07 June 2010


Some musical dates

1959 - Buddy Holly killed in air crash
1963 - The Rolling Stones' first record, "Come On," was released
1968 -Musical Hair opens in UK as censors withdraw
1969 - Blind Faith made its British debut with a free concert at London's Hyde Park.
1969- Woodstock music festival ends
1970: Rock legend Hendrix dies after party
1980: John Lennon shot dead
1971: Doors' singer Jim Morrison found dead
1977: EMI fires Sex Pistols
1985: Live Aid makes millions for Africa
1994: Rock musician Kurt Cobain 'shoots himself'

God its all DEATHS!

Born today (not all musicians!)
Beau Brummel 1778 - Paul Gauguin) 1848 - Dean Martin 1917 Virginia McKenna 1931 - Tom Jones 1940 - Liam Neeson 1952 - Prince 1958 -


  1. Gosh managed it! Next time I'll try to upload a picture!

    That list is depressing so many of the heroes of my youth ended up dying young.

    Hair was an interesting one though - its easy to forget that until that time someone called the Lord Chancellor could censor stage productions.

    Mind we have gone backwards - can you imagine what would happen today to teachers who took 14-15 year olds to a show where the whole cast ends up naked?

    In the 60's we did! No-one batted an eyelid. (Well Mary Whitehouse didn't find out!)

  2. Morning all. Back from hols, and in the words of the great Serge Gainsbourg "Je suis venu(e) te dire que je m'en vais".

    "Just as valid as yours" to my mind has never meant "more valid than yours", no matter who writes it.

    I missed people while I was away, but I didn't miss this place as much as I thought I would, and real life has become much more complicated and demanding, so I shall bow out now.

    Take care all of you.

    Ciao for now.

  3. Morning. Jay if you are around, Jessica has asked me to write a piece for the employment panel. I have lots to say regarding my recent experiences, the trouble is fitting it into 400 words.

  4. BB sorry you have made that decision but of course its yours to make.

    Take care, we'll miss you. Hope things resolve themselves for you and that you decide to return.

  5. Morning all,

    Realised I haven't sent my condolences to Montana yet: hope you're as OK as possible.

    BB, stick around, even if it's just the odd post now and then, summat's better than nothing.

    annetan, thanks for putting the thread up, I now have American Pie going around in my head (the day the music died...)

  6. Mornin'

    BB - sorry to hear that ;( but glad you had a nice holiday.

    Annetan - thanks for the list ..... of dead people! It's quite funny really ;)

    From yesterday's discussion (or dis cu-hoon as they say in Swedish!) Shaz & Gandolfo - nice memories re: Kingsland Road and Ridley Road bagels.... up until about 2003/4 Dalston/Hackney still relatively raw and rough... never had any trouble there and I missed it when I moved to Beffnal Green. I used to work in a restaurent in West London and end up coming home on night buses at 3 in the morning. Used to head off to Istanbul for some hearty Turkish grilled meat and a couple of beers to wind down before conking out... it was always busy at that time with families ;)

  7. BB - hope holiday was fun - pity to bow out completely, do stick around....

    Nap - try making a list of the main points to make, doing one sentence each, then go back and add another, and another if necessary, instead of starting with (1) and getting carried away and use up 300 words and have to cram everything else in at the end...

  8. Morning Nap

    Good stuff, I'm sure you'll do a good job of it. 400 words isnt much at all so think carefully about the most important points you want to make and make them well, rather than spreading yourself too thin. Good luck with it, let us know how it goes.

  9. I pass on this photograph of the Dutch Prime Minister on the election trail with no further comment.

  10. Martillo

    From yesterday - my generation doesnt know anything about honour and sacrifice, you're right, which is partly why i find WW2 fascinating. I knew June 6th was coming up i just hadnt twigged that morning till i saw your post.

    But i would say its not just my generation that know nothing of "honour and sacrifice", I dont see what great sacrifices the post-war generation made (which is most people here). The increased individualism of today certainly isnt a creation of my generation, though we have inherited it.

  11. jay

    I dont see what great sacrifices the post-war generation made (which is most people here

    You're absolutely right - we haven't and very few of our children seem interested in doing the things we did do, paltry as they were and with very little substantial risk to ourselves for the most part. There are honourable exceptions but not many. We are the "untested" generation.

    The trouble with times that require honour and sacrifice though, is that it means masses of real suffering and its a bit hard to wish that on people in order for us to prove how big a hit we're prepared to take.

    Having said that - we're talking about rich countries here - elsewhere in the world the shit has never left the fan - and for many its a lot worse than it used to be. But it seems, having frittered it away through greed and vanity, we don't want to share what's left of our prosperity. Thats all a bit simplistic but i hope you know what I mean.

    Must now go and minister unto my daughter who isn't well, nothing too serious I hope. Laters.

    BB - please don't go for good - we'll miss you!

  12. HI Sheff

    I completely agree, just seemed to be suggested that my generation were unique in their lack of sacrifice, which i dont think is true at all. Anyways, hope alls well with your daughter.

  13. I think you are right Jay. But you see its just swung to the opposite extreme. When I was young the individual meant virtually nothing, self expression was very nearly impossible and we were hide bound by repressive rules.

    Dating in my teens was a nightmare. Nice girls just 'didn't'. Getting pregnant was a disaster and the only contraceptives freely available were condoms. Girls just did not buy those you'd be labeled as 'soiled goods' (awful phrase isn't it?) people's lives were governed by rules as I said above the government controlled what you saw on the stage and your behaviour was governed by 'what the neighbours might say'. Any kind of self expression was frowned on, conformity was all. 'Respect' was a word reserved for what you owed to your 'betters' (ever heard interviews with senior politicians in the 50's? John Humphries and Jeremy Paxman they weren't!)

    But, if you were in need of help there was always a neighbour ready to give it. There was a consensus that concepts like solidarity unselfishness and self sacrifice were admirable.

    We have gone too far in the opposite direction, in fighting for self expression and freedom from hypocracy my generation opened the floodgates to untrammelled selfishness and greed. Unintended consequences really.

    We need to work towards a society that has the solidarity and loyalty of those times combined with the freedom of expression that first blossomed in the 60's.

    We forgot that freedom without responsibility is licence and that sometimes one person's rights result in another's oppression. Compromise is a necessary part of living in a society. But that compromise must come from both sides.

    One thing though, there is no place for 'blame' in all this. We all respond as best we can to the times we live in. Gilbran said that parents cannot visit the house of tomorrow. I would add that children cannot visit the house of yesterday. You can just see the consequences - consequences that were by no means all bad.

  14. Sheff - your reply to Jay has made me realise that what was unprecedented about our generation was that, in the west, we saw an unprecedented expansion of prosperity to many more people.

    When people live on the edge they are more generous and self sacrificing. Possibly the old law of reciprocal altruism is more pressing when life is a struggle. Selfishness is easier when you are rich.

    Hope your daughter is OK!

  15. BB - You cantankerous young biddy.

    It is inconceivable that you would even contemplate leaving the stage if the Princes of Caustic, Hank & Scherf, gave you a swift uninvited licking - even if they removed their teeth.

    Fact is I/we've seen Scherf misdirect some left over angst in your direction and you've glanced it off to perfection with out a second thought.

    As for the idea that bitey will be posting on UT and you won't - FFS don't talk soft.

    Thus I join with the others in hoping your exit shall be no more than a brief rest. The UT show goes on and, at Montana's wish, is now more of a collective than a private enterprise.

    As you know I despise lawyers, as common scum bags who prostitute themselves and the language, but I have been prepared to make an exception in your case. I did so because of my perception of your innate sense that not matter what is said, there is always the possibility of extenuating circumstances behind mere words and constructs.

    Young Nap is back in the camp and you might ask yourself - what sort of an example your pseud hippy French philosophising is going to set? It may just look self indulgent.

    You missed a great thrash in Sheffield and if you don't at least read here then you'll miss the next get together too.

    I was pleased to read you had a good holiday and hope very much that the other problems/matters that are closing in on you are manageable.

    I'll read the "for now" bit in your farewell optimistically, as a signal of a resting UT rater than a departed one.

    Best Wishes and Regards


  16. "As you know I despise lawyers, as common scum bags who prostitute themselves and the language, but I have been prepared to make an exception in your case."

    LOL, that's big of you deano.

  17. "It may just look self indulgent shit."

  18. Just to be the squeaky wheel.. There have been plenty of servicemen/women post 45, Suez etc.. I met a guy in his 20s who had been under live fire in Belize, (wasn't supposed to talk about it.. ) and we can all recall the body counts from Afghanistan, Iraq, NI etc..

    There are many ex soldiers living rough on the streets dealing with PTSD thru drink and or drugs, honour and sacrifice in one.. There is solidarity and community spirit, but it is not universal, was it ever? It also seems as A42 says, concentrated at the bottom of society, but I interact with people at different levels, and I've met landowners, who are cash poor and eat pheasant and venison, not as luxuries, but from 'necessity' and often the very wealthy are so, because to quote Withnail it is often "free to those who can afford it, very expensive for those who can't.."

  19. Cheers Swifty - you too missed a great laugh in Sheffield. Hope you make the next one.

  20. Good post Annetan, .

    "We need to work towards a society that has the solidarity and loyalty of those times combined with the freedom of expression that first blossomed in the 60's."

    This is the real problem though, isnt it, too much liberalism is actually a dreadful way to organise society. Its destructive in economics, and its destructive socially - whats good for the individual is not necessarily good for everyone else.

    Thats the big fault in Mill's arguments, for me, that in a big 'free market' of ways of living people dont actually gravitate towards those most socially useful, they gravitate to what is best for them personally. His arguments offer no way of resolving that.

    The liberty-equality tension is such an important one yet still to this day many on the left refuse to acknowledge it exists, and that you cant just pick n choose all the nice political virtues and throw them together into a cohesive whole, like a child throwing together ice cream and crisps and being shocked when the meal isnt quite "working".

    The idea of trade-offs seems anathema to many - they simply cannot accept that their sacred cows have any negative whatsoever, or any conflict with other political virtues, so these trade-offs cannot even be discussed sensibly.

  21. "We need to work towards a society that has the solidarity and loyalty of those times combined with the freedom of expression that first blossomed in the 60's."

    Could be that I have false memory but....

    ...as I recall it the "freedom of expression which blossomed in the 60's" was pretty quickly accompanied by a new variant of crass commercialisation. Carnaby Street, by way of example, wasn't just about trendy gear it was always a fucking money making machine for somebody.

    As for the pop industries.....distracting the senses whilst lifting the contents of your wallets. Some would say the Woodcraft Folk never had a chance!

    I often used to think that one of the mistakes of trade unions was to argue for the adult wage at 18. It made hormone driven kids with money and no responsibility exploitable and prime targets for washings of the brains.

    It was always going to more difficult to get them to be politically aware a bit later down the road when they found themselves with kids and awesome responsibility.

    I hasten to add I didn't think the above till I was long past 18 and I may even still have been hormone driven....but then as I said ...possible false memory etc.

  22. MsRobinson - "..washings of the brains.."

    If your still reading here MsR I'm looking forward to the piece on the black arts that you promised us for UT2

  23. @turminder:

    I met a guy in his 20s who had been under live fire in Belize...

    Was he not popular with the rest of his platoon?

    Belize used to be the cushiest of cushy postings until the Tories went and spoiled it. Then it turned into the Army's version of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and went rapidly downhill from there.

    The Belikin beer was alright, though. And the Belikin brewery is probably the "best-defended brewery in the world".

  24. Deano what you say is correct, and while we live under capitalism it will always be so.

    However the positives from the 60's are (to my mind) more openness and less shame about sex, less false respect (of the forelock tugging kind) free access to contraception and abortion.

    The negatives are the over commercialisation of everything and the celebrity culture that does indeed have its roots in Carnaby St etc. Remember though that the revolution in popular music was not led by commercial interests but by members of our own generation. Of course commerce soon cashed in when they saw its popularity but as I said - that's capitalism.

    The most important thing from my point of view is that we no longer treat an unmarried woman with a child as a social pariah. The way society used to punish these women (the film 'Magdelene Sisters was an example)was quite simply dreadful. Some women in this situation were still being confined in mental institutions!

    We were learning on our feet, it was a first attempt at freedom, it had its downside - the death toll amongst very young musicians at the time being merely the tip of the iceberg.

    But 'Bliss was it to be living at this hour, to be young was very heaven', but as with the French revolution it became hell for some.

  25. Dunno about his popularity Swifty, this was in '96 mebee? Just the point that the WWII gen. don't have an exclusive deal on 'Honour & Sacrifice...' Although with all the &0th anniversary stuff, I'm grateful that I don't suffer anything like the privations my grand parents had to...

  26. Just looked at the Camilla Batmanghelidjh thread (Hay festival video) - the right wing idiots are out in force of course they actually prove her point.

    Some good replies by others though!

  27. @turminder:

    I was just wondering who was shooting at him in Belize, of all places. I was there twice, once on exercise with BFB, when it was a slowly-being-mothballed garrison protecting plucky Belize from the naughty Guatemalans, and then again doing jungle warfare training when it had become BATSUB.

    Lovely place and all that, but man, can it rain...

  28. annetan42

    Nice Hendrix clip. For what it's worth - the "sixties" in the term it is casually bounded about is often pretty meaningless. In terms of music - artists seizing control away from the music "industry" - that phase of true independence only lasted about three years, after 1966. In many ways, Monterey festival (1967 where America "discovered" Hendrix) was nothing but a shop window for the rapidly regrouping record labels who had temporarily been outplayed by the often thuggish managers of young geniuses like Dylan. By the time Woodstock was happening two years later, the music, tv and advertsing indstries had pretty much regrouped and were able to continue their cynical marketing and packaging of "independent", "rebellious" youth as it had done in the earlier rock and roll era. You're absolutely right about Carnaby Street. And no one 'normal' could get near the Beatles in the late sixites - frauds, pseuds and "drug enablers" only.

    What did change was the sheer amount of cash and new, affordable technology (radio, tvs) swilling about; from what I can tell pretty much anyone could get a job, the middle classes could doss around during, before and after uni and get into protest as a lifestyle. I did love Malcolm Bradbury's History Man when I was a teenager in the late seventies. It caught the whole process beautifully.

  29. Camilla Batmanghelidjh looks like a nutter but always talks perfect sense.

  30. Bliss - the first of this year's poppies amongst the green barley. It reminds me I haven't yet sorted the Mungo/Poppies yarn. I'll do it before I go on leave, and a couple of other outstanding matters too.

    Swifty - hope the redundancy things is sorting itself to your satisfaction.

    Anybody?? - know how Monkeyfish's redundancy panned out??

    A42 - a great deal in what you say.

    The crime of turpitude amongst (mostly working class) unmarried pregnant lasses was indeed a shame which belatedly got put right by the post war kids.

    One of the largest Mental Asylums in Yorkshire was developed on the backs of pregnant unmarried working lasses literally stolen from the streets and thereafter incarcerated in the mental health hospitals - some sadly dying there in their 80's, never being able to overcome a lifetime of institutionalisation when they were later discovered as patients 40/50 years after they were committed.

    A chilling true story if there was one. Nothing like a misguided professional for fucking up the lives of others.

    It was an allegation of turpitude against me that got me into a ten year legal struggle and gave me the views about whoring lawyers that I have to this day.

  31. Business to attend to - laters all.

  32. Guess you can get shot anywhere.. I was at the beach at the weekend and a guy walked up the hill with what looked like a rifle slung over his shoulder... I hatee the climate of fear that has been our lot since 9/11, but probably longer, is it the media & govt? I don't think the world is anymore dangerous, but don't want kids taking the 'risks' I took...

  33. @turminder:

    ...is it the media & govt?

    Could be, there's a fine line between informing people, and alarming them, and it seems that governments and media outlets all too often cross it.

    I remember the "IRA bombing campaign" during the 70s and 80s, lots of tension around then, too.

  34. Aye Swifty, where I work I have to be friendly and greet the punters with a smile, most are families with young children, so I smile at the weans. I feel nervous if I smile at a kiddie on the bus however, what will people think? Lone bald guy grinning at children?

    Rather than the 'man the barricades' rhetoric I've been hearing for twenty years, how can we make the world a happier less fearful place?

  35. Just dropping this for posterity; a reason to keep taking the meds? Why people should avoid crack? An argument for moderation? All of teh above?

    7 Jun 2010, 2:24PM

    by condoning and apologising for the Iranian mullah thugs, you make all of yourselves big time gay haters.

    So i do not take pseudo intello pundits telling me I am against gays when i just say they behave, just like our women, like untoucheables, and have an obvious decadent life style many of them. i write obvious because they often poster with it smack in your face.

    But the real anti gay are the pseudo intelloes who divert the attention at the first occasion and mise en scene brought forthe by the Iranian thugs.
    Example: the gazah flotillas.

    that's where you lot show your true , and also anti gay, colours.

    Everybody knows this is organised mise en scene funded by islamo fascists.
    It is not some professor erudite on board that hised that.

    7 Jun 2010, 2:25PM

    I know this post won't last,
    Enjoy the bread sticks !
    And build me another pile of windmills and nannystate junk , please.

    It makes it easier for the chinese to carry it all off when it is due."

  36. Hee hee decadent lifestyles of the gays and women, why does no one let me know about these things?

    This guy has been scattering his droppings all over lately, with slightly differing names, they are pretty quickly modded so you have to be lucky to spot him (or her I suppose).

    Is it someone known or a new species?

  37. jenni

    this is the guy I think of as 2Red hat Hammersmith man" I first saw him about 2 years ago when he threatened to go the the BBC and blow them up.

    Iquote " I WILL BE STRAPPED"

    Not doing an archivist thing here - I remember it for it its open hatred .

    Sometimes it posts when not under the influence of anything other than its own twisted mind - it then appears quite intelligent - tho still very unpleasant.

  38. Afternoon, Jay. I hope you know that was a joke referring to a thread on cif. I don't like generalisations about generations. I had no great sacrifices to make either, abd if there really is less honour in the world, we've probably all played our part in it. Have a good day...

  39. HI Martillo

    I did wonder if thats what it was, didnt sound like you to be so antagonistic, thought maybe you were having a bad day or something...

  40. Thanks Leni

    I think Bite the hand has given archiving a bad name by the way.

    Not that I do it myself, I never even thought of it but I sometimes remember something that someone has said that really struck a chord, or taught me something I didn't know, or even made me laugh and I wish I had kept a record.

    Bite the hands apparent habit of saving everthing he was ever involved with or his 'enemies' was involved in is creepy though.

  41. No, a good day. Apart from the rain cancelling my beach plans. I thought the humorous intent was obvious. Mind you, from the number of people who ignore me in the street, maybe I should reconsider my style;0)

  42. martillo
    May shoe flies follow their children's children.

  43. A couple of thoughts on David ‘Cripps’ Cameron’s austerity speech.

    Cameron blaming New Labour for the mess is akin to tweedledum blaming tweedledee or Bill ridiculing Ben for having a speech impediment.

    The Conservatives fundamentally believe in the financial and economic system which has brought European economies to this sorry pass. The same light touch regulation, low tax for high earners, market knows best policies adopted by New Labour since 1997.

    Of course, posters seem to believe it is a party political issue and that somehow the Conservatives would not have got the economy into the mess it has. The Conservatives want to push this image.

    All mainstream parties ascribe to the model that has created this mess. All the parties fundamentally believe that market freedom and low taxes is the driver of economies and all the mainstream parties (the Conservatives in particular) are funded by those who have enormous vested interests in the neo-liberal politico-economic status quo continuing.

    This is the free marketeering hard right’s wet dream.

    They've soaked up all the wealth as a result of New Labour. Now that the party is over, the neo-liberals can use spurious accusations of party political failures:

    "Bloody Statist Labour Party- see what socialism does eh? Britain will now have to take it's medicine. Medicine provided by us to cure the economic illnesses caused by us. And you'll all be paying for this medicine. To us."

    to push through a savage cuts programme which affects all except for their own. They get even richer.

    Their dicks will be harder than a cocaine and Viagra fuelled night with Jessica Alba at the thought of the next few months.

  44. "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana..."

    Marx, G. ;- )

  45. Jenn,

    BTH isn't infallible, I dropped in very briefly over the weekend and did a quick search for "dot" (wondering if you lot were gossiping about me behind my back ;-)) He linked to an old thread he claimed he and I (and others)'d talked on, I followed it out of curiosity, I'd never commented.....

    I on the other hand am so little of an archivist I can't be bothered to scan back now to determine whether it was Saturday or Sunday...

  46. Ha Dott that proves you are sane. ;)

  47. and Ha ha Jenn, THAT proves you've never met me ;-)

  48. Shoe flies? Sounds nasty BW.

    What's your favourite version of this? If you have one...

  49. I should have remembered you live in Spain, martillo, sunning yourself on the bloody beach while im sweating away on the train home in this concrete jungle of depravity...

  50. Good post Duke. Just before the crash, Tories were proposing a complete deregulation of the mortgage market. What insight...

    As Cable's gibberish on Royal Mail has shown, you could very easily have a coalition of any combination of the 3 parties, their differences are negligible compared to their similarities.

  51. Going home at four o'clock Jay what would Hank say, you partimer you. ;)

  52. 4.45 ;)

    I start at 7.45, to be fair...

  53. From todays Guard:

    "David Cameron warned today that Britain's "whole way of life" would be disrupted for years by the most drastic public spending cuts in a generation as he said that, unless such cuts were made, annual interest payments on the UK's "staggering" debt would rise to around £70bn a year within five years.

    The prime minister made his most gloomy remarks since taking office as he declared that Britain's public finances were in a worse state than expected and were forcing the coalition government to take "momentous decisions" in the "urgent task" of cutting the deficit.

    Interest payments on the deficit are currently £42bn a year

    Fucking rich inniit - the UK politicians borrow a fegging fortune from the corrupt banksters to bail out the bankrupt banksters and then warn us that we who are being shafted to the tune of £42bn a year thereafter must now be buggered, else we soon be shafted to the tune of £70bn a year.

    That's some economic/political theory they teach down at the Bullingdon Club Dave. I call it fighting talk.

  54. Just kidding Jay, of the many jobs I have had I don't think one of them has been 9 till 5.

    I thought I would love a mon - fri office job (8.30 - 5.30 in my case) because I would have the weekends free, didn't work that way.

    I think I would do any weird shift work if it meant I didn't have to work in that kind of environment again.

    I don't know if I was unlucky and got a company full of the kind of people who would kick your dead body for fun but it has put me off office work for life.

    (I am slightly exaggerating here. ;) )

  55. afternoon everyone

    Daughter seems in fair state - just need to keep an eye on her. She's had some weird and rather frightening allergic reaction to she know not what.


    My post this morning was a bit hurried - and I didn't acknowledge the very real sacrifice of so many of our (still) conscripted troops during the Korean war and the Malayan emergency back in the 50's when us kids were embarking on lives that would turn out to be pretty much a one off generation of relative privilege for so many who hadn't known it before.

  56. @Sheff:

    I think you meant turminder - he was being the "squeaky wheel", not me...

  57. Jenn/Jay

    I got an e-mail this morning from a woman I used to work with in an office job (I was temping between science gigs, she was permanent, although has moved on to a different office since).

    Anyway, the e-mail was a picture of a guy(?) in surgical gear halfway up an elephant's rear, with a caption along the lines of "you think your job's bad?"

    I replied that I thought I'd prefer that to working in our old office again.....

  58. Anyone here watch the series 24? It concluded last night.

    I'm a 24 junky. Not sure what that says about me, but is my liking for the drama shared by regulars here?

    I have an ulterior motive for asking the question...

  59. Jay,

    As Cable's gibberish on Royal Mail has shown, you could very easily have a coalition of any combination of the 3 parties, their differences are negligible compared to their similarities.

    I'm just amazed anyone thought Cable would be any different. Just because you could identify the coming crisis, don't mean to say you'd advocate fundamental changes to stop it happening again.

    Anyway, fuck it because the world cup starts on Friday.

    Stop all the twitters, cut off the mobile phone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the political critiques and with muffled drum ,
    Bring out the TV, let the viewers come.

    Let aeroplanes circle overhead,
    Scribble "I wish James Corden was on his fucking sickbed."
    Put football scarves round the white necks of the public doves,
    Let the traffic policemen wear goalkeepers gloves.

    As WH Auden famously wrote at the start of the 1950 World Cup.

  60. Dott

    I went to an OU residential school last year, it was basically doing the labs that you would normally do in a real life degree.

    It wasn't exactly up to the job but it was massive fun for anyone who had done basic labs before.

    We did a days field trip which combined geology (looking at cliffs) and ecology and stats which involved counting plants (which were all very similar).

    I loved the second part, don't ask me why but I found it fascinating.

    I would love to spend my working day setting out quadrants and then examining each one in detail, then analysing the results.

    I just can't find a job that will let me do that for a living. ;)

  61. Been without TV for awhile PeterB so I know nothing about which you speak.

    Intriguing enquiry though....

  62. jenn,

    Don't hate me, I more or less have that job...

    Try volunteering with local wildlife trusts: they might pay to put you through courses in plant ID, newt surveys etc. Collect enough of those on your CV and you can get work in ecological consultancy (e.g. doing ecological impact assessments before greenbelt land is built on: to try and stop it)

    Not exactly my work, but very close.

  63. BTW Philippa, I asked for my diatribe on WADDYA to be removed. I was just being fuckin' lazy, which is not me. Tx for your reply, nonetheless.

  64. Don't worry deano - I'm not auditioning to be the next Jack Bauer! Still, no TV - hat tip, sir.

  65. Peter Bracken

    I heard loads about the first series of 24 but didn't actually watch it until the last episode (and I watch a lot of tv).

    Great ending to a series but not great enough to make me watch it again, I wish I had seen the cougar stuff.

    So I know a fair bit about it even if I don't watch it, same with Lost.

    What is your theory?

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. I couldn't hate you Dott but grrr I am jealous.

    I am looking for voluntary work at the moment so thanks for the advice.

  68. Peter,

    never watched 24 seconds of it. Was there not criticism that it was a neo-con fantasy that justified the use of torture?

    Can't say I remember much.

  69. "...As WH Auden famously wrote at the start of the 1950 World Cup..".

    Nice one Duke - don't recall the twittering mobile phones in 1950 but what the fegg I was only three.

    I did however hear tell:

    "..The 1950 World Cup witnessed the greatest upset in history when the United States shocked England, the pre-tournament favorites, 1-0 in front of 10,000 fans at the Estádio Independência..."

    Fucking dshhameful - it was later widely thought the yanks druggged the orange juice and bribed the ref. Bastards who then could ever have been surprised that they elected an out of work cowboy actor as President.

  70. Exactly, Duke. Therein lies my concern.

    But buy the CD of series 2. Bet you'll be glued 'till the early hours.

  71. Wish I could get the hang of this new keyboard -- Fucking dishameful.

  72. deano,

    Nice one Duke - don't recall the twittering mobile phones in 1950 but what the fegg I was only three

    Alan Turing accidentally invented twitter along with the computer, however he entitled it the less catchy

    "A brief summation of inane information"

    and promptly shelved the invention believing:

    "There will never be a time when civilisation shall drop its standards so low that everything from general small talk to Government policy/communication will take the form of 160 words of fatuous fluff."

    So old Turing wasn't entirely prescient.

    And speaking of the 1950 World Cup. Even more outrageous than England being beaten by the USA was Scotland's non attendance.

    Scotland had qualified because the came second behind England in the 1950 home championship. FIFA were so in debt they were desperate for the home nations to compete so made the home championship of 1950 a qualifying group.

    The SFA in their flawless wisdom, stated Scotland would only go as Home Int champions. England beat Scotland 1-0 at Hampden and the SFA were as good as their word. Despite numerous appeals from FIFA and the FA. An astonishing story.

  73. "So old Turing wasn't entirely prescient.

    Chaps who eat cyanide laced apples rarely are.

    Another shameful chapter in the history of Empire. Still at least he got a road named after him in Manchester (belatedly)

  74. Is that Jack Bauer a character in 24? I haven't seen it but I did love The Wire. Didn't see it on TV but got it from LoveFilm - absolutely brilliant and I'd watch at least 4 episodes back to back. Perfect way to spend a rainy sunday.

  75. Not really good enough Deano he deserves more, and people who commit suicide can sometimes be in their right mind, if the alternative is a life of torture.

    And to dismiss those (even though they have achieved great things) as not in their right mind beause they commit suicide is wrong.

    Sometimes suicide is a rational choice. (Not nowadays I hope).

  76. 13th Duke - "...As WH Auden famously wrote at the start of the 1950 World Cup..".

    Brilliant. Thankyou!

  77. 24 IS a shameless apology for torture, but its superb TV. And i havent watched the final series, im waiting for box set. So absolutely NO spoilers pls!

  78. I agree Jenn - he also finally (55 years later) got an apology from a PM Brown

    Apology to Turing

    Still small return for chemical castartion and a painful death

  79. You reckon, Jay - that 24 is a shameless apology for torture? Sure, Bauer commits torture, and he's the series' hero, but, but...there's something instinctively right about Bauer nonetheless. Why is that? I think it's because his character exploits some metronomic sense of morality in us all.

    It is gripping TV - whatever its messages - as you say, though.

  80. shaz, you're welcome!

    Regarding Alan Turing. It's part of being human to cast your mind back to a 'golden age' when everything was better.

    However, we always need to take account as annetan, deano and jay discussed earlier today that we have improved in so many ways as a society and human beings.

    The fate of Alan Turing is testament to that.

  81. Shaz when Duke is on form he fair sings. Who could disagree with your assessment?

    A fine wit who would/could have made his town's first XI anyday.

  82. I think Bauer offers, on a fantasy level, a simpler morality in complicated times, Peter. Would you torture one person to save millions or your family? I loved the first three series too, though I did tire of it towards the end.

  83. PeterB

    Not sure what you mean by "exploiting some metronomic morality".

    Are you saying that there is a particular kind of mechanical/knee jerk morality response that needs challenging? And that 24 does this by reverting to what sounds like some atavistic fantasy of male machismo?

    I haven't seen 24 - so please correct me if I'm wrong. But from what I hear about it, it does glorify a particular kind of violence (only by the 'good' guy obviously), and as Jay says is some kind of apologia for torture.

    What makes it sensational TV? I'm genuinely interested.

    Talking about violence, has anyone seen the new Winterbottom film, The Killer Inside Me?

  84. "Talking about violence, has anyone seen the new Winterbottom film, The Killer Inside Me?

    Not seen - but got a majority critics drubbing on Fridays Newsnight review (Should be on iplayer now)

  85. Hiya Sheff, glad to hear your daughter's OK. Random allergic reactions are very scary (not that non-random ones aren't, but at least you know what to avoid).

    Haven't got a telly either, but my understanding of 24 is what Sheff said.

  86. 'I think Bauer offers, on a fantasy level, a simpler morality in complicated times.'

    Very nicely put, martillo. Might use that (!)

    Sheffpixie: No, I mean that Bauer taps into a moral pulse that beats - somewhere - within us.

    It's sensational TV because it entertains like few series do. The acting is consistently good, the writing decent, and - this is key - the tension is relentless.

    There is also a wider message that I'm grappling with just now. Can't quite put my finger on it.

    But I will.

  87. ".. Would you torture one person to save millions or your family?.."

    martillo my friend, perhaps the more pressing question of the day is.... Would you torture millions to favour your family?

    The rich, and the likes of the arrogant Blair, are so sure that they have the answer they would truly torture millions for the sake of one of their family.

    I heard tell that Blair learned at the knee of his tory father that the most important resolution he weould ever learn was:

    "I propose that the question be not put"

    Slippery bastards them neocons..

  88. Peter

    I'll have to give it a go- I have resisted 24 because having seen the results of some horrific military violence (short period spent in a war zone) I find it very difficult to watch when it's presented as entertainment in all it's gory detail.

    I know it's not necessarily the same for anyone else - it's just the way it affected me.

  89. Deano

    perhaps the more pressing question of the day is.... Would you torture millions to favour your family?

    Seems like the ConDems are planning a bit of mild torture for us hoi poloi - and for decades into the future, if what Cameron is reported to have said is true.

  90. Sheff - I fear you likely be right.

    For benefits may have to be frozen read will be frozen until such time as inflation has reduced them to a level acceptable to my rich paymasters.

    Hope your daughter is fixed proper.

  91. evening all....


    "I know it's not necessarily the same for anyone else - it's just the way it affected me."

    I'm certainly with you on that...I have had some experience as well whilst doing work in central america the stories I heard were horrendous in fact even now I find it difficult to repeat them. I also had friends in Chile who were tortured....so watching programmes that actually in some way try to "justify" torture are not on my entertainment list....

  92. Interesting programme on C4 right now, Dispatches, Undercover Social Worker.

    The last time they did something like this with Dispatches, Underciver Nurse, the nurse doing the recording was struck off by the GNC. But she then got the 'nurse of the year award' for her brave whistleblowing.

  93. torture and its justification as entertainment ? Definately not.

    Peter why are you so interested in the response of other people ? I haven't watched any of 24 so can't help with that.

    I can say, however, that the glorification of violence and the pushing of murderous ideologies in the guise of entertainment is a particularly vicious way of spreading propaganda and desensitising population around the realities they they portray.

  94. Leni

    torture and its justification as entertainment ? Definately not.

    I agree. Having seen some results (in my case, injuries from bomb blast and strafing from the air, absolutely horrific) - and even worse in some respects, smelt it, I've found it impossible to watch it as entertainment.

  95. I have always hated this song - but have put my cynicism on one side and have to admit that Roger Waters makes it just about tolerable in the circs.

  96. Nap - caught the 2nd part of Dispatches. Chilling stuff. Failing so many people on so many levels.

  97. Hi Peter

    Good to see you back, i do enjoy our squabbles but cant stay long tonight as got work to do:

    "Sure, Bauer commits torture,"

    I like the casualness, 'sure, he tortures, kids to feed, its a job, what ya gonna do...'.

    You beast, Bracken.

    "and he's the series' hero,"

    Major point in the debate.

    "but, but...there's something instinctively right about Bauer nonetheless. Why is that?"

    Its a good question, no doubt. He has typical "hero" qualities, he's brave, a family man, obssessively loyal and patriotic, courageous, and he has charisma - he is Mr Alpha Male, all American hero. He's also simple; a simple man in a complex world, which I think is appealing. There is none of the nuances of I/P, the legality of Iraq, etc - its old fashioned good vs evil.

    Also - Bauer is always right (major point), he always gets results, Bauer always stops the explosion in the end, saves countless lives, etc.

    But how would we view him if he was wrong? Its never happened, in the 7 series I've seen. Not wrong once. What happens if he tortures a man horrifically, and later finds out he was completely innocent? How would that change Bauer the hero in viewers eyes? I think it would have a severe impact, and I suspect thats why its never happened.

    Errors are the reality, away from Hollywood and in the real world of imperfect knowledge and imperfect people, innocents are tortured, maimed and killed. That is the trade off, yet you never see it in 24. Its one way traffic - you torture, you get the info you need, you save the world, and any liberal queasiness is averted with a crude weighing up of lives lost to saved.

    But there is a far more insidious nature to 24 and that is the willingness of Hollywood to make the most overt propaganda on tap.

    When the US embarks on its invasions, when it launches widespread attacks on civil liberties at home and abroad, when it gets caught torturing - you dont rely only on stale politicians to make the case for barbarism, you have an ultra slick TV series to make the moral case for you.

    The torturer isnt some anonymous meat-head in a suit, he's the all American hero, he's the star. And torture always works.

    The messages of Washington and Hollywood converge perfectly: torture is fine, heroic even, if it saves American lives. Throughout the entire series there is often little soundbites about not just saving civilian lives, but saving American lives.

    And thats a common theme in US discourse on foreign policy. Foreign lives dont really matter, because other countries dont really matter. They're all weird little hell holes stuck in the dark ages. But Americans - they're precious. Saving Americans is right regardless of how many non-Americans are slaughtered, maimed or tortured.

  98. Cracking post, Jay. Yes, according to Hollywood, American lives are always much more valuable than anyone else's. And Americans are always right.

  99. I just spent a good 10 minutes writing that, i read back and people have already made all my damn points. You're hard work, you lot...

  100. Excellent post Jay - I wish I could describe things as lucidly as you do.

  101. Thanks Sheff/thaum, im supposed to be doing this damn work so was enjoying the distraction, really got to crack on now, hopefully be back later.

  102. Go Jay! ...but lets be honest 63% of us would torture a stranger to death,because a man in a white coat told us to....

  103. Evening all.
    @ PeterB, you've been absent a while,sir. But buy the CD of series 2 Won't get much viewing from a CD. 24 is technically slick and professional,full of propulsively kinetic action very well staged but it's profoundly manipulative (as are most big shows,to be fair).What it has been very proficient in doing is shoring up the neo-con worldview (as you've admitted) of terrorists at every street corner, and adding in a an all-action,all-seeing,all-knowing,all-American ubermensch. It's wish fulfilment for a certain type of American, one who doesn't like the complexities and intricacies of real World politics: Bauer seldom faces truly agonising dilemmas and those he does face are depicted in a skewed fashion: a little bit of 'lightweight' torture versus saving the entire globe, which would face certain doom otherwise. (real world: a systematic heavyweight torture apparatus, with renditions and mas holding camps versus a hypothesised marginal security benefit for some areas, which has yet to be proven).
    Escapist fantasy, or propaganda? Well, like any work of fiction, you can read into it what you want,but it does smack of certain politicians' wet dreams.
    It's curious, because I'll watch The Professionals, (which I liked as a kid) if it's on satellite at a friend's (don't have it myself) but that, while equally illiberal in many respects,and while also being more innocent in some respects, doesn't 'feel' as manipulative as 24.Maybe it's the production values, but also something more,aided by some verite stylistic flourishes:the artful resemblance of the bad guys to real-world enemies of the neo-cons, the close mapping of the stories and themes to those presented by hawks to the US public as being real (but only in their eyes).
    BTW, if you want a more nuancedd,fine-grained consideration of "the war on terror" from popular culture, do try Four Lions.
    Completely mis-billed by some as an outright comedy (though there are many laugh-out-loud bits) it's got surprising depth: you pity the bombers as deluded fools,understand where they are coming from yet are never asked to sympathise with their views, see some of the inadequacies of security efforts (because of the human difficulties). Worth a gander

  104. "but lets be honest 63% of us would torture a stranger to death,because a man in a white coat told us to...."

    Thats a very good point, Turminder. Though i fear if we bring Milgram into this, it might be a long night.

    [back to essay]

  105. Evening all

    Watched the Dispatches programme this evening about Child Protection Services.Grim viewing.Especially
    the bit where the 15 year old who had nowhere to go
    was told to find somewhere himself.And some hard-faced
    social worker acknowledged that despite their
    statutory obligations it wasn,t uncommon for minors
    to be left to sleep on park benches.And showed absolutely no feeling whatsoever when she said it.It
    seems kids in the 13-17 year old age range are
    especially vulnerable to being turned away when they
    most need help.

    The main problem is obviously lack of investment
    in Childrens Services.Whilst the available resources are stretched to breaking point.Plus social workers with any compassion quickly become burnt out and have to quit.Whilst the hard-faced shits who basically tick boxes and follow the orders of the government are left to provide what is jokingly called care.

    But that,s Britain all over isn,t it?Tick the right
    fucking boxes and keep your head down.Whether you,re
    a teacher,social worker,care assistant,doctor,nurse
    police officer,probation officer etc etc.Sit at a
    fucking computer for most of the day writing reports
    and ticking boxes and spending less and less time
    with the people you are supposed to be helping.But
    keeping your fingers crossed that someone who you
    are supposed to be caring for doesn,t die.Although
    apparently if you,ve officially closed the case of
    the person you are supposed to be helping then that,s
    OK.Even if they end up dying in the most tragic,
    squalid circumstances.

    It seems the Thatcher nightmare has come true.There
    is no such thing as society-just individuals and
    families competing against each other.And if you,re
    either a messed up kid with nowhere to go,an old person left to die in their own piss and shit or
    a sick or disabled person declared fit to work by
    ATOS then TOUGH.As long as the right boxes have been
    ticked,targets met and savings made then that,s all
    that matters.

  106. An amazing statistic and frighteningly true turminder, although I still find it hard to imagine agreeing to participate in such a process just because some bloke in a white coat said it was ok.


    Four Lions was terrific in so many ways and as you say had depth. Made better for me as it was shot in Sheffield. The Barry character was such an accurate parody (including his physical appearance), of someone I know - a kind of islamist jihadi version rather than the paranoid anarchist he actually is, I was convinced Chris Morris must have met him. The other characters felt familiar - it was their accents I think

  107. Paul

    I missed Dispatches tonight - probably just as well given what you've said about it above.

  108. @PeterB et al

    I watched series 1 of 24, and (I think) series 2, before it switched to Murdochvision. It was great fun, in the same way that I used to enjoy Air Ace Picture Library when I was young. Atomic explosion as the cliffhanger to one episode? Fine! Atomic explosion going off, a la True Lies? Great! Comedy foreigners? Had plenty of that Gott in Himmel, Achtung Pigdog, Banzai business in the comics. Torture? Part of the plot!

    Ah. That's the point where it became a bit iffy, although you could just let yourself get carried along by the narrative flow that was the whole point of the thing.

    But if you were writing a comic-book story set in America in the 2000s, so you didn't have to do some huge location and set-dressing job, then what enemies could you have? It's really terrorists or robbers, isn't it? Even then, in series 1 it was rogue Serbians, which demonstrates a little bit of nervousness about picking the obvious villains of the time.

    I don't think 24 is some representation of neocon politics. I think it's a representation of Hollywood storytelling using a background and a torturous modus operandi that its target audience wouldn't be unhappy with. I wish it had addressed the 'torture or not' conundrum that so many people seem to have such unnecessary trouble with, but I can see why it didn't.

    Achtung! Amerischer schweinhund!

  109. 'ight all!

    peterb - re 24, I always used to think that the torture scenes in that were a sort of dramatic representation of the usual question thrown in from the sidelines on civlib threads - you know "well, if you had a guy, and he knew where the bomb/your kid/the rest of the cell with the nuke was, wouldn't you kick the shit out of him so he'd tell you?"

    so what he did seemed 'reasonable' given that hypothesis, but only from an 'individual' perspective (viewer approach) rather than an institutional one, and...just seemed a bit simplistic - not sure how often such situations actually come up...

    then, never really watched after season 1 though. never had sky, got confused by E4 listings, french a bit dodgy...

  110. Paul

    Short of time for full answer but yes - it's about money.
    Once a child is taken into care - or becomes a 'looked after child' - the local SS dept. can become responsible for them until they are 18.

    At this point- when they can leave care - there is responsibility to provide a socalled 'pathways' programme which can inclyude tertiary education.

    It is a mess frankly - underfunded, with some very uncaring people mixed in with those who genuinely want to help and spend a lot of time in despair.

    You may know that several of Fred West's young victims were runaways from care - nobody even looked for them.

    as they say "Don't get me started"

  111. @Sheff

    Thanks for that - there isn't really much new there, though. My opinion of IHH came from earlier pronouncements of its leader Bulent Yildirim and his close financial and other links with Hamas. This hasn't all sprung up in the last week.

  112. Good 'review' of the despatches programme, Paul.

    Actually I would argue against your Thatcherite individualism rant. The most prominent displayers of Thatcherite individualism (IMO) were the staff themselvse, when they turned their noses up at that kid.

    Yes, that 15 year old kid with no place to sleep that night. Well if I was that social worker I would have willingly put him up for the night in my own house. That is the opposite of individualism, that is a social conscioussness and humanitarian duty.

    Yet how many of the social workers were prepared to do such a thing, none- those 'left wing' social workers were all Thatcherite individualists, they wanted to create a gulf between their proffessional and private lives.

    It is precisely this management and 'proffessional' culture which devalues human conscuioussness.Social work always started as an amateur humanistic discipline, as many on cif said, the first and best social workers were ex army types (no degrees back then). My dad was a social worker in Sheffield in the 80s. He had no offical qualifications. He was affiliated with his church, but of course would help everyone regardless of belief. A job like social work should involve living in the community, being there, letting people into your own home, interfering in their personal lives. 'Distancing yourself from the job' does not apply. My dad did and still does help out with alcoholics anonymous. He would gladly put people up in his house, ideas like 'confidentiality' and 'keeping distant' is a load of bollocks.

    Bureaucracy and officialdom erode the human heart and soul.

    I will try and include this on my piece for Cif, namely the 'proffesionalisation' which erodes human compassion and consciousness.

  113. In short long live personal relationships, death to the 'proffesionalism' in society. If the social workers lived 'amongst the people', the situation would be much better.

    Like the Russian Narodnik movement.

  114. Bidisha's on Off The Page. They're talking about marriage. She's just done her little 'read aloud one;s creative writing' thingy, without, ermmm, mentioning her orientation.

    then went off on one about DV.

    but - if she's so damn out and proud, why isn't she, well - at least out? on the radio? appreciate she could be interpreting marriage as meaning any two-person commitment, but...she stil seems to be dealin with the ol' heteronorms...

    this is radio 4, for crying out loud. saying 'lesbian' just gets you a booking on woman's hour...

  115. whereas stella duffy just f-ing nailed it.


  116. Sheff / Peter and anyone else interested

    this is an interesting link on craig murray's blog about the items that are banned or permitted into Gaza.....

    I ask you coriander seeds: banned why???

    fertiliser allowed.....?§?

    however it's interesting the "logic" used by the Israeli govt......that is apart from them coriander seeds

  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. @gandolfo

    It's hard to get the true picture of this. As far as I can make out, there really isn't a 'banned list' and an 'allowed list'. The official Israeli position is stated here.

    Still, it's a mess. As I think we were talking about the other day, if the blockade can be lifted with a guarantee that heavy weaponry doesn't get delivered along with the coriander seeds, then there can't be any objection.

  119. hey paul! - hmmm, let me think - no, of course she didn't - all 'ooh, men' - not helpful, in me humble...am v fortunate never to have been in such a situation but am very aware from friends that shit happens wherever there are people, and orientation is certainly no defence against that...

    job going reasonably. still a bit bewildered, but to be fair, i think they're more confused than i am (heheheheheheh)

    "she,s probably arranged to have me knocked off by a Lesbian Avenger Hit Squad"
    dammit, reminds me, must check other mobile...

  120. Hey Philippa - I'm glad the job is going OK.

    Re Bidisha, I've always had a problem with people who know things that I'm uncertain about, although most of the time they end up in the category I define as 'loud, confident and wrong'. She could easily convince a stupid person. Or me, on a bad day.

  121. peter

    what the Israeli govt officially says and what it actually enforces are very, very different.

    What was interesting today was the French foreign minister reiterated the offer that any cargo boats headed for gaza with humanitarian aid could be controlled by the EU...I don't know what the response has been from the Israeli govt but I doubt that they will accept this.
    the WHO has sent essential medical aid to Gaza and it hasn't been accepted.

    Obviously the list is crazy, but behind this is a logic for example perishable goods are allowed but tinned food,dried food, high calorie items like chocolate aren't allowed...obviously they want Gazans to live day by day and not stockpile. Here is another link from GISHA an Israeli NGO

  122. "...the category I define as 'loud, confident and wrong'..."

    An interesting definition Peter. Made me smile as I head for bed.

    Night all.

  123. This comment has been removed by the author.

  124. peter - heheh - she does sound most of the time like she's trying to convince herself, so your thesis may run true...

    right - night all! live to fight another, etc etc...

  125. @gandolfo

    Yes, I looked at the Gisha site, and noted that the list it produced (and the Economist reproduced) came from reports of Gaza traders whose orders had been refused or accepted for who knows what reason. Do you have a reference for the WHO aid being refused? That seems like such an obvious own-goal...

    Look, I'm not an Israel-first apologist, and I hope the blockade is lifted and nothing nasty happens. If the EU can bring that about, then great, although I don't see it ever defying the Israeli Government. More power to the EU.

    There is still no list. And I doubt that chocolate is in short supply in Gaza.

  126. Gandolfo & Peter - the list is nuts fertiliser when soaked in diesel is reputed to be firework material!

    The language used by the official Israeli site is well..........not going to win any prizes for clarity.....the use of the 'except for special humanitarian purposes' clause had me head scratching

  127. @gandolfo

    Aha. Found this (PDF). If that's true, it's unforgiveable.

  128. peter

    here you go WHO statement on medical aid

    Infact I tried to look at an "official list" but there doesn't seem to be one so that means basically the resolution made by the Israeli govt 4559 is basically open to their interpretation so things can be allowed and then be refused I guess.
    Infact the govt more or less said that it examines each request on a case by case basis.

    why would you doubt that chocolate is in short supply Peter? People are just about existing there .....this is a FAO report that shows how desperate it is......

  129. got there before me.....;)of course it's true why wouldn't it be?

  130. yep deano

    .......a win win for the Israeli govt a lose lose for the people of Gaza.......

  131. deano

    on the fertiliser front my cousins used it when they were teenagers to make explosives!

  132. @gandolfo

    Our PDFs crossed...

    Agreed about the arbitrary nature of imports, as I said earlier. And sorry about the cheap shot about chocolate. It was just something in my mind about the pervasiveness of luxury goods in siege situations.

    I hope my humanitarian impulse is clear.

  133. @gandolfo

    No automatic reason why it shouldn't be true. It's just the attitude I take to anything I'm told, so I don't get caught retailing stuff without my own signature. I hope. I expect I fail at scepticism as much as I fail at everything else.

    As I said, assuming that the WHO statement is true, it's unforgiveable. I can't think of a set of reasons that would justify it.

  134. Peter

    I'm kind of sceptical.......but the WHO is a pretty reliable agency, apart from H1N1 flu!!! Also the fact that UN agencies such as FAO have also reported so much on the situation caused by the blockade I am willing to accept them as accurate....if evrything goes arse upwards in the ME the UN will have to pick up the pieces so I doubt if they would falsify info just to piss off Israel!!!!

    Anyways I'm off to bed....night all!

    Peter hope things are ok with you...

  135. Night, gandolfo.

    I just had an unpleasant diagnosis this afternoon, so maybe I'm a bit more bilious than usual.

    All the best to you.

  136. Good night everyone. Here's a tune for you all, in a joyful mood.
    It's a glorious thing.

  137. That music was too good, Mr Jackson. Hang on in there, sir.

    A cheerful song is the best way to wherever.

  138. Hallo Habib

    Good music - and Peter's too.

    Just calling by before bed.

    Take care Peter.
    nightnight x

  139. Thanks Jay, Alisdair, PeterJ, Philippa and others for the 24 comments.

    I had a suggestion for the Guardian about using the series' conclusion to do something on moral relativism and truth - they may have bought the idea. I'll learn tomorrow - I mean today. Would add more but have just got back from a ridiculously long dinner party in Paris. Why oh why do we do it?

  140. "Would add more but have just got back from a ridiculously long dinner party in Paris. Why oh why do we do it?"

    Paris is lovely, dinner parties can be fun. Bragging about it nonchalantly... priceless.