09 November 2009

Daily Chat 09/11/09

The de Medici became rulers of Florence in 1494.  The Treaty of Seville was signed in 1729.  The Tokugawa Shogunate ceded power to the Emperor of Japan in 1867.  Jack the Ripper killed Mary Jane Kelly, his last known victim, in 1888.  Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918.  Kristallnacht began in 1938.  This date in 1963 was especially tragic in Japan.  An explosion at the Miike coal mine killed 458 people and sent 839 to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning, while in Yokohama, a three-train collision killed 160.  And the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.

Born today:  Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), Carl Sagan (1934-1996) and Billie August (1948).

It is Independence Day in Cambodia.


  1. In 1980, I visited a girl who'd been an exchange student here in my town the year before. She lived in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen? Watson?), not too far from the border. One day, she and her boyfriend took me to the site of Bergen-Belsen and then on to the border. It was a grey, misty day. Walking among the mass graves marked "Hier liegt" followed by numbers like 500 or 300, was depressing enough.

    But then we got to the border and I just wanted to cry. Electrified fence with razor wire on top for as far as the eye could see. My friend & her boyfriend were arguing about something and not paying much attention. I didn't realise that the pretty, little black, red and yellow obelisks marked the actual border and that the fence was actually quite a way into the DDR. I wanted to get closer, so I started across the field. I don't even know now how far I got before my friend realised where I was and screamed at me that there could be mines out there.

    It was one of the most sombre days of my life. It seemed so permanent and so hopeless then. Odd to think that it's gone. Why doesn't it feel better than it does?

  2. Can I just point out that my link yesterday claiming Culture Club's 'War song' being the greatest anti-war song of all time is so ironic that:

    - Iron Man is its favourite super hero.

    - 'Iron Man' by Black Sabbath is it's favourite song.

    - It's diet consists solely of Iron tablets washed down with litres of Irn Bru

    - and it realises ironically that Alanis Morrisette's 'Ironic' isn't in fact ironic.

    Thank you.

  3. Oh hi Montana, I think you can cancel that unanimous petition to boot the Duke off the site then....

  4. Lower Saxony is Niedersachsen in German, Montana, quite right. And from the description, it surely does sound like an extremely somber day.

  5. Just read the yesterday thread (Germany was quite a topic there, wasn't it?), and have to admit liking "Winds of Change" (although the claim it could turn the most radical free-market worshipper into the love-child of Brezhniev and Honecker was genius). I guess this isn't that much of a surprise after having quoted Bon Jovi here.

    However, if you want to really go for "annoying song connected to the end of the GDR", you can't find anything more fitting than "Freiheit" by Marius Müller Westerhagen (okay, you can always top that with "Looking for Freedom", but everyone wants to disremember that one).

  6. My favourite German band, and their (helpfully subtitled) song Denkmal


    anecdote - when they played the Garage, the touts had clocked that the entire German population of London were going to turn up, and one of them, being very clever, had asked a punter to tell him what 'buy or sell' was in german. Said punter had a bit of a joke with him. So when we walked past, it was to the sound of gales of laughter from the other punters.

    'Give or take', in the vernacular, not quite what he was meaning to say...

  7. OK, the subtitles are a bit iffy, but they help. Band is 'Wir Sind Helden', and they rock. First two albums in particular.

    here's 'Echolot' off the second, which is just gorgeous.

  8. Philippa, are they Bowie fans? I have a version of 'Heroes' that's partly in German, and IIRC it goes, 'dann sind wir helden'. (Disclaimer: I don't speak German!)

  9. Thauma - I wondered that as well (...wie Delphine doch schwimmen, and all that - have the same version on my Christiane F soundtrack) - their website is a little, um, idiosyncratic so there isn't an explanation on there, but other fan-blogs certainly make the connection, apparently based on interviews given.

  10. Hank you say:

    "I love Brooke's The Soldier too, for its lyrical beauty. The two poems bookend the war, the patriotic innocence and the ugly reality."

    You also say:

    "I'm open to peace talks. I'm not interested in people who retreat from the battleground and snipe from deep cover, if you understand this somewhat tortuous metaphor."

    That's what war poets do Hank - they often die, but before they do they metaphorically retreat and snipe.

    Once again you're out of your bunker, unrepentant and either all guns blazing or sniping - but your attack is all grunt - you are agent orange and I claim my 5 euros. When you stand on top of a mountain beating your chest you may want to consider why the defoliated hillside doesn't respond - no bird calls, no beauty, no one left to care.

    Hank - you're heavy artillery. I'm surprised you're lobbing grenades into Swifty's bunker - what (apart from your connection with C&W sentimentality) are you offering?

  11. Montana

    One good thing that came out of the awful border area you wrote so chillingly about:

    Wildlife Haven

    but also a new kind of battleground where developers and conservationists face each the other.

    I was thinking about the discussion which developed on UT yesterday about the experiences of GDR citizens after the fall of the wall.

    Hard to get a measure of the impact on the quality of life of the creeping insecurities that come with the current phase of western capitalism.

    Sheff raised an interesting point/query about the increasing rise in Stalin's popularity - a daily dose of the what may be perceived as the fickle and arbitrary nature of the distribution of 'good fortune' may have something to do with it.

    Here today gone tomorrow - aint much of an advert for a system. Freedom from worry is not that far removed from freedom from fear - and many will pay/give up a lot for that.

    Does having a choice between twenty different cars/tv's really make you happy if you are not sure you can afford or actually want any of them.

    My kids thus far seem to have taken a common view on contemporary economics - they all have said to me at one time or another "dad I agree time is worth more than money"

  12. parallaxview

    Had you noticed that the untrusted site now has two rooms - the one here and one connected over at untrusted too?

    Would a third room - a kind off cockpit or bull ring make the place better do you think?

    Last time I was over at "untrusted too" I noticed that you hadn't commented on the piece you prompted Montana to post in response to your last contribution here. I hoped that you might at least have indicated whether or not you thought the good lady might have read you perfectly or even to have misread you. That thread is not dead and you could still join the discussion there if you wish?

  13. deano - thanks but no I didn't know about the mirror rooms :) I'll stay here and wait ...

  14. parallaxview

    You may/may not know how these things work (it took me some time to work it out) there is a link to 'untrusted too' at the top right hand of this page.

    Or there is a direct link here:

    the parallaxview prompted piece on untrusted too

  15. Well at least you now have something to read whilst you are waiting.

    Many of us here are always hoping to encourage new or occasional posters to post here more frequently.

  16. deano - thanks - but I don't need an annexe or a bicycle shed to whisper behind - here's good enough for for me

    hey, how's the white-bearded mongrel community working out?

  17. oooops - shit, sorry deano - that should've had a :) attached - fuck it's hard to be normal when you're squaring for heavy artillery :)

    yeh c'mon hank

  18. Oh dear. Henry Porter's got all in a muddle about EU Law. A couple of weeks back someone else got the EU decision making process completely wrong.

    Why do these eds let this hogwash get published ? and then uncorrected ? Do they just want the controversy ?

  19. hey, how's the white-bearded mongrel community working out?

    Life continues to treat me with outrageous good fortune. I have more than sufficient to eat and I can afford to get outlandishly drunk whenever I feel a need. I find myself in a world full of wonderful lasses to flirt with. Supermarkets teem with talent that I can target for the odd improper suggestion or friendly leer.

    Aye Yorkshire continues to be a fine place.

    I did fear that I might have gone a little to far on Saturday - when I was upset by gunmen coming into my field and shooting grouse and pheasant.

    I took to shouting vulgar abuse at them. A silly thing to do when you live at the fringes of society - but I got away with it although the landowner did comment on my behaviour and blue outburst when he called around with a brace. It is true that you can get away with a lot if you have a full white beard and a reasonable smile...

    By the way untrusted too is a public room open to all there is no whispering or sheltering behind the smoke over there. It should not be confused with that phonebooth thing

    Hank rarely gets an opportunity to post during the day - the constraints of a working man so to speak.

  20. parallax
    Fair comment to me the other week , I didn't respond directly because I felt enough of an arse, and I think as I posted blind drunk I waived a right to reply. I would just like to add that the majority of my post, here and there, are not just splenetic and crazed outbursts of loathing. These days I usually actually prefer to piss about and take the mick rather than get all huffy, or just go straight for the facts on CiF if the article warrants it. Which they do half the time.

    I'm not as unwell as I sometimes seem %-)

  21. "It is true that you can get away with a lot if you have a full white beard and a reasonable smile..."

    Glad to hear about the brace Deano; the least he could do I'd have thought!

  22. Bitterweed mate - you may or may not recall the number of threads we've held hands and skipped through when you were DriveBy and Pierre - my best recollections are pissing off SpeedKermit to distraction - happy days :)

  23. BW "I would just like to add that the majority of my post, here and there, are not just splenetic and crazed outbursts of loathing."

    The evidence is in the reading and I read most of what you post and I don't find you sour, bitter or in need of treatment my younger friend.

    Dog walking calls

  24. DriveBy/DBA was an antagonistic heretical serial abuser, and I was very fond of him, but he had to die. Took about eight attempts ;-)

    Can you sort this thing Hank out ? You're all my mates ffs !

  25. Not sure why Swifty has been nominated this weeks target, Hank, is it because you disagreed with him about the role of the Red Army in the fall of Nazism?

    As for rugby, i played it at my state school, most state schools in the area played rugby, most of the Sussex squad were from state schools for my age group.

    The current England team is roughly 50:50 i think, so it is over-represented by private schools but school is wear rugby thrives, unlike football in the streets and parks - you need a lot of people for rugby and specialist roles, you cant just pick up a ball and get a park game going.

    In other countries there is no real class issue about the game at all, its just a sport - one that happens to be more predominantly private school based in this country.

    You're getting like Jekyll and Hyde, Hank, one minute you write very interesting stuff on all sorts of things and the next you're just charging around looking for a fight. In the time you've spent jousting with an absent Swifty you could have written another actual piece for UT2 like your last one (which was excellent).

  26. Hilariously idiotic article on the euromillions lottery winners

    The author argues that non-millionaires can't deal with that amount of money, unlike Bankers who have worked hard to earn theirs and that those born into money have a natural affinity with it.

    It's getting one of those left and right unite kickings.

  27. heh heh, your grace, am there at the minute - just wondering how to phrase my response. am particularly loving the 'smugometer' comment so far...

  28. Brill, 13thD - my favourite (non UT, of course) comment so far, by Amberjack:

    Has anybody got a spare smugometer? Mine just melted.

  29. My Duke I will go and check that out - sounds like a laugh - which I need after reading about the Americans lack of any welfare over on UT2!

  30. Some quality comedy going on today - the "politicans jogging" thread could turn into a doozy...

  31. Hey, dudes & dudettes! Unexpected day off work today. Arrived at my place of employment this morning and entered the staff lounge to put my lunch in the refrigerator. Nose assaulted by the stench of seriously soured milk. Drawer in which I normally store my lunch has nearly an inch of sour milk standing in it, with another half inch or so on the bottom of the fridge. (We're talking one of your huge American-sized fridges here, not one of those little namby-pamby European things.)

    It took me an hour to get the damn thing cleaned out and relatively stench-free, during which time at least half a dozen other staff members commented that they'd noticed the smell when they put their lunches in there. I was going to have to come home to change my clothes, since I'd gotten sour milk on myself in the course of cleaning the damn fridge, and somewhat facetiously remarked to my supervising teacher that I was half-tempted to stay home and take the rest of the day as a sick day. She replied, "Or just put the time on your timecard anyway." So, with her blessing -- I have the rest of the day off!

  32. Bah, missing all the fun - been slaving away over on a EU thread to approxomately 1.3 other readers !

  33. Congrats on having the foresight to turn the fridge off before leaving on Friday, Montana!

  34. "during which time at least half a dozen other staff members commented that they'd noticed the smell when they put their lunches in there"

    Ah, yes, the vague and flimsy "oh, I noticed something was wrong..." when you've spent (for example) fifteen minutes kicking the photocopier - well, sweetheart, couldn't you have a) done something or b) told me, while you watched me getting covered in ink and swearing at the bloody thing? I loved working in a team...

    Still - hurrah! snow day for Montana. jogging thread getting a bit icky. I do not want to be considering 'who's cuter? Gore or Cameron?' when I've just bloody eaten...

  35. "I do not want to be considering 'who's cuter? Gore or Cameron?"

    Stomach churning.

  36. Montana - great, nothing like a gift of non work time to set the week off to a grand start.

    Enjoy the unexpected time.

  37. You see the rugby Thaum?

    Another majestic display by England. It must really shake teams up to see Borthwick planning one of his 4 inch pick and drives after 2 minutes of standing around plotting. Its worse than watching schoolboy rugby cos schoolboys never do that, at least kids chuck it around a bit and have a bit of confidence with the ball.

    Dismal, as ever, other than JW - im sorry but ROG just does not compare, they are on different plains of quality. His kicking was good, his drop kick, and his tackling was immense, dumping 2nd rows...

    I think we're gonna get pasted by both Ireland and Wales though this year, we have nowhere near as many quality players as either of them.

  38. 'Course I did, Jay. I think you ought to do the commentary though.

    Was sitting with 3 unhappy Welsh gits. Most common overheard phrase: "what is the fucking point of kicking away possession every time you get the fucking ball?"

  39. Ugh - from Invereigh, the catholic pundit:

    The two British lottery winners who are preparing to collect £45m each from Friday's EuroMillions draw should allow themselves a quiet moment for a sob of despair. In its effects on their lives, their sudden fortune will be more like the sudden death of a close relative

    Suffering is good for us apparently, we must "embrace it" because it's redeeming and character building. Sounds like a softening up process for the horrors to come

  40. Congrats on having the foresight to turn the fridge off before leaving on Friday, Montana!

    The truth of the matter is that some fuckwit put a gallon of milk in there, apparently more than a month ago, on its side in a shopping bag and then forgot about it. The sell-by date was 15 Oct and it had never been opened, but the souring process caused it to rupture the plastic jug.

    Of course, if you asked every single staff person there if it was their milk, they would deny it to the hills. And these arsewipes go into their classrooms and lecture their students about character and responsibility!

  41. a gallon? how big is this fridge? am strangely reminded of dick cheney and his 'man-size safe'...

  42. Would it be callous of me to observe that I have a few relatives that I'd be glad to be shot of for £45 million?

  43. I didnt see the welsh game at all, how was it? I think Wales and Ire will both beat Oz, if they are playing them this autumn. Oz werent good, we were just woeful, as usual... Steve Borthwick would struggle to make ballboy for any other international team, yet not only do we have him he is the captain for christs sake. Liked the new prop tho, David Wilson, think he'll be a good'n, big lad too.

  44. Like I said, Phil. It's a big-ass American fridge. It's probably 2 metres high, not quite one metre wide.

  45. For £45m you could get rid of your whole town, Montana, thats about 75 million dollars.

  46. Jay - Dan Carter just preventing Wales equalising at the end by employing a high tackle (not even a penalty handed out but I think it's gone to the disciplinary committee) - but the truth is that Wales never looked threatening the whole game. Not great rugby.

    Thought England played well in first quarter.

    I'm too fascinated by the shape of Borthwick's nose to notice how he's playing.

    Montana - other than being overly large, it sounds like my fridge.

  47. Evening all

    Another day bored at home. Time I was back to work really. Doesn't look like it is going to happen until Wednesday, though. My voice is virtually non-existant, which is not very useful in my job.

    At last they have done an article about female sex abusers. Needless to say some of the numpties are out although surprisingly not the ones you would automatically think of.

  48. Never mind winning £45m on the lottery - it's the small things in life that make you happy. I've just been in my local low-price supermarket, and for the first time in about 8 months, they had Heinz Baked Beans! I bought 12 tins, and will be going back tomorrow. I'm running a bit low on HP sauce though, so now I'm a bit depressed again because it costs nearly £4 for a small bottle here.

    I hope you don't mind me sharing that, it's just that it made my day.

  49. BeautifulBurnout
    How can you be bored ?? Aren't they re-running Top Gear and Cops with Cameras and Columbo and - best of all - Sharpe - on cable all day long ?

    I love being ill.

  50. Be happy to send you some sauce scherf - red or brown?

  51. BeautifulBurnout
    I'm steering clear of the abuse one. Living as I do with someone who has shed loads of knowledge - social work and therapy background, working with very damaged kids in medium secure units, now a personality disorder worker, I seem to understand the area a bit better than most posters, and can't be arsed. And it's her. Esther. I wish she'd bog off, even if she is right.

  52. I made a stunning shepherds pie the other day. Stunning. Butter & milk in the mash, the lot. Not an ounce of lard in sight.

  53. BW - you can't seriously expect us to believe that.

  54. The stunning-shepherd's-pie-with-no-lard one.

  55. scherfig - baked beans! €4 a can here... mind, flatmate recently had a trip home and came back with custard powder, mint sauce, lea&perrins, cadburys' choc powder, oh it was heaven. i stock up whenever they get hellmans in the 'epicerie du monde' aisle, even though that requires a mortgage...

    my Christmas fortnight back in Blighty will mostly be spent eating fish'n'chips, curry, and cake.

    i firmly intend to be a stone heavier by the time i return to france. it will be wonderful

  56. Scherf - get Sheff to send you some Sheffield Relish.

    It goes brill in Shepherd's pie BW

    Henderson's Sheffield Relish"

  57. Philippa, todays baked beans were a snip at 72p a tin (practically nobody likes them here). You can get Lea & Perrins fairly easily though at an inflated, but not extortionate price. Custard doesn't exist here and neither does mint sauce (there's not even much lamb to be had.)

    BITTERWEED - since you're so fuckin' proud of your shepherd's pie, please tell me that you used a good dollop of Lea & Perrins in the meat sauce. If you didn't, then I'm sorry and thx for all the tunes, but you are dead to me!

  58. thauma - no seriously, I can actually cook up a storm usually. I think "Lardgate" was a combination of anumber of factors, not least that I was unpstairs blogging in the study instead of concentrating on my "methods" closeley enough... so really, I'm blaming you.

  59. Hehehe - you ex-pats bring back fond memories of all the stuff I used to stock up on when I came home. Marmite, custard powder, HP sauce, proper curry powder, peanut butter.

    Now I end up bringing all the stuff back from France that I miss from there. Tins of Mont Blanc - caramel flavour. Tins of choucroute garni. The naughty tortured duck stuff that will remain nameless. Confit de canard. Gesiers. Proper mustard. And lots of wine, of course.

  60. Thanks for the tip, PS my brother in law lives in totley (council house, not footballers mansion)

    Will get him to send some of that down. Cheers Deano !

  61. scherfig
    Cut me open and I have Lea and Perrins written down my middle. Fear not !

    Right - off to face the traffic. Back laters.

  62. deano, crossed posts! I use L&P in me shepherd's pie, but I've heard great things about Hendersons. I'd love to try it.

  63. scherf - the 'mint sauce' one can purchase here (with a very 'British' name) is nowt more than a jar of vinegar with a couple of leave floating in it. if you got more than a spoonful of proper 'sauce' out of it you'd be lucky, and you'd have to put it in a tea strainer first. custard, as you say, confuses everybody.

  64. I ruined my ex-bf's nieces' lives by introducing them to proper custard instead of the wishy-washy creme anglaise stuff. I take bricks of ready-made Devon Custard down to them when I go and see them now.

    I'd forgotten about mint sauce, Philippa. And tea bags - Yorkshire Tea. Nothing like it.

  65. kizbot's comment on the Catholic suffering thread (also known as the "Winning the Lottery is a Tragedy" thread) made me think of the Saw movies (not that I've ever seen one, but I've heard about the concept of the killer).

    Life isn't tough and unpleasant because that is good for your character; life is shit because people are arseholes, and I reckon this Ivereigh guy isn't the least of those.

    On the other hand, the revered Saint Oscar wrote similar stuff about suffering when he was imprisoned and, well, suffering. But then again, he had quite an arseholic side to himself, too.

  66. Mint sauce is for wimps - mint jelly is where it's at.

    I love the nameless duck stuff too. I once took an American client to a very pricy Paris restaurant, and ordered the 'you know what'. I recommended that he taste it, and told him how delicious it was. He was adamant in his refusal, and when I finally realised that he didn't know what it actually was, I said to him 'You have no idea what this is, do you?' He just grinned and said, 'Nope, no idea, but I take one look at it and I know that it's really fuckin' bad for you.' Top bloke but typical American fitness nut. Although, that said, he once barbecued a steak for me in Texas that must have weighed about 400 kilos. Tasted lovely.

  67. Henderson's Relish - the taste of South Yorkshire

    My daughter actually worked for them for a short while - still operating out of an ancient building with equally ancient staff and equipment - it's a very eccentric place.

  68. Interesting one, suffering. The classic Christian view is "well you suffer in this life but there will be joy in heaven" or some such.

    From a Buddhist perspective, you "suffer what there is to suffer and enjoy what there is to enjoy" as both are part of life and it is no use getting your knickers in a knot about either of them. Although there is also the thing about suffering being a way of getting rid of that aspect from your Karma so you won't have to suffer from that bit again next time round - which I suppose is not entirely different to the Christian version.

  69. All this talk of great British foodstuffs reminds me of this Viz letter:

    ''The other day I had 9 mini kievs, 5 onion rings, chow mein supernoodles and a bag of Walls cheesy balls. Have any of your readers had a more council house meal than that?''

    - Tim Buck

  70. I need sauce, so it can go in yoghurt as a side for curry (I make quite hot curry - it helps to have some form of abatement near to hand). And big fat green broad beans with olive oil and garlic.

    and 'creme anglaise' is just weak vanilla milkshake. scorn it. scooooooorn it.

    hungry. am making macaroni-cauli-cheese.

  71. Wot, no Angel Delight for dessert?

  72. Damn you people. I can't get any of this stuff here, you know.

  73. And I really wanted a good rant about the fuckwits on the thread about the letter Gordon Brown sent to the bereaved mother.

  74. And I STILL haven't posted stuff too you, Montana. I have been stuck in the house for nearly a week with the lurgey, but that is no excuse for not having done it earlier. Sorry hon. Will get my ass into gear.

  75. but but but - Montana - can you really get peanut butter and jam in the same jar? in stripes?

    and you get baconnaise, I saw it on the daily show.

    any sauce that has a 'tales and poems' section on its website is fine by me, sheff. i will confess to a liking for gentleman's relish meself, which doubles up as an ant repellant and covering scratches on a creosote fence.

  76. "Although there is also the thing about suffering being a way of getting rid of that aspect from your Karma so you won't have to suffer from that bit again next time round - which I suppose is not entirely different to the Christian version."

    Yeah, sort of continual assessment as opposed to a final exam...very NuLabour. Problem with Christianity is the insistence on the idea of an eternal soul and the no pain no gain ideology which has ensured so many bleak and brutish existences for so many down the centuries; some enduring misery stoically and some having it forced upon them by others for their own good. Least with Buddhism the idea isn't so clear cut. Isn't the idea the complete annihilation of the self?

  77. review of cautioning - any view BB? because if under the current guidelines they're being used for ABH and rape (one case being cited a lot) then somebody, somewhere, needs smacking round the head with a rolled up wardrobe. in my humble...

  78. Whoops, just checked the latest WDY thread. Another stern talking for all those restless chippy working class heroes. You know who you are.

    This time delivered by a poster who described the posts of a certain monkeyfish as "basically obnoxious schtick" but, when reassessing a collection of his previously deleted insults (this time allegedly written by feisty, middle-class, female, air-head:radical chic) she claimed to have fallen a little bit in love with her.

    I'm completely at a loss to explain her sudden change of heart. Certainly, any suggestion that she might be harbouring a few illiberal and elitist prejudices, would be completely wide of the mark...after all we're dealing with a scrupulously objective poster renowned for her sweet-natured banter and open-mindedness. So how to explain the remarkable 180 degree critical reversal? hmmmm...

    All I can suppose is that she was referring to a completely different monkeyfish...and she actually loves me too. Nice...just all those other nasty ones who get on her nerves.

  79. Phillipa - Patum Pepperium - yum! My Father adored it and so do I. Next to Gorgonzola which my Mother insisted he kept in the garden shed (as it stank the fridge out), it was his most favourite thing.

  80. Oooh and another shows up.

    Anyway, gotta run. You know what they say...another day another opera. I sometimes wonder how I find time for all the charity work.

  81. Cautioning is when the CPS have got no case on paper and the perp won't cough unless they have a caution dangled in front of them as a carrot. In the case of rape the only reason I can possibly think of is that the victim was so unreliable and the perp of such squeaky-clean character that they felt it was the only way to get it on his record, as it were.

    But yes - I am all for it being reviewed. More cautions = fewer cases = less money for me :p

    (Not I am not really that cynical... honest)

    MF - annihilation of the self? More annihilation of the ego, really. In other words, becoming so content and at ease with life that nothing phases you any more. I wish.

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  83. BB - I think the offender in the rape case was a minor, which would suggest that the victim may also have been young, so maybe they were seeking to avoid putting her up to give evidence. Which I can understand, in terms of her welfare. But that one still gave me a chill.

    anyway, am amusing myself reading the evolution thread. some guy is confused by fish, and is taking a real kicking...

  84. This comment has been removed by the author.

  85. "MF - annihilation of the self? More annihilation of the ego, really."

    Do Buddhists make the distinction?

    "In other words, becoming so content and at ease with life that nothing phases you any more. I wish."

    Tried lager?..lots of it?
    "I'm not an alcoholic I'm just seeking Nirvana."

    This guy didn't...


    Especially liked this bit..

    "I’m pleased that my mother, Najwa Ghanem, who was my father’s first cousin, was his first wife. The position of the first wife is prestigious in my culture, and that prestige is tripled when the first wife is a first cousin and mother of a first son. Rarely does a Muslim man divorce a wife who is a cousin and the mother of the firstborn son. My parents were bound by blood, marriage, and parenthood."

    Explains a lot really. Bin Laden isn't a religious psychopath, he's just trailer trash...and you know what they say..."give a pikey a loaded airliner...and you're asking for trouble."

  86. LOL

    It is true, though. The marrying of first cousins is a very prestigious thing in Muslim countries. Although that sounds rather icky to us here, the fact is it isn't against the law in the UK either.

    Bin Laden is rich as f00k though. Which is why I never bought all this "hiding in caves in Bora Bora" bit. He is more likely to be hiding out in the Penthouse of the Intercontinental Hotel in Bali.

  87. BB, just saw your response to 'wotever' on rantzen's thread. Very well said, but fucks like her posting bile and madness are why I jacked Cif in a few months back. BB, you can contribute much more here than you ever can in that madhouse, imho. Cif just gets worse and worse, both ATL and BTL. Very depressing, really. Still, I admire your perseverance :o)

  88. Hehehe - cheers scherf. I flit about like a bumble bee looking for nectar really. Some articles I glance at the titles and think waste of time, others I read first and then decide they are a waste of time. But some get my attention. That post from wotever is obnoxious, though. How would someone feel if I posted saying that teenage girls all really want a sugar daddy and fantasise about older men, in a response to a thread on male paedophiles? I'd be skinned alive!

  89. LOL - how fukken shallow am I?

    The only time I ever recommend one of my own posts is when I see one person has recommended it and I don't want people to think it's me recommending my own posts.

    That is some kind of fuxx0rd when you think about it!

  90. I haven't seen the female perps thread yet, but the one comment I'd make about the sugar daddy analogy -- when Mary Kay leTourneau got caught having an affair with a 13 year old student, every man on television raved about what a fantasy that would have been and how much they'd have loved to have had something like that happen to them at that age.

    I'm not saying what she did wasn't wrong (far from it) or that women can't be paedophiles, but the nearly universal male reaction to a 35 year old female teacher (albeit a pretty one) screwing a 13 year old student was one that amounted to, "The lucky little shit."

  91. @parallax - what am I offering? My opinions. You're free to listen or to ignore, take your pick. And make your mind up, I'm either agent orange or heavy artillery. Can't be both. No 5 euros for you this time.

    @Jay - I've always been Jekyll and Hyde(-;

    If you've read the whole of yesterday's thread, you'll notice that I didn't bring swifty up, I simply responded to scherfig, the damned stirrer.

    I was asked to explain my position, which I have done. I am prepared to accept the judgement of others that he is in fact an excellent chap, and would be quite happy to discuss the matter with him directly should we be around here at the same time.

    As I said, if he's not interested then we can simply post around each other on here.

  92. Hank, 'stirrer' is such a vulgar word - I prefer agent provocateur. And with that bon mot, I'm off out to the fuckin' ballet, me. Loadsa skinny women wi' no breasts and geezers with their wedding tackle visible for all to see! Culture, innit?

  93. Oh shit. Just saw the comment from whatthedoormousesaid. That is one sick puppy.

  94. Apparently I only criticised his post out of spite, montana. Dork.

    Ballet. Geezers tackle. Mmmm.. have fun scherf.

  95. "Stirrer" wasn't the most vulgar word that immediately sprang to mind, scherf...

    Like the new standfirst btw, Montana!

  96. And wotever. Two fuckwits. One thread. And I'm not even done reading the first 50.

  97. Hahahahah! I've only just spotted that. Nice one, Montana!

  98. I like to think of Hank more as Dr Jeckyll and Mr Heckle really...

  99. "Loadsa skinny women wi' no breasts and geezers with their wedding tackle visible for all to see!"

    Fuckin hell scherfig, tone it down.

    "As I said once before, I live and work in a very civilised environment surrounded by extremely attractive and well-bred people."

    ...and your vulgar imagery is putting right off the idea of my planned candlelight supper. It's at a very exclusive little place and I'm going with a guy who had to kill two ninja sentries with his bare hands, swim a shark infested moat, disable the pitbulls and shin up a sheer 50ft greased parapet just to leave the snow white orchids which finally persuaded me to accompany him.

    He's a real man and keeps his wedding tackle well concealed and your gratuitous and ill-advised mention of the same has reminded me just why I vowed never to grace this place with my serene presence again. Pleb.

  100. I did harbour hopes of being Mr Hyde actually, BB, but Marina no longer returns my calls.

  101. Scherfig,

    I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that it's time for me to jack in my inconsequential ramblings on CiF.

    I feel I keep repeating the same thing over and over and CiF is definitely getting scummier (a word I don't use lightly).

    It's the nature of the beast, so much easier to be a right wing reactionary muppet spouting bile online than it is to give considered reflection and because the Graun positions itself as left liberal it's like moths to a flame.

    The consistently good posters outside of the UT such as ellis, PeterGuillam, olching, LesterJones (amongst others) don't post nearly as much as they used to. The thoughtful postings are getting drowned in a morass of ignorant as pigshit comments.

    And while CiF does deserve credit (I thought their 1989 series was done well) I just don't think they realise what's coming- a neocon tsunami of blistering proportions. Gender/Racial politicking just ain't going to defend us against the economic onslaught that's on its way.

    And that's the thing they don't get- 'it's the economy stupid,' not discussing your nanny at lunchtimes or vapid sixth form essays on race and gender.

    I've always said the Graun has its heart in the right place but it is deluded in crucial ways.

    I was also disappointed with the complete lack of 'working class' experience of recession articles that many people asked for.

    Anyway, their ball, their game. I'll still post occasionally but it's much more fun here.

    If nobody minds I'll spout my deeply tedious postings here. And I promise no mention of Culture Club.....

  102. What he actually means was the police advised her to change her number, go ex-directory and move to another time zone. Not content with misogynistic abuse as part of a campaign to make the internet a men-only environment, Hank has now taken to stalking any woman who dares work in the mainstream media.

  103. Did I tell you I've got Melanie Phillips on speed dial, MF?

  104. MF - you sound like a Milk Tray advert.

    Hank - Marina's picky these days, isn't she?

    Your Grace - I am still taken aback by all the "yeah but you're just a commie - Team America Fuck Yeah!" comments on the Bruni de la Motte thread. OK, so I was being a bit red-reactionary on there, but it is supposed to be a left wing newspaper, ffs, and all we seem to have these days are BNP fellow travellers and (present company excepted Montana) Americans stuck in the 80s. It is getting tedious. But I do like a good scrap too.

    The other thing that worries me is that if we all throw in the towel, the place will be left to the numpties.

  105. Well Monkeyfish

    I wasn't going to post as I've been busy - operas you know - but I did want to make one thing clear as something you posted on Saturday puzzled me. You seemed to imply that you were removed from Cif after I had posted, which gave a rather strange impression that I somehow had something to do with it.

    Get this straight - in the two and a half years since I have been on Cif I have never once contacted the mods or anyone else at the Guardian. Even when I've had a few post deleted I've never emailed them to complain. Unlike some people I don't think that my points of view are so important that I should make a fuss when something is removed. In life you win some and lose some.

    I wanted to clear that up. Also it's rare that I report abuse and I certainly had no comment to make on your childish way of continually posting on CiF under another name. You're always getting kicked off and must be used to it by now, so don't make me the scapegoat for what happens with regular monotony.

    Paranoia does seem to be setting in with some posters here and your comment that I would be glad to see you thrown off CiF was so childish and self-obsessed that I couldn't bring myself to say that frankly, I don't give a damn and have better things to do with my time.

    Every time things aren't as you like (though you're not alone in this on UT) you behave like Violet Elizabeth Bott shouting "I'll thscream and I'll thscream and I'll thscream till I get my own way."

    Grow up there's a good boy.

    There's one other thing. A few weeks ago a rather nasty psycho posted on CiF. Perhaps I'm being paranoid now (it's catching on here) but that wouldn't have been you would it? Only I'd hate it if the nicer posters on here were inadvertently mixing with some nasty piece of scum whose fantasies centred on female mutilation.

    But I'm sure my suspicions are misplaced.

  106. Carlos Acosta is my main man... ballet wise...

  107. You're accusing MF of posting fantasies centred on female mutilation. Wow, that's what you call raising the bar.

    Still, worse things happen, Bru. Like the Holocaust.

  108. Your Grace, I'm still having trouble keeping the Culture Club off my internal radio, but I'm still happy you're here.

    As for Marina -- you'd think Hank would be a huge improvement for someone who's apparently been with Piers Morgan (in a biblical sense).

  109. Perhaps she did, perhaps she didn't MW... Still, I wouldn't want to have all the 'wrong uns' I've shagged listed against me... It wouldn't look at all good...

  110. "You seemed to imply that you were removed from Cif after I had posted, which gave a rather strange impression that I somehow had something to do with it."

    WTF are you talking about? When did I do that?

    "Paranoia does seem to be setting in with some posters here and your comment that I would be glad to see you thrown off CiF was so childish and self-obsessed that I couldn't bring myself to say that frankly, I don't give a damn and have better things to do with my time."


    "Every time things aren't as you like (though you're not alone in this on UT) you behave like Violet Elizabeth Bott shouting "I'll thscream and I'll thscream and I'll thscream till I get my own way."

    OK...an example please.

    "There's one other thing. A few weeks ago a rather nasty psycho posted on CiF. Perhaps I'm being paranoid now (it's catching on here) but that wouldn't have been you would it?"

    OK so now any random psycho poster is me yeah? Who are we talking about? You really are pathetic. Frankly, anyone who can post, in all seriousness, something like...

    "As I said once before, I live and work in a very civilised environment surrounded by extremely attractive and well-bred people."

    must be taking the piss or totally lacking in any form of self awareness. Please prove your not a complete fantasist by even partially substantiating anything you've said or accused me of. And...when you can't, please accept that your credibility stands at a point commonly known as zero.

  111. "give a pikey a loaded airliner...and you're asking for trouble."

    You funny fuxcking guy MF.

    By the way, it's great how Brussels and Aid orgs are saving the world. Here's the editor of "This is Africa" for The Financial Times on Aid and Brussels :

    "I have just come back from European Development Days in Stockholm, the EU's annual aid community get-together. Here you can get to see what next year's fashion in development will be, and meet with the new donors on the scene. There were sizeable displays from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia, for example, who have recently begun to operate national development agencies."

    "Accession countries do not give aid entirely for altruistic reasons, nor do they do so simply because they have bought into the global self-interest. They do it with at least one eye on Brussels, and probably both. Aid gives a disproportionate amount of influence – not in Africa, but in Europe. Aid gets you a seat at the table within the UN. Aid is not designed to be efficient, it is designed to be influential. This is why our own development agency, the Department for International Development, has been so committed to European multilateralism."

    "It is thus inevitable that there are hypocrisies. That is why subsidies – particularly in agriculture – destroy what aid builds and why donor cash is used for elaborate ceilings in Geneva. It is why vast amounts of money are spent on the proliferation of isolated projects that have little or no system-wide impact on poverty alleviation."

    So it's just possible, according to that reknowned Marxist rag the FT, that the whole racket is run for greed and self interest and actually has negligible impact on the lives of little brown people after all; I guess it could almost by definition attract extremely well-bred self-aggrandising sanctimonious tossers with an eye on the main chance and a nasty habit of secretly despising anyone who didn't go to a public school.

    Who'd have thought it ?!

  112. Back much later. Got to go and rape an old prozzie down Rotten Row then see how my pack of feral glue-sniffers have got on with the xmas orphanage burglaries today.

  113. No BW. I'm a psycho poster with a big hole in my memory. Apparently. I have it on the authority of a deluded piece of Eurotrash who is about to substantiate her lurid claims with a series of links...I think.


    Good grief.

    Bru - I remember that person on Waddya a few weeks ago, and I seriously don't believe it was anybody on here. In fact, I seem to remember Hank commenting on here about how out of order the person was at the time, but I don't believe it was one of the UT crew.

    Kiz - I went to the ballet for the first time in years a few months back and really enjoyed it. I saw this and two other pieces, and it was absolutely amazing.

  115. white trash, euro trash, fashion trash, airheads and sluts... what's the world not like!

  116. Knowing her in a biblical sense turned her hair white...

  117. MW - Eurotrash. Unnecessary.

    I know the poster Bru is referring to and I am damned sure it is not anyone here, least of all you. But comparing her to Antoine de Caunes' worst TV moment ever is taking this a tad too far imo.

    I'll shut up now and drink more wine.

    I don't do arguments very well without the fancy dress on.

  118. Quality post, BW. There is a bigger issue, of course, surrounding the whole concept of charity itself, ie that it's a fucking sticking plaster on the wounds inflicted by capitalism. And that those who shout the loudest about their charitable works tend also to be more likely than most to be avoiding the tax they rightly owe.

    And that there would be little need for charity if these rich bastards actually paid their taxes.

    Nauseating hypocrisy.

  119. Evening goddesses and potential rapists (sorry, it's been a wee while since the last Bindel thread):

    My oh my, you lot have been busy since I escaped work.

    Just to respond to a few random comments:

    Philippa: you get baconnaise - do not eat American bacon. It is not real bacon and deserves also to be scorned.

    MF - Least with Buddhism the idea isn't so clear cut. Isn't the idea the complete annihilation of the self? Being a selfish cow, I don't like this idea any more than the "you must suffer for your own good" one. The sense of self is what makes people interesting. It can also be what makes them supremely annoying, so there's a happy medium to be found somewhere.

    13thDuke - I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that it's time for me to jack in my inconsequential ramblings on CiF. - Oh no, please don't! We need some sane people to stay.

  120. Oh yes Piers Morgan - mind when you're inexperienced and impressionable, a bit gullible, a bit liable to fall for a skilled predator, and some talented, experienced looker gives you the glad eye - I expect you fall the same way Piers did.

  121. Edwin - tru dat.

    Kiz is right. I would be thoroughly ashamed if someone judged me by some of the complete numpties I have had in my bed over the years.

  122. Who the fuck is Piers Morgan? Should I worry?

    Not that I'm trying to turn the conversation from attacks on other posters AT ALL, but how about a girly perv moment? Any sensible woman would be thinking, "I don't believe a word you're saying, but I'll shag you anyway."

    Blokes - do you have similar blind spots that don't involve Beyoncé-style crap music as well?

  123. "I don't believe it was one of the UT crew..."

    Whatever some on here might think of some of the others, I find it unbelievable that Bru's slander hasn't been dismissed out of hand, BB.

    I'm sure that this little mystery could be resolved easily enough if Bru foreswore her principled stance and approached the Cif editorial team to check the IP address of the poster in question and confirm their identity.

    If she's not prepared to do so, then she should withdraw the comment. It's fucking disgraceful.

  124. "MW - Eurotrash. Unnecessary."

    MF? surely..

    OK possibly unworthy, but I've been accused of all sorts of shit and I'm still waiting for any kinda corroboration. Not even bothered about the psycho troll accusation, that's just a bit of mad arm flailing and barrel scraping.

    I'd just settle for a link to where..

    ""You seemed to imply that you were removed from Cif after I had posted, which gave a rather strange impression that I somehow had something to do with it."

    or even..where and when this took place..

    "Paranoia does seem to be setting in with some posters here and your comment that I would be glad to see you thrown off CiF was so childish and self-obsessed that I couldn't bring myself to say that frankly, I don't give a damn and have better things to do with my time."

    and, an example of..

    "Every time things aren't as you like (though you're not alone in this on UT) you behave like Violet Elizabeth Bott shouting "I'll thscream and I'll thscream and I'll thscream till I get my own way."

    I want to know what I've been demanding..I genuinely don't remember making any demands.


  125. Yeh, Duke, we've all gone through that moment where we think we're wasting our energy posting on Cif and that we should give it up. Unfortunately, for some of us, the mods reach the same conclusion before we do.

    You've hit the wall, you'll get a second wind soon enough. As others have said, you can't leave the field wide open to the dribbling right-wingers.

  126. But, if we've got to the point where we just throw out unsubstantiated random claims...

    You go stomping on seal cubs every year in a pair of stilettos.

    Your real name's Eric and you've got a moustache.

    Last week you posted that you were, in fact, a satanic chicken abuser.

    See...easy isn't it.

  127. "The sense of self is what makes people interesting. It can also be what makes them supremely annoying, so there's a happy medium to be found somewhere."

    But there's not a lot to suggest that the 'self' isn't a complete delusion. An evolutionary attribute which saves us from existential despair...a brief period of introspection will prove just how elusive the self can be.

  128. PS

    I'm still waiting...and your credibility is sinking like a lead turd.

  129. Can't have been Hank posting that nasty troll stuff cos he reamed me for getting on a bourgeois one with the mods for reporting it...

  130. Ahem...

    Oddly, this song came up as a related one from the Roxy vid I published upstream.

    Sinéad O'Connor's brother Joseph is a cracking novelist - read "The Salesman" - and made some rather humourous remarks once about his (nameless) rather over-excitable sister that had caused the family to feel obliged to apologise to the pope....

    And here is a mind-blowingly brilliant live version of "She Moved Through the Fair".

  131. Thanks, kiz, that's a vote of confidence. I thought you might have said "it can't have been Hank posting that nasty troll stuff cos hatever else he might be, he's not a sick twisted fucker".

    But yeh, for the avoidance of doubt, it wasn't me.

  132. Satanic chicken abuser - no, that was me.

  133. Oh I've got you down as a twisted fucker alright Hank... just not in that sense...

  134. Blimey. I can't get into serious conversations about the Buddhist concept of "self" cos I am not learned enough on the subject and also I have drunk half a bottle of Cotes de Rhone.

    I will get the old man on hear to talk about the theoretical stuff if you like. He is shit hot at it. I am shite at it.

  135. MF

    But there's not a lot to suggest that the 'self' isn't a complete delusion. An evolutionary attribute which saves us from existential despair...a brief period of introspection will prove just how elusive the self can be.

    Mm, perhaps - but notice I said the "sense of self", which is a rather different thing.

    Obviously the actual self will die and be obliterated from human memory within, if you're lucky, 2 generations unless you're Shakespeare or something: and even that sort of memory isn't the "self" but the "remembered and interpreted self, as seen by others".

    Still, there is some spark of the individual that I choose to label the "self" that is fascinating, and that is really what makes life interesting: one's own "self" coming in conflict or mutual admiration, or any other sort of emotion, with that of another.

  136. Well, that's alright then. Your opinion matters to me.

  137. But answer came there none...

    Can't be hard to find..you claim I said this stuff on Saturday..so where the fuck is it?

    More than an hour now..come on I've gotta go soon.

  138. POP..your credibility just burst. You are officially a paranoid fantasist with a nasty habit of making unwarranted accusations. How d'you that'll work for you?

  139. And don't come back tomorrow and tell me you were at the fuckin opera. You're reading this.

  140. Let it go, MF. She works for the EU, she needs two days to pen a brief memo. She'll be back with more unsubstantiated bollix by Wednesday, I reckon, assuming that she hasn't had an attack of self-awareness in the meantime.

  141. "Mm, perhaps - but notice I said the "sense of self", which is a rather different thing."

    Well, if it's a delusion, you'd have to say sense of self.

    See, I'm not convinced. I have a sense of self based probably on a continuous set of memories or a sense of a perpetual consciousness, but I was willing to put my sense of self on hold while I was waiting for certain 'revelations' which I was expecting to come my way, indicating I'd done all sorts of things of which I had no recollection...which implies even my 'sense of self' is contingent, to say nothing of the self itself.

  142. Well she can come waltzing back any time she likes, but until she backs up any of that crap, I'll feel free to treat her as a feeble minded lying hypocrite. That seems fair.

  143. So anyway

    (quickly changes subject)

    There's me arguing with the Old Man about what to watch on telly, and he says "Oooh xyz is on" and I say "But that is a repeat of last week's" And he says "You say that as if I saw last weeks" and I say "Just because you put it on and then fall asleep during it doesn't mean you haven't seen it". And he says "You don't make much sense for a barrister, do you?"

    More wine Janie? Yeah, why not!


  144. Your "sense of self" is indeed contingent, more so than the self itself.

    On a not unrelated point, saw a review in the Obs yesterday of the previously unreleased fourth volume of Sartre's Roads to Freedom. Unfinished, and fragments pieced together by the sound of it, but what the hell. It's on my Xmas pressie list.

    The Reprieve is one of the finest novels I've ever read.

  145. Oh for fuck's sake - Bru's accusations are unfounded as far as I can see, but she didn't start this fight. So there are various conflicting versions of Self that are at loggerheads here and I don't like any of it, so I'm off to bed.

  146. But what about the XFactor BB...?

  147. Perfectly fair, MF.

    How come you've been drinking wine for the last two hours, BB, and only managed to get through half a bottle? Bloody poor effort. I've been out for fresh supplies, wasn't gonna have a drink tonight but I'm celebrating the birth of a new boiler, and mourning the loss of the old one, not to mention the two and a half grand which facilitated the reincarnation process.

  148. Ah. Now I have never read The Reprieve, so I shall have to get hold of that one.

    My fave Sartre is Les Jeux Sont Faits (The Game is Up)

  149. Linky here


    How we waste our lives on stuff that doesn't actually matter much in the scheme of things...

  150. Finest novel I ever read is Heart of Darkness..seriously.

    I'm not just saying that because it features the Belgian Congo, the rank colonial exploitation meted out by that little haven of good manners, good looking well-bred people and fantastic opera..as well as a retreat into a hellish paranoid realm leading to eventual insanity. That's all pure coincidence. A monumental read.

  151. Not sure who started it, thauma. Lost in the mists of time. It was probably me. Usually is. But you're probably right that a line needs to be drawn under it now.

    Still, it's never dull, is it? (-:

  152. "Bru's accusations are unfounded as far as I can see, but she didn't start this fight."

    erm...I think you'll find she did. The fact that she didn't have the wit, sense or indeed evidence to back it up sure as hell isn't my fault...and she's more than welcome to nip back with an apology.

  153. Kiz

    I don't watch the X factor but I gather there is a lot of hatred out there for Simon Cowell at the moment (only from the facebook updates of some of my friends). Did he vote for the wrong ones or something?

  154. "But what about the XFactor BB...?"

    And, indeed, what about people who form critical judgements based on another persons gender and social class rather than the substance of what they are saying?

    Or people who gone on to paint elaborate fictions of misogynist conspiracies and abusive treatment...all based on ungrounded accusations?

  155. The Reprieve is the second part of the Roads to Freedom, BB. Set in the week of the Munich Conference. It's a dazzling, stream of consciousness, novel which owes much to Joyce while at the same time showing him how it should be done.

    You don't need to read the first or third volumes (Age of Reason and Iron in the Soul) to appreciate The Reprieve, it stands on its own merits, but they're well worth reading in their own right anyway.

    Wrote my Masters' thesis on Sartre, Camus and Orwell, how the political cultures of Britain and France valued intellectuals in one and not the other, and how writers in France were more politically engaged and influential than here.

    I read Heart of Darkness many years ago, MF. Not a big fan of Conrad tbh, and I preferred the film...

  156. MF

    Get a torch.

    Go into the garden.

    Get a spade.

    Dig a hole.

    Bury that hatchet, at least for tonight.

    (Not too deep, mind, in case you need it later.)

    *pours MF a glass of Cotes de Rhone*

  157. Aha! Camus' La Peste is fucking awesome. Never managed to make my way to the end of The Myth of Sisyphus though - a bit too heavy going. I'm not as intellectual as I would like to be, it has to be said. I leave that to the Old Man aswell...

  158. On the subject of political engagement in France rather than in the UK, though - do you think it is to do with the fact that we are taught RE in school here, whereas in France they are taught Philosophy instead?

    Everyone I know in France - and my ex was from a proper working-class background, mother a cleaner, dad a school caretaker - has something to say about politics in a fist-on-the-table-at-dinner-time-way. Everyone.

    Politics is never a subject that people shy away from, even if they disagree on each other's views.

    During the summer I was in the little bar across the road from my house in the village where they do a set menu lunch for the local workers, and overheard a table of council employees talking about the Socialist Party Summer School that was just about to start in La Rochelle. These guys are road sweepers and electricians and bin-men, yet they are so fucking engaged in everything that is going on. Why don't we have that here any more? I really miss it.

  159. I haven't got a garden. Nor have I much inclination to let that post sit there unanswered. As it is I think the silence issuing from certain quarters is very telling. I'll try that myself now.

  160. La Peste is good, BB, but have you read The Outsider? One of my favourite books, and the inspiration for The Cure's 'Killing an Arab'. It's a product of its time, that moral ambiguity, the world-weary cynicism which followed the end of the War, the revelation of Auschwitz.

    It's the novel equivalent of the film noir, which of course had its origin in French cinema but really took off in Hollywood around the same time, ie 1946-7.

    Managed to read The Myth of Sisyphus, but really struggled with The Rebel. A lot of that went way over my head. Skipped over a lot of it in my thesis, and I guess that the academics who marked the paper had done the same, as they didn't pick up on the Rebel-sized gaps.

  161. 'Or people who gone on to paint elaborate fictions of misogynist conspiracies and abusive treatment...all based on ungrounded accusations?'
    elaborate? I don't think there's much elaborate about it...
    And on to Simon's raison d'etre...
    Invent as much attention for as little as possible and that can be milked for all it's worth as you can..

  162. "elaborate fictions" was me being diplomatic...bullshit would have served just as well.

  163. Anyone see the Thick of from last Saturday ??! Just watched it. Gets better and better, haven't had so much fun just waiting for the next line since Larry Sanders. The writers were twisted fuckers on that show too.



  164. "I never run away from an argument"

    Just noticed it - how long's that been up there??!

    Best wishes all

  165. The reason why there's greater political engagement in France, in my view, is that there's a culture of direct action with proven outcomes, starting off course with 1789, and then the Paris Commune, 1848, the shambles of the 3rd Republic which saw 69 different govts in 70 years, and a massively supported Communist Party squaring up to sizeable fascist groups in the 30s. Then you've got to add the humiliation of defeat in 1940, the Vichy government which followed and the Resistance, with all the commitment and sacrifice entailed.

    France has been a more unsettled country for 200+ years, and one of the positive products of that has been that people understand that direct action can make a difference, that they can shape govt and policy. Britain, conversely, has been stable politically since 1688 and the governing elites make a virtue of that stability. Our political culture is far more conservative as a result.

    There has never been a communist party in this country worthy of the name. The Labour Party was formed out of the trade unions, whose goals were purely economic, ie securing material gains for their members. They never took the view that economic goals could only be properly gained and secured by structural changes to the political system.

    Which is why the gains they secured between 1945 and 1979 have largely been overturned, and why France is a more equal society than Britain.

  166. Right, I'm off.

    I'll be looking in tomorrow for any answers.

  167. Who's Simon?

    Dunno, but I bet he's a real man. Not some lager fuelled ranting phony like us lot.

  168. "France has been a more unsettled country for 200+ years, and one of the positive products of that has been that people understand that direct action can make a difference, that they can shape govt and policy. Britain, conversely, has been stable politically since 1688 and the governing elites make a virtue of that stability. Our political culture is far more conservative as a result."

    Hit the nail squarely on the head there, HS. The concept of "We, the people..." permeates every aspect of life in France. Takes some getting used to as a Brit living there, it has to be said. But the starting point is a general lack of respect for authority. Whereas we still seem to tug the forelock and do what we are told regardless.

    MF - ok - a windowbox then?

    Kiz - abuse has happened here without a doubt. But to a large extent I don't think it was "meant" in any real sense. Or maybe I am just an old hippy...

  169. Ah yeah - tru dat re Simon Cowell.

    Let's face it, without all the hoo-hah, X Factor winners would never really sell, would they?

  170. You're the cowell fan, not me MF.. or so I thought from your last paean to his schtick... sorry.. programme?

  171. Damn, I know the Paris Commune followed the revolution of 1848 before I get taken to task by olching (where the fuck is olching?) or parallax.

    @BB - yup, in pretty much any country with a sentient people and a media which wasn't so much supine as sucking the dick of the old established elite, Cromwell would be regarded as a national hero. He'd have a Bank Holiday in his honour.

    As it is, we venerate Churchill, the man who advocated using the army to shoot striking miners in 1926.

    The same striking miners who had seen their fathers and brothers sent to their deaths a few years before, and their sons used as cannon fodder a few years after. All in the service of the flag.

    I've told the story on here before about Churchill touring the East End during the Blitz, and being pelted with whatever was to hand. My Nan gave me a great first-hand account, she was there, born and bred in Shoreditch, and she hated Churchill, war leader or not, as did most of the ordinary people round there.

    She had a long memory, and she knew that a pig in a Union flag was still a pig.

  172. Damn Thauma, anyway. Makin' a girl watch Bryan Ferry in my circumstances. As if all the custard, curry, HP sauce and real bacon talk earlier today wasn't bad enough. Now I want chicken korma AND shepherd's pie followed by some of Auntie Sheila's bread pudding smothered in vanilla sauce and I want to work it all off with sweaty jungle love with Mr. Ferry. I've got a better chance of becoming Miss America than I do of getting any of that.

  173. The serfdom is ingrained in us. I will never forget, donkey's years ago, my grandad in Scotland (he was a forrester) and his hired telly. He had this colour telly that he rented from Radio Rentals, went in every week to pay his ten quid or whatever it was. One time when we were up there, the picture on the thing was bloody terrible. My dad said he would go into the shop and get someone out to have a look at it or replace it, and Grandad went apeshit, worried that if he complained, they would take it away from them... poor sod.

  174. Ooh. Brian Ferry.

    I don't know what it is about him that makes me go weak at the knees.

    This song in particular is the one that does it for me.

    What is it about him?

  175. I think the different natures of the French and American revolutions can probably explain some of the differences in our political culture, as well. The French Revolution was a peasants' revolt. While I'm sure there were peasants fighting in ours, the cause was aristocratic. Thomas Jefferson really didn't mean it when he wrote that "All men are created equal" bullshit.

  176. "What is it about him?"

    His dad was a coal miner, his son's a fox-hunting fascist. He's the Daily Mail dream writ large.

    Other than Love is the Drug and Dance Away, his appeal remains elusive to me.

  177. Montana

    The American Revolution struck me more as one bunch of elites kicking out another bunch of elites.

    Although it is fair to say that without the middle class helped the revolution in France, it was certainly more a peasant's revolt.

  178. I don't know, BB. What is it about this guy that makes me what to shag him senseless?

  179. That was my point, BB. Rich white dudes just wanting a bigger slice o' the pie for themselves and dressing it up with fancy words. Just 'cos they didn't give themselves titles, didn't mean they didn't consider themselves better than the riffraff.

  180. Yep. Granted, that video is about 15 years old. But this was taken last year. He still looks damn good, to me.

  181. Nice one!

    OK - beddy byes for me.

    Kisses to you all! xxx

  182. The French Revolution wasn't a peasants' revolt, Montana. The mob, the sans-culottes played their part, but it was essentially a bourgeois revolution, an argument about property rights, in which the middle classes faced up to the aristocracy and used the mob as cannon fodder.

    The American Revolution was essentially the same.

    FWIW, I'd take Jefferson over Robespierre any day. And Alexander Hamilton too.

    But none of them are fit to lick Gerald Winstanley's muddy boots...


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