing at the PO service and wishing its destruction if they'd really rather have UK Mail or Home Delivery Network. As so often, the main reason for de-nationalisation doesn't seem to be an aim for greater efficiency, but the desire to make sure that when strikes happen, the govt isn't a party to them (what minister wants another Miners' Strike on their hands). The terms of denationalisation seem to be at the root of this. I'm getting more post than ever, and there must be a huge parcel delivery operation going on with the rise of net shopping, yet the PO, both management and workers - have been almost forcibly prevented from making money from it.

  20. Bitterweed - thanks for the Frame by Frame reminder - great to see Tony Levin with the weird Chapman stick, and the wonderful Bill Bruford too.

    I saw Adrian Belew when he was with Talking Heads, one of the best gigs ever...

    Now, there is some weird stuff going on at CiF - David Hare's long list of stuff he doesn't like being elevated into a major piece of writing, Marjorie double-barrelled doing some incomprehensible stuff about rugby and national status, and a leader suggesting that MI5 are being 'sneaky' in investigating terrorists. More deletions than you can wave a bottle of Tippex at, many of them the weirder end of 9/11 truth madness.

    Sometimes I really don't know what's going on.

    So here is Adrian Belew with Talking Heads.


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  22. Saw a busker at Piccadilly Circus playing a Chapman stick a week or so ago, which I thought was odd considering how much those things cost. Then I remembered that these were the LU Busker Approved Spaces which tend to be occupied by music students these days.

  23. My Lord: There are some great videos attempting to show how to play the stick or the related Warr guitar on YouTube - try Trey Gunn, demonstrating 21st Century Schizoid Man in his hotel room.

  24. Evening all

    Another day with my nose to the grindstone. I hate weekends where all I seem to do is work. None of it Iraq related in the end either. My sol still didn't know yesterday where the guy was!

    Ah well. All up to date, and a lot of what I have done is "billable" as opposed to just catching up on crap I have been too lazy to do in the week.

    I posted my comment on the PO scabs last night. Fuckers all of em. The PO are fuckers for taking on scab labour; Mandelson is Queen of the Fuckers for manipulating this all behind the scenes just so privatisation will go through - I wonder whose board he will be on when he gets his arse booted out of the Ministry next year? And the scabs themselves are also fuckers - yes they need the work. But so do the people whose jobs they are leeching.


  25. Evening BB

    You've been working all weekend - hard luck! We've had a big family gathering up here and it's been really good. Nobody fell out, kids on good form, lots of great food, booze and rustic walks - the Peak is gorgeously tranquil and autumnal at the moment.

    I've mainly stayed off the PO threads - makes me too cross. although Victoria C's piece is good and has got a lot of supportive comments.

    Its particularly galling that whilst the PO is putting the heavy screws on it's posties, the RBS has stashed £1.8bn of our money for bonuses and Goldman Sachs have said its on track to pay out its biggest ever bonuses to its 20,000 investment bankers this year.

    Plus ca change....

  26. I think Fuckers is the only word my brain is capable of using at the moment, sheff.

    Great to hear you had a good weekend though!

  27. walls and firing squads is what's going through my mind at the moment....

  28. Hehehehe.. and no blindfolds either!

  29. God those adverts make me laugh. The ones for the series "Most Haunted" on Living.

    Series should be called "People sitting in the dark scaring each other shitless"