23 April 2010


Happy St. George's Day!

You know how Google anticipates your search and gives you suggestions?  When I typed "st george flag" (I don't bother capitalising when I'm doing a Google search -- it's not case sensitive and that shift key is just such a pain...), Google added the word "racist" at the top of the anticipated searches.  How freaking sad is that?  Time to reclaim the flag of St. George from racist fuckwits, perhaps?

As most of you surely know, it's also the day designated as Shakespeare's birthday in 1564 and the day he died, in 1616.  Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra also died on this day in 1616 and those lovely Catalonians celebrate la Diada de Sant Jordi by giving each other roses and books.  That's a holiday I could get into, so:

¡Feliç diada de Sant Jordi!



  1. leni/habib/Paul - interesting conversations between you night shift guys this morn.

    Well that's me monthly 3Gb 'net allowance just about used up so I'll have to be quiet for a while and use what's left for lurking once a day.

    laters good people.

  2. By George! Montana, i think you are so right!

    And books and roses too, we could have a good day.

  3. Happy St. George's Day, everyone!

    Just saw that yesterday a lengthy article by our favourite one-name-only-ATL-contributor, but not on CiF, instead in the culture part, and without the possibility to comment!

    Makes reading it pretty pointless, doesn't it?

  4. Morning all, happy St George's Day (although I am troubled by the dragonist implications of that).

    Don't care, however, as have managed to find an alternative proxy voter who can actually get to 'my' polling station on the day! So my 0.018 of a vote will be cast after all. Feel very relieved.

  5. Phil, hard for me to break this to you, but dragons really *are* bastards (except the female ones, they're bitches). I've met *all* of them, and none was behaving with the least shred of decency, so it's not prejudice speaking out of my mouth.

  6. elementary - I've seen Shrek, so I will reject your anecdata on the basis of that utterly unarguable peer-reviewed study.

  7. Hello folks. Napoleon here. Thanks for clebrating my birthday. I have been without the internet for a few days, it is like heroin withdrawl. Livinh in Glasgow now, looking out around the job market-- not too great.

    I will be around for a wee while but I also have to do other stuff, chck my emails, my OU course etc. I will post another message soon.

    Tonight I will come back to the internet cafe at about five in the evening hopefully, we will talk longer

  8. Phil, sorry to break this one to you, too, but "Shrek" was *fiction*. Real ogres are of a brown colour.

  9. HOws your OU going, Napoleon? I'm snowed under but finishing the whole bastard thing in October, so nearly there, 5 years later...

    Bidisha has indeed been "Bindeled" - sent to other areas of the site free from wicked readers comments...

  10. Jay Reilly. It is very simple, particlaurly the science bit, really it is barely above GCSE level. Jsut there are many pointless exercises and activites to pad the course out. 'Study skills' and the like. Bollocks in my opinuion. Other than that I am doing two other courses, one a course on shakespeare's plays, and another on essay writing (helpful if I oneday get commissioned by cif).

    Where I live in Glasgow is the east end, although not far from the city centre. There is quite a lot of poverty. My landlord is great though, very bougeoisie and cultured. It is not as bad as the stereotypes, although of course there is poverty. I am in a place called Denistoun, well on the fringes, in a quite dead end street.

    Job hunting is depressing as fuck. I went into the cental job centre yesterday and felt like killing myself. However I discovered a reasonablty respectable and comfortable job, working as a receptionist at a backpackers hostel. I have been to many hostels around the world, it is an easy type of job, so I will apply. I will try and act as middle class and bouregeoise as possibel.

  11. Norning all!

    PB - Agree about the dragonist implications!;)

    Really depressed about the election, can't bring myself to feel any enthusiasm for it! Democracy (even the flawed bourgeoius kind we had) is dead in this country.

    What is urgently need now is a lot of the 'talking to people' we discussed recently.

    Time for the left to get off its knees!

  12. Grrrrr! Morning all!

    Elementary - Red Dragons are different (from the Welsh point of view anyway!). There is a story in the Mabinogion of two Dragons fighting each other one white (thought to symbolise the Saxons) and the other red (symbolising the Welsh). The red one eventually killed the white one of course!

    More details can be found here.

    So red are OK (if you are Welsh LOL!)

  13. Obviously need more coffee!

    red dragons

  14. anntean,

    I agree completely. The UK is an apolitical state where political discussion has become an empty formality.

    If the Graun had any balls it would vouch for 'none of the above' but that would mean having to tackle the big questions of democracy in the technocratic post-political age. It would much rather join in the meaningless carnival of 2010.

    On the open thread about the Guardian's position, I have been gobsmacked by the amount of posts that say the lib dems are the voice of the left.

  15. I dont know which module you're doing, NK, but the level 1s are very simple as a sort of warm up and to make sure people havent chosen a course completely beyond their abilitiy. I found the jump from the level 1 to lvl 2 (2nd year i suppose) pretty large.

    My first lvl 2 essay, philosophy, i got 41% and a complete mauling by the tutor, its a big jump in requirements. But then got used to it, got some firsts and some nice pats on the back from tutor, but it seems even one ommission or error and they dock huge amounts of points for it, tight markers. So be warned, lvl 2 gets nasty.

  16. Jay .

    Yeah I know, but I am essentially wasting a year and a half of my life going through level 1 courses.

    Pissing me off.

  17. Are you doing an "Open" degree or specific subject? I just did one 60pt level 1, so only took 8 months. But did mean doing social science as the module. I also wasted 8 months and £500 doing a course in error that wont even make up my degree, very annoying. You can cram the thing in quite fast though, which i only learnt towards the end, by overlapping your courses.

    So do a Feb start 60pt, then an Oct start 60pt, etc. The overlap period is very hard, assignment every 2 weeks, but it does mean you could get the whole thing done in about 3 years i think, instead of the 5 i have taken by making silly course choices.

    Also, bear in mind - lvl 1 scores do not contrbute to your degree scores, so as long as you pass (40%<) the score is irrelevant (other than pride), which is handy to know, once i found out the scores dont count i just spent a couple of evenings per assignment and turned in some dreadful work but scraped through, alls well.

  18. Jay. I will see. I would like to get a BSc, so I can pick and choose later on. I am interested in environmental sciences, but also biology and chemisty. I can combine the course with some mathematics mosucles, which is what I hope to do

    The thing is the main level one science course (wothr 60 points) does not actually start till October, it finishes in June, and only then can I do something harder, the following October (2011). So I cannot do anything challening.
    But I think it is possible to blag your way to doing harder courses. I know a 17 year old who is doing at least a level 2 course in science. She is very clever. If I do really well in my level 1s, then I will try and blag my way onto a level 2 course early.

    Also, level ones do count to your degree. As you know, an honours degree is 360 points, of which the 10 point level one courses can contribute to.

    Anyway, can't talk. Hoepfully I will be back about 5pm for two hours or so. I am filling in application forms et, emailing them online. I will go home soon. One parting message.....


  19. Well, I've just spent next week's groceries budget on courriering replacement proxy form to Catford, so am eating weetabix for lunch.

    utterly pointless, really, but couldn't not, if you see what i mean. peh.

  20. Happy St Georges day! or as Will once said:

    And you, good yeoman,

    Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
    The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
    That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
    For there is none of you so mean and base,
    That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.

    I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
    Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
    Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
    Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George

  21. Cameron on election call has been very warm and cuddly. Makes me want to kill.

  22. NK

    Mine may be different from yours but for my BA lvl 1 scores dont contribute, you just need to pass. It bases the final grade on lvl 2 and 3 only. The honours is indeed 360 but the score is only made up (in my case) of my best 2 level 2 scores, and both my level 3 scores, its then weighted as approrpriate so lvl 3 is most "heavy". Though things may have changed.

    Also, worth phoning them up about your start times, i started my level 3 (the overlap) before i finished all my lvl 2s. If there is, say, a Feb starting lvl 2 course you might be able to start that even though you'll be a few months away from finishing your lvl 1.

  23. Afternoon James, quiet around here.

    I've been pondering the media and this election in the aftermath of Sky News' predictable coverage of the leaders debate and the right wing press going into overdrive.

    I can't remember an election (with the possibility of 1992) where the right wing press appear to be shitting themselves that they've backed the wrong horse quite as much as this one.

    Contrary to News International propaganda, I don't believe they have ever influenced an election. 1979, 83 and 87 were always going to be Thatcher victories regardless.

    1992, they may have had a marginal influence but I think the electorate ultimately remained unconvinced about Kinnock to the extent they went with Major.

    1997, Blair had moved NL so far to the right, the chip wrappers had no need to make an ideological leap, same goes for 2001 and 2005.

    This election is interesting in that News International appear to have made a major tactical blunder in backing Cameron. Of course the net result is pure panic and like an injured/frightened wild beast they are lashing out hysterically ie Bolton and Burley last night and the ludicrous headlines about Clegg this week.

    What will be indicative is how much effect unleashing the swivel eyed dogs of war will have.

    For the first time since the Zinoviev letter (itself an utter fabrication printed by right wing press) the right wing media may have an influence.

    For me, this remains the only interesting aspect of this election. Are the media as powerful in influencing political choice as they think they are?

    The only positive aspects for me of a Lib Dem victory and hung parliament is watching cuntybaws Cameron being hung out to dry by the Tories and Murdoch's 'the Sun only backs winners' bullshit to be revealed for what it is.

  24. And how apt is Dutch word of the day.

    schorriemorrie: scum

    as in

    "Rupert Murdoch is een rijke man maar hij is gewoon schorriemorrie" =

    "Rupert Murdoch is a rich man but he is just scum"

    What I like about this word is that it sounds like a posh Scotch Whisky.

    "It's my birthday so I treated myself to an 18 year old bottle of schorriemorrie."

  25. 13th Duke,

    Interesting thoughts....

    The only access to newspaper pieces I have here are online, and tbh, I tend not to look at stuff like the Telegraph, Sun, Mail, Times etc, but I have heard about some of the 'tactics' been used during the campaign.

    In my opinion, I think that the press has some power, in that they have power over message/presentation.
    -The number of people reading the print press seems to be declining, and from that, I think it's fair to say that a lot of people, if they do bother to read it, won't then bother to follow up/fact check whatever angle or position is presented to them therein.

    (this, incidentally, is part of why I have issues with the Guardian's FOX news approach...)

    However, like you alluded to, I think that the press, in the past, has merely backed a horse that they're pretty damn sure is going to win, and then claimed that they pushed it over the finishing line, and now, for those who backed Cameron, when this all looked like a foregone conclusion, may well find that myth shattered, or, at the very least, severely tempered!

    (Although, if they do go all out to stop the 'wrong' result from happening to save face, and it works, I'm going to be pretty thankful that I've already got a valid visa for 'abroad'...)

  26. Afternoon all and a Happy St Georges Day to everyone.

    Not that i,ve ever celebrated it mind.St Patricks
    Day was always celebrated as a child because of my
    Irish mother.And let,s just say my Dad was always
    happy when the Windies thrashed England at cricket.
    A total failure of the Norman Tebbitt test in our
    household.Oh well!

    I do however consider myself to be British but we
    sadly don,t have a special day to celebrate Britishness.And if we did if would probably rapidly
    descend into a PC farce.Lovely day for old Georgie
    boy though!

  27. Afternoon Paul,

    The St George celebrations, or lack thereof, is an interesting issue. I used to be dead against a day of 'patriotism', but now I'm not so sure, to be honest.

    The main problem that I see, is that I suspect it would almost instantly be 'co-opted' by some of the usual suspects, namely UKIP and the BNP.....

  28. Great story for the anti-Murdoch'ers about Murdoch Jr and the "feisty" (tell that to Ross Chimp) Rebekah Brooks (née Wade) here.


  29. Afternoon Paul,

    James. Good points.

    I also think the press are worried that in the brave new world of PR voting, the old simplistic tribal allegiances of Labour/Tory will no longer be applicable (not that there's any difference between them anyway).

    Political reporting will have to be more sophisticated as the press will have to cover the policies of the smaller 'kingmaker' parties. This clearly will be an enormous challenge if you read David Yelland's article during the week that the Sun never even bothered to send anyone to lib dem conferences.

    This is indicative of the politically primitive, boys own cosy network that has always existed between politics and the two major parties.

    If PR happens, it is going to be as big a culture shock in Fleet Street as it is in Westminster.

  30. Hi James

    Trouble is that the UK has a bit of a crisis of
    confidence vis-a-vis national identity.The Scots
    and Welsh largely define themselves as being Scots
    and Welsh and now enjoy differing degrees of devolved
    power.The Northern Irish also have devolved power
    but have this dreadful sectarian divide-with the Catholics wanting to reunite with Ireland and the
    Unionists 'proud to be Brits'.And the English are
    probably the most confused as to who they are-given
    that most ethnic minorities live in England and PC
    dictates-as well as extremist ones- are most likely to kick in with regard to any discussion on national identity there.

    So whilst i would like a Day celebrating
    Britishness i know that in reality the competing
    factions would make that impossible.

  31. Philippa: I admire your determined and practical attitude to democracy.

  32. Swiftyboy,

    I saw that yesterday. Hilarious. Is it just me or does James Murdoch bear an uncanny resemblance to Skeletor from 'He-Man'?

  33. @13thDuke:

    He does indeed. Has Skeletor's warmth and charm as well.

    On the subject of lookie-likies out of kids' shows, I met Rebekah once, she was the spit of Crystal Tips.


  34. Hello, how is everyone. I will only be around for an hour or two. Glasgow is wet at the moment, not done much today, applied for a few job etc.

  35. Swiftyboy

    Cheers for that. Made me laugh.

    (The Murdochs are both on my 'just give me five minutes alone in a windowless room with them, please' list).

  36. @James Dixon:

    When he was CEO of Sky, he (Jr) was well known for his robust exchanges with his colleagues Darroch, Florsheim and Freudenstein in senior management. The only bloke he walked in fear of was Vic Wakeling, then Head of Sky Sports (now retired).

    I genuinely wouldn't want to be in a room alone with him.

  37. 13th duke

    "This is indicative of the politically primitive, boys own cosy network that has always existed between politics and the two major parties.

    If PR happens, it is going to be as big a culture shock in Fleet Street as it is in Westminster."

    Totally agree.

    I've never looked into it properly, but there doesn't seem to be a clear distinction between the press/politics networks at all.

    I'm not even sure why we put so much emphasis on a free-press or free speech, cause they all seem to have voluntarily given it up for exclusives, face-time, access, and the odd hand-job 'for old times sake' anyway anyway!

  38. swiftyboy

    'I genuinely wouldn't want to be in a room alone with him'.

    Haha - but never underestimate the anger and strength of a football/TV fan who couldn't afford Sky/Sky sports....

  39. Paul

    I agree. The trouble is more what defines Britishness, I think.

    It's funny, cause I always laughed at the notion that there was something, but since living abroad, I've sort of started to see some things that I now consider as 'very British'(to the point where I can now spot fellow Brits at considerable distance).

    Problem is, these are likely to be different than a lot of other people, who would want to 'celebrate' some very different things, which I would not consider to be worthy of celebrating, if that makes sense.

    So yeah, it's a tough one...

  40. James

    No what you mean with regard to spotting a Brit a mile
    off when abroad.

    Another thing-i don,t know how long you,ve live abroad
    but in Blighty it seems every other kid nowadays speaks with a fake Caribbean accent-especially in London and irrespective of ethnicity.Trouble is that when the kids who were British born but of Caribbean ethnicity actually go to the Caribbean they are immediately identified as being British.ie their
    accent isn,t seen by the Caribbean peoples as being
    of the Caribbean at all.Plus going to the Caribbean
    brings home to them and their parents just how
    British they are with regard to their expectations.

  41. Meant to say KNOW what you mean.Brain,s not in gear

  42. Paul

    I think that this:

    "Trouble is that when the kids who were British born but of Caribbean ethnicity actually go to the Caribbean they are immediately identified as being British.ie their
    accent isn,t seen by the Caribbean peoples as being
    of the Caribbean at all.Plus going to the Caribbean
    brings home to them and their parents just how
    British they are with regard to their expectations".

    ...is a very interesting point, and one that is constantly overlooked when immigration etc is presented in such polarised terms.

    Being isolated from your culture is a very hard thing, I think, but being 'caught between' cultures can be even harder, and I think the e/affects of that are not fully understood or appreciated.

    I've only been an 'immigrant' for two years, but I've certainly began to look at the issue very differently....

  43. Well, it's all gone a bit 'end of the worldish' here, so I suspect my power and t'internetz will go out shortly.

    Have a good Friday evening folks....

  44. This is the best post I've read on CiF in donkies. I'm posting it here before it gets zapped.

    It's 'MavisCoulter' (quite clear who it is) on the Seaton election thread:

    The Guardian's election editorial meeting

    Oh shit, I wish I'd been there. Love the picture(I printed it off to show my mum). It must have been surreal. I hope it opened with a wise woman uttering gnomic nonsense as a prayer for guidance from each participant's "inner single Somali immigrant mother". Did you stop for herbal tea and energy flapjacks made from organic oats and nettles? Were there prizes for the best knitwear? Worthiest countenance? Most uses of 'progressive' in a single platitude? And, at the end did Rushbridger knock out Cumbaya on the piano while you all trooped out dropping loose chains in a bucket for under-appreciated, transgendered pavement artists in Bolivia?

  45. @James-if the power is failing attach a bike to your
    computer and peddle furiously.That should generate
    enough electricity to get it going again.Or so they
    said on a past episode of Dads Army.Have a good
    weekend anyways.

    @Duke-nice one!I,d say many a truth was spoken in
    jest there.

  46. (Well,trying to post with my new phone,to tell the whole truth)

  47. Habib

    I is here.
    We currently seem to have a village full of South African mountain bikers - very noisy people.

  48. Habib

    Why are there only four ?

  49. I dunno, but have a bit of mellow, to distract you from the noise, Leni :-)

  50. Evening Leni and Habib

    Am feeling even more zombified tonight.Cif had this
    crap blog today about the positive aspects of having
    a kip whilst working.Who the f-ck writes such bollocks?

    If you keep falling asleep on the job the only thing
    you are likely to get is your p45.Anyway that,s what
    cif is there for-to keep people awake(plus of course
    lots of coffee)Really do need a long long sleep
    followed by a long long holiday.Hope you are both
    in good spirit.

  51. BTW Leni-re your noisy neighbours-i,ve invested in
    some foam earplugs from BOOTS which can at least
    reduce noise nuisance.Another downside about working
    nights is there is nothing you can do if your
    neighbours are doing DIY during the day whilst you
    are trying to sleep.

  52. Paul, I fall asleep on the job all the time, been caught by my boss on many occasions, too. I must be doing something right, because I still have a job... not a very good one, admittedly...

  53. I was listening to Quentin Tarantino on Radio 4 tonight, talking about his soundtrack choices. What a pretentious git, I thought, but he has picked a few good ones. Such as...

  54. heyhabib-liked your link.But to be honest Tarantino
    isn,t a favourite of mine.Last film i saw was an old
    one called 'The Deer Hunter'with Robert De Niro.

  55. Aye, Paul, a very moving film and that was some soundtrack.

  56. Habib
    Pulp Fiction And Chuck - yes !

    I never had a job where falling asleep was anoption - cept for short while when managed the office r a start up I had helped to get funding for . I became very suspicious of his business practices when payment started to come in as wads of bnotes -off the books/ I terminated my employment with them after 2 customers who had paid up front and recd. nothing in return stormed in and told me they were holding me hostage !

    All end safely - i made them cups of tea and used my best psychologists manner n them - I later told the 'boss' - pay them backor else. He closed his business and disappeared ithin a week - he did pay them first so I did nothing more about it.

  57. heyhabib-another good link,thanks man!When i heard it
    i could see them all sitting round the table at the end when they were having breakfast.Really understated which made it all the more moving.

    leni-shit that was heavy.Best out of it methinks!

    Dunno if you both noticed but someone from Argentina
    was lurking this morning-I said Hi and they disappeared.Best keep quiet in future eh!

  58. Just been discussing Brit white suprememisist types - Odinists and other Pagan groups associated with them. Lots of them are heavily tattooed - raised the question (my natural curiosity/nosiness !) - do black guys have tattoos or is a white European thing ?

    Once did vol. ESL work with Laotion refugees - they had fighting tatoos across back and chest - they grew hair long , usually in a pony tail but when drunk they would untie it . strip to waist and snarl a lot . They never hurt me but I once had to drag them of some NF skinheads - the Laotians were skilled kick boxers which the Nfers didn't realise when they sneered and cat called after what they thought was a group of chinese waiters.

  59. That was supremacist obviously.

  60. Leni

    Black people have tattoos-men more than women
    just like in the White population.Don,t think many
    Black people are covered in them like some White
    people mind.

  61. Re White Supremists i think most Black and Asian
    people are confident of taking them on at street
    level.It,s the isolated Black and Asian families
    who are vulnerable to attack.But to be fair White
    people aren,t the sole perpetrators of racial violence.

    In London it can go every which way.For instance there
    have been clashes between Blacks and Asians,plus
    Black Caribbeans and Whites have ganged up against
    Kosovans plus their have been clashes between Somalis
    and Black Caribbeans etc etc.And it can vary dependant
    on which part of London you live in.Plus White people
    can be victims too-it,s not as straighforward as
    exponents of PC make out.

  62. Are you awake Habib-no falling asleep on the job

  63. Paul

    Interesting. The ancient picts were of course famous for their tattoos. Several years ago (before fall on USSR) a fully preserved body of a woman was found in the Altair . She was completely covered in tattoos - wavy patterns. She was buried with a horse and a lot of jewellry. The Russians claimed her as an ancestress and evidence of their ancient artistic and powerful heritage. She was later proven to be of central Asian origin - the Russians had to return her.

    Body ornament - as decoration or a statement of power (or perhaps belonging to a group ) is very ancient. Modern tattoos are no longer simply decorative but are once again being used to make statements about allegiance etc - or so it seems. interesting subject - I shall look into it more. I have seen soldiers with regimental stuff tattood on arms etc.

  64. Hi Paul,Leni,Habib. Good tunes. Always liked Tarantinos soundtracks more than the content of his movies. Reservoir Dogs is a some what obscure one that's good too.

    Couldn't sleep on the job in my vocation as I was owner of a constuction business. Not only that, but power tools do not run quietly.

    Leni, that was a business to separate yourself quickly from.

    Have an old friend that was into tattoos and married thrice. He now has tats of large panthers on his arms where the names of waves 1+2 were situated. At least he can still laugh at himself, the git.

  65. Leni, very true about allegiance as basis for tattoos. Can be tribal too, as in many indigenous populations of the southern seas. Lovely artwork with much spirituality as influence.

  66. Hi Boudican

    The thing about tattoos is that unless you are
    prepared to spend big bucks removing them you,re
    stuck with them.And let,s just say that certain
    tattoos on certain parts of the body don,t look
    too good on ageing flesh.

  67. Paul

    Agreed - this was part of our conversation too - 'tribalism' is not confined to any one group - the PC lot actually inhibit genuine duscussion . Positive discrimination can be harmful - is often patronising and disempowering.

    Be very useful if the bad guys , of any colour, had 'wanker' tattood on their forehead.

  68. Leni-plus have their balls chopped off!

  69. Hi Paul, very much agree, that's one very good reason why I have no tats. Apparently, laser surgery removes them efficiently, but expensive and painful I'm told. Must say though, seen some exotic ones on ladies where a second look was due.

  70. Boudican-bet those ladies weren,t in their 90,s!

  71. Later guys, off to the legion. Have a good weekend.

  72. Just caught that Paul. No theses tats were taut.(:

  73. I,m gonna have to go offline for a while.Say
    goodnight but may catch up later!!

  74. Hi Boudican

    There is also the art of body painting - as war paint and as decoration. I read somewhere that in some cases the use of war paint was not only to make the warrior appear more fearsome but also to remove some of the guilt by 'disguising' or expressing another 'self' - beyond the everyday man.

    The whole subject is interesting - practices which have persisted for thousands of years.