06 March 2010

06/03/10

Ferdinand Magellan reached Guam in 1521.  York, Upper Canada, was incorporated as Toronto in 1834.  After a 13-day siege, the Alamo fell to General Santa Anna's troops.  La Traviata was first performed in Venice in 1853.  And in 1987, the MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsized shortly after leaving Zeebrugge, killing 193 passengers and crew.

Born today:  Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), Frankie Howerd (1917-1992), Gabriel García Márquez (1927), Valentina Tereshkova (1937), Kiri Te Kanawa (1944), David Gilmour (1946), Alan Davies (1966), heyhabib, a few years ago.

It is Independence Day in Ghana.

141 comments:

  1. HeyHabib! rolling up a big one in honour of your birthday! Many happy returns!

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  2. Habib-Happy birthday my musical compadre, and many more. What will you do to celebrate ?

    Hi medve, been a while, how are you?

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  3. happy birthday habib - our Rowan is 10 tomorrow but party is today, so will raise a glass of elderflower to you later.

    The Alamo is fascinating; one historian points out that when Davy Crockett went west to join the defenders, thousands turned out to greet out him along the way without really knowing why - the word 'celebrity' had recently been invented and the historian argued that Crocket was the first celebrity - a man who'd done nothing much in reality but was celebrated nonetheless.

    The other thing that sticks in the mind is the astonishing violence of Bowie's home county in Carolina - oh and of course Tennant's bottles have apparently been discovered by archaeologists at the Alamo.

    Will try to drop in later have a good day guys

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  4. Edwin--Enlightening stuff there. Careful now, they may make you an honorary Texan.

    medve, since you are rolling a fatty in honour of Habib the Musicifant, I shall flash up a pipefull of VIP. (Vancouver Island Premium.)

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  5. Just to continue Hank's "what are we doing here" and "name names" comment yesterday evening.

    I think any site, unless you are going to rigorously keep it restricted to one standpoint or topic or line of thought, tends to drift as people gradually adapt it to what they perceive it to be.

    There are certainly technical forums where, if you stray from the topic, you are told so in no uncertain terms, but it is hard to see how that could be managed on a political site, which is what Hank is talking about.

    If you want to have a site which is more clearly to the left, what happens when you contextualise comment with regard to the right if you want to have debate rather than mutual backslapping?

    This site seems to follow a pattern, which is like people turning up to a party - all hellos and catching up with general and personal news; it then tends to filter into a discussion about what is happening on CiF and finally it is a series of messages about music and memories.

    There is nothing wrong with any of that and, as we have said, it is not a complaint against Montana and as she says, the site has tended to become what people seemed to want it to be.

    The critical thing, in my opinion, is that very few people either want to write articles or feel able to do so for whatever reason and, therefore, there is no central or scattered focus in the way that there is on CiF.

    If Hank or anyone else wanted to set up a left-leaning site, to do so is not that hard. The problem would be, are there enough people to make a go of it?

    This is not so much in terms of absolute numbers but how many people you can entice away from other, established sites. The problem with this is that most people now using the internet have already gravitated into a pattern of usage and, basically, there are too many sites for your new one to be found.

    There is also, in my view, a problem with the left (but perhaps this is just the soft, liberal left) as compared with the right - and this might just be the rabid, far right.

    The left is considerate of how its policies or philosophies might impact on real people. It has to be intellectually rigorous about what it does. The right has only one central philosophy - more for me - and it does not really care what consequences there might be as a result of that position with regard to other people.

    The right tends to win because it can reduce its core beliefs to propaganda and soundbites and the left tends to engage that propaganda in debate.

    As for naming the names of people who come here and go there, I do not know whether you had me in mind, Hank.

    I requested a ban on myself to show that even if it happens, it hardly matters. You can go back ten minutes later.

    Before that, I did say that I would stop posting there. LordSummerisle was one amongst others who said that if you do that, you cannot raise your voice against those with whom you disagree.

    I went back after some weeks or months and basically played with having one name after another. The vague intention was to have different voices but it turns out that life is too short and it was hard enough just to remember my names and passwords.

    There are a lot of people on CiF who just want to throw out a one-liner which they think is either gnomic or hilarious. There are those who want to debate. There are those who only have one agenda or topic. There are those who have opinions on everything.

    The main thing, though, is that CiF has the numbers - both those who comment and those who write.

    As I said in response to SwiftyBoy the other day, life is constant battles and victories. I tend to keep CiF as an ongoing war.

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  6. HeyHabib Happy Birthday and many happy returns!

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  7. Cheers Boudican, been here, just not been saying much. Things are pretty good in the private sphere, but the affable stinking Hungarian nazis are giving me a headache.

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  9. "I tend to keep CiF as an ongoing war."

    Maybe but it repeats itself. I've been flicking in and out of Christopher Brooker's seven basic plots over the last year or so and I think it applies to CIF ATL pieces. I just think I've seen it all now...and heard every response. In brief...they are..

    Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and lastly, Rebirth.

    "Overcoming the Monster"

    Our liberal heroes...in all shapes and sizes but all on the side of the angels struggle valiantly against the forces of Thatcher /Reactionary Western Values/ Fear of the Other which are the root causes of all the world's ills. Notice "Reactionary Western Values" includes Socialism as an inflexible dogma unsuited to the problems encountered on today's multi-complex "street".

    Only a relativist, all inclusive (divisive) solution will do..."giving" people decent housing and a chance to earn a living wage in secure employment is, of course anathema...after all these are neo-liberals we're dealing with; albeit with a social conscience.

    Education and Social Services are always ripe for investment however...these give ample opportunities for social engineering schemes and contain a sort of loopback system where the majority of the money reverts to middle-class managers/ consultants.

    Rags to Riches:

    How I became a better more fulfilled person once I became a relativist...now I appreciate everybody and the richness of their cultures (except Western reactionaries)...now I can write shite all day justifying virtually anything that I want as long as it's right-on.

    "The Quest"

    Happy-Clappy, naive confirmation bias of above...good spot for young writer to come over all emotional when they had a meaningful encounter with X, Y or Z

    "Voyage and Return"

    More confirmation bias..this time an encounter with the sinister alternative (undoubtedly inspired by Western Reactionary Values) redoubles our bourgeois heroes faith in the redemptive power of a relativist viewpoint having sampled the malign presence of the view that there is an objective reality out there.

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  10. Shit...missed 3

    "Comedy"

    Looser structure...might feature any of other six done humorously (badly)

    "Tragedy"

    Unique in the lack of a happy ending...handwringing substitutes in this case.

    Basic plot...brief description of tragic one-of event..Tsunami etc is followed by immediate digression into why Western Reactionary Values are to blame...any slight tenuous connection will suffice...Climate change: unwillingness to face new reality / evil role of petrodollar etc.

    Here's a prime example from today as a relatively isolated personal tragedy is given the treatment...

    "Graphs of the prison population reveal that it suddenly started hurtling upwards 17 years ago, the start of a ruinous, costly and relentless climb that has continued ever since. It got going in early 1993, just as young Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were being charged with the murder of the even younger James Bulger."

    There's an implication here (there is..really..look at the sentence structure)that reactionary penal policies were somehow a contributory factor to James Bulger's abduction and murder or at least the atmosphere in which it occurred...no doubt the prison building programme was the talk of every Bootle playground.

    "Rebirth"

    The most saccharine and cloying of the lot...once known as "the McVicar"...our liberal hero overcomes the character defects and emotional trauma engendered by Western Reactionary Values and is reborn as...oh fuck it..it's just too pathetic.

    All this shit is just a cover as well-off, well-connected middle-class nobodies put on a "look how concerned I am" show in the local community centre to show how demotic and egalitarian they are..all the while propping up whatever system it is that is making them all this fuckin money...bollocks to it..seen it all before..twice..sure I'm on my third time around now.

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  11. Bonne anniversaire, heyhabib!
    (can you drink yet?)

    Atomboy
    "This site seems to follow a pattern, which is like people turning up to a party - all hellos and catching up with general and personal news; it then tends to filter into a discussion about what is happening on CiF and finally it is a series of messages about music and memories."
    Yes, that'd be a good description of it - and no harm there, I think. And while discussion here are often sparked by something on CIF, there is space for longer items on UT2 (Hank's piece on tax avoidance a while back, Turminder's recent piece up now, both very interesting, and better quality than a lot of CIF-stuff) so maybe we could think of that when mulling stuff over.

    If a topic is bothering me particularly, I have to write something about it or I can't get it out of my brain and it gets in the way of other stuff, so my blog is a sort of filing cabinet for things that would otherwise get stuck in my head like an unwanted song...

    heresiarch's piece on Venables very interesting, btw.

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  12. That was an interesting article Mr Fish. Good old Aristotle!

    MAM is pontificating at length on the Venables editorial btw which makes posting on it an even more unattractive prospect.

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  13. "...oh and of course Tennant's bottles have apparently been discovered by archaeologists at the Alamo."

    loved that bit...makes me feel like I can really 'connect' to the event. It's only the biodegradable nature of kebab wrappers and spliff butts that stops me from thinking of myself as a Texan patriot.

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  14. Sheff - there's a great comeback from Benulek, though! Responding to:
    @ MAM, Of all the ignorant, nonsensical, blinkered, and bigotted posts you've ever written, this one takes the biscuit.
    there is
    Unfortunately, this is only likely to be true for a short time. Just ignore MAM. Your outrage is like Baby Bio for his little bonsai ego.

    Beauty.

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  15. Happy B, habibi! How are the internal organs bearing up?

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  16. True Phillipa - although I don't think MAM gives a shit - all he's interested in is drawing attention to himself and derailing threads - which he usually succeeds in doing.

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  17. Sorry Habibi - meant to wish you many happies but forgot. Cold and miserable here hope things are better your side of the Penines. Have a good day.

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  18. Yeah but I don't understand the Guardian's take on stuff like Bulger. They seem to think that unless they invoke some bigger picture to account for every individual tragedy and anomaly they are implicitly accepting the concept of innate 'evil' or some such. Jamie Bulger's killing is not part of a trend; is not symptomatic of anything; does not provide insight into anything else. Unfortunately, it can only be filed under "shit happens".

    We know that sometimes shit happens. Why try and extrapolate from it? Doing so allows you to arrive at any conclusion and confirm any prejudice you like.

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  19. Morning.

    Thought I'd fly by and drop a bit of culture.

    First one is the original black market dub version.

    This is the 'burn two spliff' 12" version.

    My old mum got me into politics as soon as she could. I used to get dragged along to Greenham and Molesworth, roped into helping to raise funds for the miners during the strike, and all shit like that (boozy times I will always be grateful for).

    Back in those days, people were, to a relative extent, allowed to protest; it's another fucking story now. Maybe that's why our youth are so apathetic on the political front? on top of there being no significant difference between the Lab/Con joke, they've seen the anti Iraq demos getting totally ignored, seen all of the kettling, the rise of big bro, huge emphasis on discipline and work, etc etc etc, and are at a fucking loss for what to do because the slightest raising of a voice gets stomped on, even on a site like the let-down that is CiF.


    Fucking tragic.

    P&L

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  20. We know that sometimes shit happens. Why try and extrapolate from it? Doing so allows you to arrive at any conclusion and confirm any prejudice you like.

    I think people are tormented by 'not knowing' and must find reasons and when they can't fall back on scapegoating and speculation. There's also a very prurient side to it all that also includes placating the fear that it might happen to them.

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  21. might read this

    "In 1984, the then controller of Radio One, Derek Chinnery, justified cutting back John Peel’s show from four to three nights a week on the basis that licence fee payers shouldn’t be subsidising ‘scruffy revolutionary bands’. Even harmless alt.punk bands were caught in the polarising slipstream."

    I'll nip down the library later and see if they'll get it for me. They love me down there..mainly cos it's just around the corner and I've done a lot to solve their 'issues' with anti-social kids. I nip over there quite often and disperse the worst trouble makers. I just stare them straight in the eye and say: "Come on, your tea's ready"

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  23. Not quite on topic but a little story that I've been involved in that illustrates the panicky and fevered atmosphere we inhabit these days.

    An 11 year old boy who was playing with a slightly younger boy - rough and tumble games part of which were witnessed by an adult who believed they had seen some kind of sexual contact.

    Leading questions subsequently put to younger boy who said older boy had indeed touched his penis. Turned out not to be true but somehow news of this has become common knowledge at both the schools they attend.

    Younger boy now being bullied for being 'gay' and older boy terrified about what will happen when he goes to school on monday.

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  24. Very true, monkeyfish; what too many at the Guardian can't grasp is that really, shit does happen, and there is not necessarily an explanation (especially not one that fits with their relativist,bien-pensant view)nor any action/programme/whatever that won't have dismal,misdirected consequences.Way too much of the world is unpredictable, and resistant to social engineering (at which they are crap,BTW, and that's before be even get to the big q. of whether it should be done at all, smacking of authoritarianism). The reaction is tellingly middle-England at core: something must be done (even if it's untested or likely to be draconian,illiberal,or just fuckwitted. Oh, and always disproportionately expensive too).
    In mental health I get loads of guff, all empowerment,involvement,users taking control. Sounds lovely, but the reality is most folk don't want to do that: they want a bit of help with their MH,then to be left alone, not constantly invited to design and manage services. Similarly, while I do a lot of anti-discrimination work on MH, there's no getting away from some 'users' being twats,wankers,shits and idiots (just like the rest of the population).That can't be said though:doesn't chime with guardianista thinking, the same way that a realistic appraisal of any other interest group/identity group can't be allowed.Why? Because under it all, the members of each and every group are humans,flawed,including lovely folk and wankers alike.

    HB, Habib.

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  25. UK Blaza

    "..even on a site like the let-down that is CiF."

    Watch it mate..you're about to fall for the trap of thinking CIF is some radical, world-changing entity; it isn't.

    It's a place which tacitly rejoices in the status quo, only with hand crafted, organic wallpaper, carpets and Coldplaying droning in the background.

    Its purpose is to salve middle-class consciences, massage middle-class egos and confirm middle-class belief systems while strenuously avoiding the touting of opinions which might affect middle-class incomes.

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  26. monkeyfish,

    interesting article that on Indie. Having cut my music teeth in the Glasgow Indie scene from the mid 80's onwards it rings achingly true.

    I would also add that even supposedly mainstream disposable pop in the eighties was far more subversive and challenging.

    I stuck on The Associates 'Sulk' last week and was astonished how challenging a listen it is.

    There's so much going on in that album it's amazing yet it was made by Billy Mackenzie, the pop hearthrob who adorned thousands of girls walls (including my big sister's), loved appearing on TOTP and was in about 100 editions of Smash Hits.

    You could argue that even mainstream pop in the 80's was much more polarised, anarchic, aesthetic and original than the dross that clogs up the top 40 these days.

    Or am I being an old fart?

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  27. eep, migraine coming on. sight going. may have to take a day offf from the computer. god, what will i do...

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  28. Monkeyfish

    I think you are right in many respects and I expect that most of it is simply laziness.

    Somewhere like CiF has to at least keep in mind the notion of making money and they will attempt to do things in order to ensure that this happens, whether they get it right or not.

    In terms of trundling out the same shit month after month, why should, for example, Polly Toynbee do otherwise than say the same thing twice a week, all the time she can avoid thinking and get paid for it?

    Part of the problem may be that we all tend to react to the articles and then react to other comments and, despite the fact that it gives the appearance of being so, things are not happening accurately in real time between posters. You make a comment and get back to real work or go out and then - if you have bothered at all - go back and see that someone has reacted and said something you want to reply to, but by that time, they have gone back to work.

    Equally, it seemed that a year or two ago, it was accepted that things would drift into other areas after the initial flurry of activity but, along with their censorship function, the moderators delight in crippling tangential conversations.

    There tends to be little which is new and there is always an overriding popular mindset, but you have the opportunity to change that as best you can.

    The internet really brought us nothing new but simply made old things faster and easier. You can use it to try to make your voice heard above that of CiF, although I have to say I do not think you will make it.

    I used to enjoy seeing you and Hank on CiF and still feel a loss and sense that things have passed and changed, but you still go back there under other names (or did until recently) and most people on CiF will not know who any of our proxy avatars are or care less.

    I think we are all subject to being enthralled by the delight of pulling other people's arguments apart and CiF seems to set things up to exploit this. Perhaps we need to be more adept at formalising what we want instead.

    Perhaps we should create a collective fictional character and try to get him or her published above the line.

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  29. The irony of Pollyfilla talking about a high pay commission wasn't wasted on those of us without a Tuscan retreat ...

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  30. "Perhaps we should create a collective fictional character and try to get him or her published above the line."

    Good idea. I reckon it's a female, mixed race, Oxbridge graduate who's currently working in Hackney on a project to improve "community cohesion" by promoting cross cultural dialogue in a multi-ethnic, inner city setting. I'm gonna call her Diversia.

    She celebrates diversity (without ever being able to explain what this might mean)and is working hard to give "yoof" a voice and overcome negative stereotypes so that one day the boardrooms and council chambers of this benighted land will one day reflect the demographic makeup of the fuckin little fantasy identity community in Matt Seaton's head...it's all bollocks...basically changing the wallpaper..no suggestion that the whole one-sided corporate structure should be hauled down...I'm mean-that's a bit drastic-no?...just some fuckin idiot fantasy that once the ecumenical and progressive potential of rap and street dance is brought to the attention of corporate CEOs we'll see a genuine meritocracy created.

    Get Diversia ATL now...it's the future!

    PS

    Diversia's dad is a bit of a mystery...but her mum's got this vague memory of once meeting some guy from the Guardian at a party..name was Alan something or other...and-well, put it like this-things got a bit wild...and mum doesn't know where Diversia got her elegant prose style from..nobody on her side has ever been noted for their elegant turn of phrase.

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  31. Oh yeah...and when she was a kid, her favourite soft toy was a meercat.

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  32. Monkeyfish

    Sounds like a good start.

    Before it was all revealed as pretty much a steaming pile of doo-doo, the editorial underlings were forever proclaiming that if you could write well enough to catch their oh so critical eyes and had an unique voice with something important to say, even you could end up in the heady and rarefied air which swirls around the upper battlements of CiF Towers.

    One of them even said that quite a number did not do it for money, so no need for much in the way of personal details.

    Create a blog for Diversia. Create a background and back-story. Make her into everything The Guardian loves and blindly and uncritically accepts. Make her as real in her fantasy world as the actual writers on CiF are in theirs. Wind her up and watch her go.

    I always regard all of this as pretty much a game, so this appeals to me. It probably just looks idiotic and childish to others.

    Did we all see CiF doing idiotic and childish with Sian Anderson?

    We need our avatar to catch the eye of a journalist, it seems.

    Is she going to be clever, right-on and a meeja dahling but also a bit sluttish?

    I'm starting to like her already.

    Oh, OK, I can be flexible on the clever. And the right-on.

    Yeah, not too keen on meeja dhalings, either.

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  33. A Diversia blog - what a brilliant idea - lets do it! It'll be huge fun.

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  34. I'd like Diversia to be (strictly temporarily) a political lesbian, who doesn't actually need to work due to her viscount grandfather's trust fund. However, she is totally committed to 'making a difference' to the little peoples's lives for a while. That is, until she hits about 28, when she plans to marry a chap 'in hedge funds' and move to the countryside where, due to an inconvenient lack of diversity within the population, she will be forced to drop the multicultural pose, and instead become involved in green politics and rural reconstruction. On the death of the long-sitting LibDem MP she will be adopted by the party after a tough selection battle against a handful of old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy local councillors who have lived in the constituency all their lives, but lack education and breeding. She will triumphantly take her seat in the House at the age of 31, and have lots of fun and media attention and change absolutely nothing. (Obviously this inevitable career path must not be revealed overtly in her comments, but it should be hinted at as being the logical conclusion of her inevitable life choices.) Her obligatory embracing of what she regards as left-wing policies and philosophy should always be tempered with a sensible nod to neo-liberalism. After all, rocking the boat in any real way would only be taking bread from her own darling children's mouths, so to speak.

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  35. "Oh yeah...and when she was a kid, her favourite soft toy was a meercat."

    That fucking cracked me up (not through a pipe though... honest)

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  36. "Good idea. I reckon it's a female, mixed race, Oxbridge graduate who's currently working in Hackney on a project to improve "community cohesion" by promoting cross cultural dialogue in a multi-ethnic, inner city setting. I'm gonna call her Diversia."

    The Guardian are so predictable and religiously right on that I've often thought it would be quite easy to get a stooge character through the net. If you're female, an ethnic minority and can write whole sentences and stuff the job is in the bag.

    Great shout on the political lesbian front, Scherf, i think if you tick that box even the "ability to write whole sentences" criteria is dropped (see Bindel).

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  37. Why has Ms Sian Anderson's fine article on voting disappeared from both the most viewed and most commented lists? Sherine's pathetic offering (March 03) is in top spot with 1428 comments and is followed by an article on Armenia with 102!!! Sian's article (March 04) has 763 comments, but is not to be found anywhere. Iz it coz she iz a black yoof? FASCISTS! They just don't fucking care about young people.

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  38. "A Diversia blog - what a brilliant idea - lets do it! It'll be huge fun."

    It would actually be really good fun. We could take turns giving a weekly update on Diversia's activities, responding to the week's news.

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  39. "After all, rocking the boat in any real way would only be taking bread from her own darling children's mouths, so to speak."

    And speaking of darling children: did Diversia ever mention that Bella and Tafari would have gone to the local comp only it's an 8 mile round trip from their village and so by boarding, they can continue to benefit from the sort of intensive small class hot-housing that intellects like theirs require and Gaia benefits too. Rest assured, if she was back in Hackney, they'd be back in the state system...we should remember this; especially when they take their own tentative steps into the media jungle...really, they are honorary state school students...it's just that they were deprived of the chance by the rampant disadvantages inherent in rural life.

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  40. OK if we do do it - how long do you reckon it would take to get her ATL on cif? Come on guys I'm opening a book on this.

    PS we'll need to delete our posts here if we're serious.

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  41. @Atomboy

    Nope, I wasn't referring to you. Interesting couple of names you picked on there though, they both represent pretty much what's wrong with Cif. LordS who thinks that sardonic one-liners amount to comment, and SwiftyBoy who can never shake off the respect for authority of the military man. I saw your exchange with him on Waddya. His line basically amounts to "we don't want you subversive chippy types round here, taking things seriously, pretending that any of this matters and spoiling our fun".

    Complacent bourgeois twat.

    In the words of their patron saint, Kizbot,

    "It's just a frigging website."

    As for this place, well, it is what it is. Sometimes it's interesting and provocative, and sometimes it needs a rocket up its arse. Of course, it's entirely possible that I'm out on a limb here given that most people have ignored my comments.

    Still, good to see there's a monkeyfish-sized rocket being deployed today.

    I'm off to shout at real people now.

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  42. "...and so by boarding, they can continue to benefit from the sort of intensive small class hot-housing that intellects like theirs require and Gaia benefits too."

    whoops...not "require".."deserve"..almost made them sound 'special needs' for a minute. Kids like Diversia's aren't special needs...they're just open to a range of eclectic influences and long ago rejected the outdated orthodoxies of traditional spelling, prescriptive rules of grammar and Western notions of a dominant "objective" arithmetical dialectic.

    Fuck that matey...they're a postmoderm phenomenon...just watch how they'll take journalism and the commentariat by storm one day..a salutary lesson for all us square reactionary types that we write off the 'differently abled' offspring of upper middle-class types far too readily.

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  43. Right..I'm off. Morrison's and hoovering have claimed my afternoon.

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  44. Right, the revolution starts today! String up Diversia!

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  45. Roll a big one, Medve. Play some music Boudican, happy birthday Rowan, cheers Atomboy and very well written stuff, as always. Turminder, boath kush, mera bai! Merci beaucoup, Philibee, on ne devriez pas boire, mais c'est mon anniversaire! Peter J thanks and I know I'm going to hurt them today. Sheff, I'll put five pints on it snowing at some point today, if you're game. Thank you, alisdair.

    Off to the pub with some mates and I'll raise a glass to all on UT and to absent friends who may have left some of us this week, but will never be forgotten.

    And a big big big thanks for remembering and love to Montana. x

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  46. HB and MHR to HH, Other assorted intitials. ROYGBIV, or G.L.O.R.I.A, for example.

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  47. Right..shopping done..house tidyish: so here's another reason to stop listening to bourgeois fuckwits..

    #The government’s recommended definition of a racist incident is ‘any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’. This is in line with the 1999 Macpherson Report, the landmark inquiry into the police investigation of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993, which famously accused the police of ‘institutional racism’ and laid the basis for the framework for subsequent official anti-racist policies in Britain. This has, Hart says, ‘generated an army of race-equality officials and a raft of “interventions” – awareness-raising drama workshops, special assemblies, books, videos and teaching packs’.

    And as more and more teachers are actively on the lookout for racist incidents, so, unsurprisingly, the statistics show that racism among children is on the rise. The most recent figures available from the Department for Children, Schools and Families show a 29 per cent rise over one year in the number of pupils suspended from schools for racist abuse. Sarah Teather, education spokesman for the UK Liberal Democrats, obtained the figures through parliamentary questions. She says: ‘[This is] another shocking picture of the poor state of race relations in Britain today.’ The Commission for Racial Equality said the figures hint ‘that [racism] is deep-rooted and ingrained’.

    But do they, really?

    At one of the schools Hart visited he asked a teacher whether everyday playground spats are being elevated, somewhat erroneously, into racist incidents. ‘He looked horrified’, says Hart, ‘so I attempted to clarify. “Surely when kids fall out they grab anything that will hurt, then minutes later they’re friends again?” “We have to be seen to be taking racism seriously”, the teacher answered. “It’s the law.”’

    Some teachers, however, are alarmed by the effect of official anti-racism on relationships between their pupils. One teacher told Hart: ‘I think we’re a good school, but because we are trying to be responsible and abide by the policy on racist incidents, our problem is that it’s having the opposite effect. In fact it’s creating an absolutely awful atmosphere around the school. Children who used to play beautifully together are starting to separate along racial lines.’#

    we know best so shut up

    There are literally millions of people, especially in the public sector who are well aware that officially sanctioned policies on racism are failing miserably but equally aware that questioning the received wisdom and policy is liable to put a question mark against their name as a potential racist...it can't be undone because there are such huge vested interests involved. And it's the same in virtually every other sphere of life..bourgeois idiots being well rewarded to parrot idiotic and discredited academic theories which simply don't stack up.

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  48. Sheff I have just been on that thread. One tory outraged stated 'I shall never buy this paper again!' I still have tears of mirth pouring from my eyes.
    I think the left need to get mad. They need to find their old fire. Because the right(and I include the liberal chatterati in that) are in fucking viscious mode (as ever) yet our representatives on 'the left' are as mealy mouthed as usual these days. More concerned with offending people and being respectful to all - but not the 'workshy scum' or white working class - they can go to hell.

    Hank read yesterdays discussion. I for one would be very happy with more political discussion here and perhaps I should do as I say and post more political discussion myself!

    MOntana - I have just read Turminders piece up on UT2 - good stuff. Have you thought about putting up an article about Obama? I watched some news report on the US the other day and the reporter went to a town where there is a line for the soup kitchen every night. They talked to people who had supported Obama and canvassed for him. They all said they felt betrayed. What really angers me - about the 'left' over there and here is that they try to be bi-partisan and to appease the right when the right don't give a damn about them or their supporters and always just go for their own goals with a steely determination.

    They (the supposed left) betray their own over and over again. SO the question ultimately has to be asked - have they got no balls or are they really just right wing parties like their supposed enemies? (I know what I think). I would be interested in your view of what Obama is doing (or not doing as the case seems to be.)

    If the left has no voice in this sham of a democracy then they need to do as the French and take it to the streets and the factories.

    Diversia's blog sounds great. She sounds like a think tank - Diversias.

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  49. Happy Birthday Habib hope you have a great day. Here's a ditty for the occasion (you're Suneeta in this!)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfcC1gHPnQw

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  50. I don't know if anybody has read the book Cultureshock...it got hammered by the Guardian presumably for challenging received liberal opinion..think it was branded "anti-progressive"; it is anything but..it was an attempt to look at initiatives which actually work by reviewing academic studies into all sorts of areas of social policy...I think this was the problem..they actually looked at the evidence...they hadn't realised that belief in all this shit is, rather, an act of faith. The findings were described as counter intuitive which says a lot, since they are only counter intuitive if your intuition is already in line with postmodern liberal claptrap.

    It looked at the results of anti-drug education policies in the US for instance which is a huge industry eating up billions every year. Result: a complete waste of money..the whole thing's counter productive.

    The same happens over here of course.

    "Heroin Screws You Up"..result..the birth of "Heroin Chic"

    "Talk to Frank": another total flop, this time relying on sympathy for Pablo the drug "muledog"...knowing that people's everyday experience of drug use runs counter to official horror stories, they instead rely on our love of dumb animals to try and get the message across.."Oh look at the poor puppy..nasty, nasty drugs"...more useless bollocks.

    But think of the army of academics, drugs advisers, diversity officials, think tanks and all the rest of the deadwood that rely on that kinda shit for a living...and notice the question of why people take drugs never arises.

    God forbid that anyone should mention how enjoyable it is or that maybe it's a natural response (along with binge-drinking) to the multicultural,consumer-choice utopia we all have to fuckin live in.

    And there's a real cringe-worthy moment when the child of a couple of tres progressive parents describes one of his classmates as "the one with the brown face"..Oh the fucking horror!..they seem to have thought that he would instead pick up on their prohibition of overt mention of race..or at least have had this knocked into him thanks to his school's racial education initiatives.

    Strange how in an era where we all look to further equality, overcome cultural differences and establish a meaningful meritocracy:

    a) Socialism is off the agenda.

    b)Instaed, we institute policies which: halt social mobility and establish unbelievable new levels of economic inequality; celebrate diversity and crystallise racial difference; and usher in a return to Victorian levels of nepotism and patronage.

    c) The Guardian is chief cheerleader for all of the above.

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  51. monkeyfish,

    your posts today have been absolutely on. the. button. Keep it coming. You really should look at having your own blog never mind Diversia's.

    Hank,

    I just read your post from yesterday and agree with much of what you say. When I started posting here I think my guff was a lot more about politics than it is now.

    To be honest I'm all posted out in the sense that I feel I keep saying the same things on CiF and here again and again and again. And yes maybe if I feel (which I do) that what I have to say is important enough maybe I should be on CiF or here banging on more often about what's important to me politically.

    However, when I read yours, monkeyfish's, Jay's, princesscc's, scherfig's etc posts on here and CiF, I can only step back an applaud- what you all say I normally completely agree with and what is more you are all far more eloquent with prose and argument/debate than I could ever be. There's no need for me to add anything!

    So yes, I would really like to see olching (a poster I admire) and the other posters on here discussing politics but I also really enjoy everyone else's contributions on here as well.

    Politics, music, football and life in general aren't mutually exclusive you know ;)

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  52. Hank

    Firstly about names and people and mentioning Summerisle and SwiftyBoy.

    I have always had a problem remembering names and faces and I often find it hard to follow a film because, if too many characters are simply "male, short dark hair" or "female, long light hair" they all merge into a soup.

    Thus, Ariane Sherine is always Ariel Sharon in my mind, but this is complicated by the fact that Ariel Sharon is also Pope John Paul II.

    I do not make the same connections as you with people posting on CiF until I can properly put them in a safe memory box, but I rarely bother to get that far.

    I am also disinclined to be affronted by other people's opinions, although you could argue that this is simply because I am too wishy-washy and mercurial, rather than too liberal and accommodating.

    I think CiF is what you would expect anything to be once it becomes mainstream and establishment and with an eye to pleasing its users and its own bottom line.

    I tend to be pleased that it allows people like a Brussels dinner-party waitress scope to pronounce that any young person who is interested in politics must be a mentally equivalent to members of the Hitler Youth.

    Monkeyfish

    I agree with you about the unintended consequences and the bandwagon effect of causes to which we are all expected to sign up uncritically and never examine the outcomes when people whose livings depend upon forever increasing the message that they are saving the world from marauding hordes intending to besiege our bastions of civilisation.

    I tend to think it is only a matter of time before they atrophy, though, or they provoke an equal and opposite reaction.

    There was a Star Trek spin-off (by which I mean any series set in space) in which a planet had outlawed hate and everything, superficially, was going swimmingly. Except that it had simply created an underground black-market in drugs which simulated the effects of hate and everyone was still getting their fix.

    As far as CiF and changing the world goes, I think we will all be tapping away at our keyboards on forums and websites and blogs when the brick comes through the window to signal that the action has started without us.

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  53. If you've got the time, haven't seen it already and can get iplayer I recommend watching On Expenses

    A drama about MPs expenses. Is very funny and has some lovely lines in it.

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  54. On Expenses was very good, unlike Burnistoun, new BBC Scotland 'Comedy'. Not very good... I did find Eddie Izard's marathon prog strangely moving..

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  55. Evening Untrusties

    Happy Birthday Habib! x

    Sometimes I feel really fired up and want a good old barney about politics.

    Most of the time I am so knackered after work that I just want to talk about complete rubbish. Or I am happy to sit back and read what everyone else is saying without contributing, not because I don't appreciate what they are saying, but because I am too brain-dead to add anything substantive and worthwhile that hasn't been said already.

    But most of all I like it here cos there are a lot of good people who post here, who are variously funny, charismatic, inspiring, thought-provoking and good fun to hang out in the ether with.

    I love you all. Mwah. xx

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  56. Right back att 'cha BB ; ) and props to Wybourne's comment above.

    It's all yes..

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  57. Monkeyfish

    Spot on about the money wasted on "drug initiatives" and the like.

    But when you think about it, so much is invested by government in the illicit drug industry. Crime is drive by it, so half the police force would be gone in a flash if drugs were legalised. No more multi-million pound operations to close down supply chains. And chronic low-value aquisitive crime would disappear overnight if people could nip down the to chemists and buy their smack over the counter with a prescription, for example.

    So it is all a self-perpetuating thing, with so much government money invested in combatting it that it will never be de-criminalised. Too many jobs would just disappear overnight.

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  58. I could certainly write something about Obama & the political landscape over here if people are interested. Maybe late next week? Our spring break starts on 11/3, so I can mull and sketch things out between now & then, write something that night and put it up on UT2 on the 12th. Question is: are enough people interested?

    A bit ironically, I find myself not saying much here any more because by the time I get home from work, get supper sorted out, etc., most of you have gone to bed. I feel a bit weird about taking the first comment of every new thread to react/respond to things that were said on the previous day's thread, so I end up usually saying nothing at all. I would love to see some threads on the UT2 that kicked up discussion for a few days. The more people that we have contributing there, the more likely that would happen. Anyone who isn't on the contributor list yet should e-mail me so that I can send them the invitation.

    Totally off-topic comment:

    It's raining here. Raining. Having accumulated about 4 ft. of snow since early December that only started melting a couple of days ago, there are two things that are important about that:

    1. It's warm enough that it is rain, rather than snow.
    2. We don't need any more effing precipitation of any form, because we're going to be drowning in a sea of mud soon as it is.

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  59. "I agree with you about the unintended consequences and the bandwagon effect of causes to which we are all expected to sign up uncritically and never examine the outcomes when people whose livings depend upon forever increasing the message that they are saving the world from marauding hordes intending to besiege our bastions of civilisation."

    The thing with unintended consequences is that, in an ideal scenario, the word unintended should be synonymous with "unforeseeable". However, given the state of play in: parliament, the media, quangoland, government adviser/consultantsville, what might seem glaringly obvious has often never entered the orbit of a significant number of that small circle of privileged, perpetual-adolescents who stream out of higher education into internships which are a rite of passage into influence, power and a platform.

    One of their chief assumptions, and the cause of many an unintended consequence, is that we are all as guileless, emotionally illiterate and immune from real life as they are."Polly Toynbee has been a powerful ally to the poor and dispossessed for several decades"...forget where I read that...but it wasn't scrawled on any bus shelters or Job Centre walls.

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  60. I'll throw in a quote from my namesake Scherfig which might be relevant to Cif. (I think he wrote this in the 1930's or 40's.)

    At lede efter ytringsfrihed i den borgerlige presse er som at søge efter kærlighed i et bordel.

    Looking for freedom of speech in the bourgeois conservative press is like searching for love in a brothel.


    It's what we're not allowed to discuss on Cif, and how the Guardian constantly drives its own dubious agenda which I find interesting yet repulsive. And why I won't be part of it.

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  61. Monkeyfish

    I agree with you about "unintended" and "unforeseeable" and with your explanation for why that never seems to be the case.

    I have just had to deal with a situation where I have begun by saying that what is being claimed would seem to be astounding if true, but we need to hear the other person's version.

    It turns out that no questions have been asked and everything said has just been glibly and mindlessly accepted. No inquisitiveness, no wonder, no doubt and no grasp of the idea that anything needs to be examined and tested.

    The people concerned would think of themselves as rational, intelligent, sensible and certainly a cut above the usual feral scum we are told lurk in every corner and populate every estate beyond the Crescents and Drives of suburbia.

    When the people involved, as in your examples, think that they are holding the very fabric of the world together by effort of will and strength of mind and the relative size of their bank balance, it is hardly any wonder that disaster stalks the corridors of power every time an over-promoted functionary pushes tongue between lips and flourishes his pen, then hovers, ready to strike.

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  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  63. I think there's another problem: highlighting a potential hazard which could only ever occur in a world where people behaved contrary to policy makers' assumptions and prejudices..ie. the real world. I'm sure that in certain circles, positing a world and potential outcomes where everything isn't in line with official doctrine isn't a good career move...where children aren't mindless automatons liable to influence by skilful manipulation by worthy politicians and educators...where poverty breeds crime...where people enjoy drugs, 'addicts' hold down productive careers...where the working class managed to absorb and assimilate incomers for generations without state intervention and guidance...where a uniform assumption that every adult is a potential paedophile really doesn't make a happier, safer society...a world where even the dogs in the street can recognise official condescension, hyperbole and bullshit.

    I reckon if you suggested any of this in some places then outlined the potential ramifications for an initiative, based on a half-cocked piece of theorising and wishful thinking, you'd be branded an apostate.

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  64. 13thDuke - You do yourself a disservice - you have posted some excellent stuff on Cif and here!

    Monkeyfish - very interesting stuff. I am gonna order that book from Amazon. Coincidentally I have been reading Seven Basic Plots too. Keep dipping in and out of it. I love the Cif version. Perhaps we could have a game and place each article in of the basic plots.

    I think I am a bit depressed by the Tory braindead twats tonight. There is another Greece thread and the usual suspects jumping to be first to comment all shouting 'Greece needs to cut, cut, cut. Greece has to accept that the markets will lend to it if it is attractive.' etc etc.

    Don't any of these soulless, witless fools realise that this was exactly the same sort of attitude that many had to Germany and her reperations after the first world war? 'They should suck it up and pay and stop being childish'. It was what the international community demanded etc, etc. All the same sort of comments -the same sort of hard headed policy - that led to hyperinflation, the rise of the Nazi's etc.

    It is not just that I disagree with their politics but there is a stunning arrogance to them. They believe that all these measures can be taken, vital services cut, jobs lost and people will just sit and take it. Maybe they will, maybe neoliberalism has broken the back of any resistance but it is a big gamble to take. If people don't think there is anything remotely dangerous about this current situation then they must be blind. I just despair.

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  65. Montana - I would definitely be interested. I am fascinated by what seems to be happening over there but it is one thing to get a British press persective - quite another to get a natives perspective. And as for doing catch up posts in the morning - go for it! Why not - it would be great to hear what you think.

    Right am off to sort out the tea. Rice and boiled chicken for moi. Belly pork and potatoes and beer for him (sob).

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  66. Happy birthday, Habib!

    Have just had a quick read-through of the thread so far ... to quick to fully absorb everyone's points. Thought-provoking, an' all.

    Seems to me that Diversia should also be seeking IVF treatment on the NHS as it's (obviously) her god-given right to produce more middle-class children that will be educated in the right ways.

    Scherfig, love the Scherfig quotation - what a coincidence that you both have the same name. (Never heard of him before, tbh.)

    Montana, yes, I'd be very interested to hear what you have to say about Obama. What's he doing about Detroit, for example?

    Sounds as though I should go back and read yesterday's thread....

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  67. *too* quick!

    (Damn, that is one of my pet spelling peeves.)

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  68. Duke

    "Politics, football, music and life in general aren't mutually exclusive you know (-;"

    Couldn't agree more. And I'm not suggesting that this place should be wholly devoted to high-minded discussions about politics.

    I think there's a good balance on here, generally, covering all the bases you've mentioned. But I'd just like to see a bit more anger on here.

    Maybe that's just because I'm an angry argumentative bastard. And I'd like to see some positive reinforcement of my feelings on here.

    But anger can't be manufactured, and it's wrong of me to expect it of others.

    I tend to see the world in black and white still, you're either with us or against us. I've never been able to understand those who are able to have a foot in both camps, criticising the Cif editorial policy one minute and then trading banalities with jess, Bella and the arselickers on Waddya the next.

    Takes all sorts, I guess.

    Maybe I should just stop reading the waddya thread.

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  69. I'd just like to see a bit more anger on here.

    Fuck off, Hank, you pseudo working class tosser. You come on here railing about politics and social policy when obviously the most important issues have to do with tea and Jaffa cakes. Will you get your priorities straight, or is your head just permanently up your fundament?

    When they call the Jaffa cake a cake, will you be on the barricades?

    No, thought not.

    Wanker.

    ;-)

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  70. Evening folks.

    The public sector is in total meltdown and Cameron is threatening to choke it to death but the bankers are still paying themselves bonuses, so that's all right then. Despite the efforts of its supporters, the Labour Party has died, confessed its sins to the Pope & gone to that final resting place in the sky. What's to get angry about?

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  71. Very funny, thauma (-:

    But it's kinda symptomatic of the problem that you should turn it into a joke. I know that you don't like confrontation. Fair enough. That's why I appreciate it all the more when you occasionally lose your rag with the Mussel from Brussels.

    Anyway, fuck it. I've said my piece. People can take it or leave it. I get the feeling sometimes that I'm talking into a void, that I'm on a wholly different wavelength from others on here.

    I'll either keep posting my views into the void or fuck off. Haven't decided yet but you're all no doubt on the edge of your seats in anticipation of the decision.

    It's not gonna amount to a hill of beans in this crazy old world either way.

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  72. I've just got in from the pub.It was shit..except I had a fuckin cool idea.

    Here it is: "The Untrusted WADDAYA!!"

    Each week, or basically whenever he feels like, monkeyfish proposes a topic and everyone HAS to give their opinion...right..

    The Question..

    A Jack Russell is separated at birth from all canine contact and reared by a family in Stockton. Other than the anti-canine-fraternisation rule he is raised much as any other dog except for an hour a day he is put in a small room which contains a widescreen TV on which CGI representations of a psycho-rabbit ripping a group of Jack Russells to pieces are shown on loop...in graphic gory detail.

    At the end of this period, he is put in a room full of rabbits. Does he..

    a)go mental and try to rip their heads off?

    b)go mental and try to climb up your leg to reach safety?

    I know someone who claims to know the answer...except he's a serial bullshitter, 50% of the time...and, except he's just mad enough to have done it...I'm just wondering where he got the CGI Psycho-rabbit stuff from...that's the most suspicious part.

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  73. Hank, stick around.

    MF - it's a), obviously.

    Because first of all, I'm pretty sure dogs aren't able to grasp cgis. Secondly, Jack Russells are all mental ab ovo. Thirdly, no self-respecting Jack Russell (see point two) would ever leave a poor widdle bunny unmolested.

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  74. The Jack Russell question reminds me of Jane Smiley, in fact. She's an American novelist and left-wing contributor to the Huffington Post. Her book "Horse Heaven" has some very entertaining anthopological views of the Jack Russell character. (For some reason, a lot of horsey people love JRs. I don't get it, myself.)

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  75. *sigh*

    I meant anthropomorphic.

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  76. Hm. Everyone seems to have absconded. Being a witch an' all, I believe I'll dust my broom.

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  77. Evening All

    princess Great rant!

    BB: much impressed by your highly industrious patience the other day on Clifford Smith.

    As for internal UT navel staring ...

    I read a hell of a lot of very good stuff on these pages and some not quite so good. All in all well worth it.

    Plus, for me the main attraction of UT is that it is far more cultured and compassionate than CiF below, and in some cases above the magic line.

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  78. I'm still here, thauma - just. I've spent an hour on the phone tonight with a friend whose elderly mother has Alzheimer's & is needing more care. Last night, another friend rang because she's coming to terms with being abused as a child.

    Right now, I really wish that I could still abuse alcohol with impugnity.

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  79. Hank

    I'll either keep posting my views into the void or fuck off. Haven't decided yet but you're all no doubt on the edge of your seats in anticipation of the decision.

    The UT Committee of Public Safety met earlier and the meeting has been adjourned. The decision has been made, you're staying.

    A scrappy win today for Forest I see, what's the feeling on the terraces about automatic promotion?

    And on a football tip, did you read Harry Pearson's blog yesterday on why your football team always lets you down especially when you're personally going through a rough patch? It's one of the best pieces I've read, really touching.

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  80. Ah, MsChin, sympathy to your friends. My granny had dementia (whether or not it was Alzheimer's was under debate) towards the end and it's very hard when the person you adore most seems not to know who you are.

    And I (luckily) can't even imagine the other.

    Have a spliff. Everyone needs something to make the world seem a little better.

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  81. Duke

    why your football team always lets you down especially when you're personally going through a rough patch

    Ha - I didn't read it as I'm not into the footie, but I can relate. Luckily with spring showing signs of being sprung, I am coming out of a mild weather-related rough patch and fully expect Ireland to trounce Wales next week. Be warned: Scotland is next.

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  82. Mchica I am suneeta - that made me giggle. Thank you.

    Hank is right, we should shout and cry about the world around us. I am so worried about the five year old boy, taken in Pakistan and his mum, living in a hell none of us can describe.

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  83. thauma

    Yep, my mother had dementia & I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I wasn't abused as a child either but it seems to be much more common than most people imagine. So yes, as monkeyfish said somewhere upthread, 'shit happens' to people IRL. And we have to deal with it when it does.

    Anyway, I shouldn't be bringing everyone down on here. Can someone spin a choon?

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  84. Habib - that reminds me: I saw a follow-up article on Elian Gonzalez recently but didn't read it as I actually had some work to do. Poor kid. Will see if I can find it now.

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  85. Distinct lack of songs tonight. It is a Saturday night.

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  86. hello habib - hope you've had a good birthday.

    I saw the poor little lad's mum on the news earlier, very dignified but clearly suffering.

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  87. thauma,

    Scotland are so bad at rugby at the moment they make the football team look like Brazil in comparison.

    Habib, I meant to say, enjoy the last hour and a bit of your birthday.

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  88. Duke - did we win today? I left five minutes from the end, desperate for a fag and a beer.

    Well, if we won, I take it all back. I love everybody and everything.

    Nah, seriously, I got to the pub just in time to see Jeff Stelling, bless him, announce that there'd been "a twist in the tale" at the CG.

    The feeling on the terraces is that automatic promotion was there for the asking in January, but the failure to buy in the window, while the Geordies and the Baggies brought in 6 and 5 new faces respectively, will cost us dear.

    We'll make the playoffs for sure now, there's an outside chance we might get automatic. We're due a bit of luck after the last ten years so who knows.

    As for the other thing, I can be the token angry guy if that's what the committee decides. As long as the committee is prepared to see that anger turned on them at times.

    I guess I'm pissing in the wind calling for a debate about what this place is really for. And it's obvious that my view is a minority one anyway.

    This tune seems quite appropriate. One of my faves..

    oblivious

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  89. Your Grice: (Apologies to the others)

    Re your move to Leiden:

    By way of quick Dutch lesson please read and enjoy this short fragment of very modern very bureaucratic prose:

    GEMEENTE LEIDEN

    Koploper homo-emancipatiebeleid

    Beleid:
    Geen specifiek beleid op het gebied van homo-emancipatie, wel inbedding in emancipatie-beleid. Het COC Leiden voert in het kader van de koplopergelden
    een aantal extra taken uit, naast hun reguliere activiteiten waarvoor zij geen subsidie ontvangen van de gemeente Leiden.

    Sinds wanneer specifiek homo-emancipatiebeleid:
    N.v.t.

    Speerpunten (korte en lange termijn):
    In de koploperovereenkomst met COC Leiden zijn de speerpunten jongeren en ouderen opgenomen. De jongeren worden bereikt door middel van voorlichting
    op scholen volgens de zgn. Leidse methode. De ouderen worden individueel ondersteund. Daarnaast worden besturen van woonvoorzieningen voor ouderen
    ondersteund bij het vormgeven van beleid gericht op homoseksuele of lesbische bewoners.

    Betrokken gemeentelijke sectoren/diensten:
    Het COC Leiden voert alles uit.

    Samenwerking met maatschappelijke en/of zorg en welzijnsorganisaties:
    Het COC Leiden werkt samen met onder andere zorginstellingen, scholen, zelforganisaties voor migranten en buitenlandse organisaties voor homoemancipatie.

    Samenwerking belangengroeperingen:
    Zie boven.

    Andere samenwerkingspartners:
    n.v.t.

    Welke partijen voeren het beleid uit:
    COC Leiden

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  90. Duke - Scotland are improving, I think. Just not quite there yet.

    Here's the Elián Gonzalez article. As much about Cuban-American relations as the lad.

    Hank - I think this place is what it is, and it what it is because of what people post. So if you want more political content, then post it, or write something for UT2. Your first was a good 'un, and I'm sure you have many more in you.

    Me, I quite like the eclectic nature of what goes on here, but UT2 is under-utilised as a forum.

    Off now - 'night all!

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  91. Hank,

    High land, Hard rain- one of my favourite albums ever. Did you know Roddy Frame was only 19 when this album was released?

    He'd done a few singles for the legendary Postcard records label when he was 15/16 and when Postcard inevitably imploded he signed up to WEA.

    You're not the token angry guy Hank, that's for sure. We all seethe on here and on CiF in different ways. Personally as I'm bailing out of the country in a couple of weeks, I think it would be hypocritical of me to highlight my anger at the way the country is being taken hard up the arse and what to do about it. And for what it's worth there's never been a word you've said on Politics that I haven't agreed with.

    I hope that 20 quid is in the post ;)

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  92. Tsjonge jonge medve,

    Hoe laat is het? En u wilt me het vertalen?! Ik heb meer bier nodig.

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  93. Your Grice!

    nee, nee, niet vertalen! alleen vlug even kijken. even de de stijl opsnuiven meer niet!

    [en laten wij tutoyeren jij en ik]

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  94. Plus i'll open a cold Hoegaarden and drink your health.

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  95. Yep, Duke, 19 years old. Roddy Frame, boy wonder. Having said that, Weller was only 18 when he wrote most of the tracks on In the City, and 19 when he wrote the finest song ever made....

    tubestation

    Anyway, I could row with you lot all night, but I'd really like to row with Henry Porter. What a fucking twat that guy is. He's just discovered that football fans get badly treated by the police because he got a letter from a Professor saying so.

    40 years of coppers up for a fight, knowing that they could give some kid a kicking with impunity, and Porter looked the other way. Now the middle classes attend games and get inconvenienced, Porter thinks there's a civil liberties angle.

    What 20 quid?!

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  96. medve,

    aaaah, prima. Ik bekijk morgen het. Fijn avond en slaap lekker.

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  97. I'll sneak this in while I have another few minutes.

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  98. Prima. Ik bekijk het morgen. Fijne avond an slaap lekker.

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  99. Habib: prompts me to roll out one more in your honour ;-)

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  100. @thauma - "i think this place is what it is"

    I said the same.

    "so if you want more political content then post it"

    I have done. It enters the void.

    If you've been reading attentively, and I know you have, my complaint is not so much about political comment here as much as engagement.

    Do we care about politics, values, integrity, honesty?

    If so, how much do we care?

    Is it more important to be in with the crowd on Waddya, laughing along with the liberals and the nepotists, than it is to recognise that shit for what it is?

    And so I go back again to the question I raised last night - what is the Untrusted for?

    I'm genuinely intrigued to know what some of the other regulars think it's for. I know for a fact that, as far as I was always concerned, it wasn't a place for Kiz, LordS, SwiftyBoy and Bru to gossip on. And I make no apologies for telling all of them to fuck off.

    So, then, what is it for?

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  101. "So, then, what is it for?"
    Well I don't know, it just is.

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  102. Hello All

    Missed ya.

    Sorry i.m late Habib - many happies

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  103. Hank

    i have spent most of the day ranting about Games Theory and social psychology - not on Cif.

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  104. Leni

    As long as you've been ranting. That's all that matters to me.

    angerisanenergy

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  105. Hi Hank

    Not read your link yet but yes anger is energy - when used positively. Too many use it in a negative sense - or against themselves. Just at the moment there are too many targets - I.m sure many of us feel this. There are old economic and political models (failed) and the new brand of educated oikes spouting psycho nonsense - much of it designed to maintain the staus quo or even advance the position of the already advantaged.

    Can't stay angry all the time - human spirit needs music or football once in a while.

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  106. Ah yes - The Sex Pistols. all downhill since then- politically and socially.

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  107. I guess what puzzles me, Hank, is what you mean by engagement. Most of us seem to have more or less the same political views and I suspect that, like me, most people when they read your comments, nod their heads in agreement and, therefore, there's not much to engage with.

    It seems to me that what you miss are the adrenaline-stimulating rants and you're simply not going to have much of an opportunity for those kinds of arguments on a site where pretty much everyone else agrees with you.

    As I said the other night, the people who want more in-depth discussion need to carry a bit more of the weight, if that's the case. I could have sworn that we'd decided that this was the place for more light-hearted social interaction and the UT2 was for weightier discussions. If you want something to stir debate, post it over there and announce it here, don't just plop it here and hope people respond to it the way you want them to.

    The people that you claim have left here because they thought the conversations here are too shallow -- get them back and get them posting on UT2.

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  108. Montana

    You make a good point. Cif has little to offer in terms of real debate, Very little is thought provoking or in any way innovative in terms of political thought.

    trouble is unless someone was willing to play devil's advocate we'ed probably all more or less agree - so little to get the adrenalin going.

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  109. What I miss is the anger.

    The sheer fucking outrage.

    The utter contempt.

    The sense that we - all of us - we are collegiate because bastards like Jessica Fucking Reed and Matt fucking Seaton don't give a flying fuck about anything we care about.

    Because they're just about numbers and their own stupid little careers.

    Because we all know that but don't want to admit it in case it affects our posting rights on waddyya.

    We have become the media.

    Every story is just yet another comment on another press release.

    Every headline is the result of a press pack.

    Every wittering here is the stuff that's just a little too - hey - outré - for waddyya.

    Get real.

    Self.

    Sanitising.

    Crap.

    And before anyone gets on their high fucking horse, I can count fewer than three people who have actually written articles here in the past.

    So shit or get off the fucking pot.

    Team talk over.

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  110. @Montana - yep, you're mostly right. Very astute insights. What you've missed though, or not addressed, is my reference to those with feet in both camps.

    You agreed with me yesterday that the UT was partly a response to the editorial policy of Cif, a place where we could stamp our little feet in petulant, impotent rage.

    But the truth is that we don't really want to do that if it impacts on our posting rights over there or the relationships we have with those we while away the working day swapping banalities with.

    Everybody here agrees that MAM is a wrong 'un, and BreakingFree also, so we all slap each other on the back when we take them on and give them a bit of stick.

    That's easy.

    But we don't all agree that Jessica, Bella, kizbot or LordS are wrong uns, despite the fact that for those of us who are angry lefties, these timewasters are more worthy of our contempt than the easy, obvious, bogeymen.

    Doesn't it piss you off much that LordS, ally and others pop in when they've got pre-modded, and then fuck off again when they've been reprieved? Don't you feel like you've been used?

    There's a lot to like about the UT, chief amongst which is that the regulars on here are nice, humane and compassionate people.

    But those qualities can be alienating too for those of us who aren't quite so nice and humane.

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  112. Right. The next articles are coming from.... who ?

    Get working and stop indulging yourselves.

    Liberate people.

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  113. Yep, BW, the anger, the outrage, the contempt. It's all gone. Supplanted by a low-level whining hum.

    It's a fucking shame.

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  114. Interesting comment Hank.

    Why would we want to offload anger onto people with whom we have no quarrel. that's make whipping boys out of the wrong targets,

    Some - most of the cooments on WADDYA are harmless or beneath contempt. Mam is barely human within my definition of the term. Why waste anger on these people - it may make you feel better but will change nothing, There are worthier targets.

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  115. Leni

    I like you.

    You represent evreything that is good as far as I'm concerned.

    Do you not feel a certain contempt towards what you believe in from their editorial policy ?

    A sense of manipulation ?

    I get a hunch that too many people are toeing their risible line just on the back chance they get something in lights over there.

    It's all very clannish.

    They are, by all evidence, bastards and enemies of the truth....


    I guess it might just be an exercise for some, but for others, no. It's more.

    Just curious.

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  116. "Why would we want to offload anger onto people with whom we have no quarrel"

    I do have a quarrel with them, Leni. I dislike their trivialisation of serious issues. I think that the people I'm talking about are responsible for turning a worthwhile arena for comment into a water cooler for vacuous idiots.

    "Why waste anger on these people - it may make you feel better but will change nothing"

    It doesn't make me feel better. It just makes me increasingly pissed off, and much as I'd like to, I can't look away. As for changing nothing, well, yeh, that pisses me off too. We're all powerless really. It's about time I grew up and disengaged from comment sites. Just swallow the soma and accept my fate.

    I'm genuinely depressed about all this shit atm, Leni. Anger's one option, disengagement is the other.

    I've tried anger, and it's not working for me or for others, so I'll give disengagement a shot.

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  118. Hi Bitterweed

    Thanks.

    Cif and its policies? Sprats to catch posters and revenue. Many posters there for the back rubbing. vying among them to be most acceptable very often, there is a level of camaraderie among them which I can't engage with. Its not real - point scoring in the name of humour - lots of things.

    The fact that it is for the most part harmless is I think the problem. Like pink cotton wool. The odd post makes me laugh - some of the better posts are sometimes on WADDYA.

    The main articles are either anodyne or deliberately provocative about the the small things - often presented as though they are major problems which if we could but solve would spin the world on a new axis.

    Don't know why I go there really - just habit I think - also a bit isolated here - read too much- head popping with ideas but nowhere to put them.

    As to anger - yes I am angry. Too many targets - class inequality, education, racism, apathy as well as political animals who have messed up the world, who dine on caviare while millions starve - cruelty and and and ...

    Cif is complacent, safely middle of the road with no substance. The systems can no longer simply be fiddled with - a tuck here a fold there - drastic change is needed. That is - should be - the arena of discussion.

    I'll shut up now.

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  119. But we don't all agree that Jessica, Bella, kizbot or LordS are wrong uns, despite the fact that for those of us who are angry lefties, these timewasters are more worthy of our contempt than the easy, obvious, bogeymen.

    Doesn't it piss you off much that LordS, ally and others pop in when they've got pre-modded, and then fuck off again when they've been reprieved? Don't you feel like you've been used?


    Well, I agree. I agree completely. And yes, I do feel used when people pop in here while they're in pre-mod only to disappear again when they're not. Ally, in particular, has left a very sour taste in my mouth in that regard.

    If any of you think that I've been reticent to say anything here for fear of jeopardising any possibility of more ATL commissions, then I'm sorry to have accepted the two that I did. The money wasn't worth having any of you think that of me.

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  120. Hank

    do you think you are alone/ i cannot understand how billions of people allow a few hundred and their sycophantic hangers on to wreck the world for the majority.

    The question which I can't answer is what to do with the anger - it just gets diffused. It's like living in a vacuum. Obvious injustice is ignored or wrapped up in platitudes. the angry are expunged - one way or another - the wreckers are rewarded and tolerated by the majority.

    Yes we can give up - walk away. We can also try to engage in a nonangry way - express alternative ideas. People don't want ideas.

    Look at the recommendation nonsense. Two people can in essence say the same thing - one may swear or drop an insult into a sentence - the other won't, simply puts their case - the first gets the recommendations. that says much.

    If you want to walk away that would be your choice - my anger no longer makes me aggressive it just feeds into a resignation which sometimes borders on despair.

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  121. No, Leni. Don't shut up. I think you're just getting going.

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  122. Montana

    I certainly don't think that.

    Your last ATL was a case in point - you wrotec honestly of your experience. The sheer nastiness it generated amazed me, I don't believe that any of the nasties had actually seriously thought about how toys may or may not influence children before they read it. They just wanted something to be nasty about. There is a pettiness about small things which covers apathy about the big problems. How many would write with such anger about starving children or men picking yellow cake with bare hands?

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  123. You know if it were possible to harness the energy of the all the pain and sadness in this world and then direct it posively we could change things almost overnight.

    what people who espouse small causes or indulge in petty identity politics - or huge nationalist ones - have not yet fathomed out is that THEY are the ones who divide to let others rule.

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  124. Montana - I wasn't thinking of you when I talked of people with feet in both camps. I know which flag you'd follow if the need arose.

    And, yeh, you should feel used. Disappointed with Ally, but not so much so with LordS. Just confirmed what I'd always thought.

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  125. Ally came for a stroke and to be "one of the boys" - just for a minute.

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  126. Don't.

    Don't shut up.

    Don't go away.

    "drastic change is needed... That is - should be - the arena of discussion."

    Exactly.

    It has exactly the potential to be a forum for challenging ideas.

    Instead it is - deliberately - a place to argue the toss on different hues of the Establishment's path.

    To just say "oh well" is fine. Most do, or so it seems.

    To agree with it is different again.

    To pretend to disgaree while wholeheartedly buying in is cheap and unworthy.

    It has a disgraceful management style, and half the people who rock up here have no voice over there any more.

    It insults, regularly, everyone's intelligence on all matters.

    It needs combatting not feeding.

    I am regularly amused yet slightly dismayed by people's behaviour here.

    It's a travesty, such a wasted opportunity.

    As I've pointed out before, Rusbridger is "proud" that cif has "200,000 members."

    That is his bottom line.

    You - we - all of us - are just colateral.

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  127. "my anger no longer makes me aggressive it just feeds into a resignation which sometimes borders on despair"

    That's beautifully put, Leni, and like an insight into my soul.

    Christ knows how depressed I'd be if Forest had lost today.

    Nite leni and Montana

    xx

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  128. Bitterweed: what do we do to change things up here? How do you propose that we tap into that potential?

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  129. Easy. Get people writing shit for here rather than hoping they get a commission over there.

    The talent's here. Just need to not be frittering it on chit chat.

    I'll go first. Minimun 1000 words by next Thursday on PFI and the lack of will among the three big players to change anything. Forward planning = shambles.

    And now, just to show what a charlatan I am, and a total fan of you, here's my favourite song ever (well, for now):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZaZqx9v3dU

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  130. I'll be looking forward to it. Love the song. Love you.

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