28 August 2010

28/8/2010



I have often laughed at the weaklings who think themselves good because their claws are blunt! - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

245 comments:

  1. Please feel free to replace this, Montana. I just like to help out from time to time.

    XX

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Martillo,

    I like both ;) quote and the painting ;)

    Looks like everyone else is in their respective pits, snoring. :0) Just debating with myself whether to start making a loaf of bread or going up the baker's to get a nice cheap sourdough loaf - from the Common People's baker's, not the poncy overpriced Dulwich-ites bakers (whose produce is, to be honest, not made with love but with money in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Morning LaRit, glad you liked them. I've been up for hours as I've been home alone for a week and I have only a few hours to turn a bachelor pig sty into the home my wife will remember leaving. Have you ever tried making your own sourdough starter? Then you can put your own love and less of your money into your bread: all you need is the flour.

    ReplyDelete
  4. La Rit

    Both Atomgirl and I make bread. Hers are uniformly brilliant, mine are sometimes edible at a pinch.

    She can probably make about 100 different varieties of loaf and breads and does it as a mixture of purely by hand or using the bread machine for the kneading, but doing the proving and baking separately.

    The best are a Georgian stuffed roll thingy - cannot remember the proper name - in which you put cheese or meats and eat hot. A bit like a pasty but with bread instead of pastry and much nicer.

    She also admitted the other week that she sabotaged my recent attempts because we had argued. She stabbed the dough as it was proving, so it never managed to rise properly.

    Yeah, thinking about it, just get some pappy muck from Asbo.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Martillo:

    "I've been up for hours as I've been home alone for a week and I have only a few hours to turn a bachelor pig sty into the home my wife will remember leaving"

    ;0) I hope you get it done in time!!! You can have a nice rest then and look all serene and in control when she gets home ;)

    It's amazing how things can degenerate in a matter of days.... I'm a sort of half-assed houseproud - can't bear dirt or mess, but sometimes I think life is just too short.

    I've never made sourdough bread but oddly enough, I looked it up yesterday and am going to have a go at making my own starter - it takes about a week to ferment, so I guess I'll just get off my lazy arse and make a regular loaf.... by the time Mr Larit emerges it will be just about ready!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Morning all.

    In Perpignan now. We drove up from Granada yesterday - 1100 kms - and it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. I've rarely known it so hot.

    To give you an idea, I got a couple of bottles of wine to have with dinner tonight at my friends'. They were on the back seat until 250 km south of Barcelona and then, late in the afternoon, I put them in the boot along with the rest of the cheap booze and cigs (best not to be blatant crossing the frontier, even if there's virtually no customs control between Spain and France).

    When I got here, the wine had got so hot that one bottle had half-popped its cork.

    So I'm enjoying the wind and comparative cool today.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Atomboy:

    "Both Atomgirl and I make bread. Hers are uniformly brilliant, mine are sometimes edible at a pinch. She can probably make about 100 different varieties of loaf and breads"

    Atomgirl sounds like my Mum (who's been making her own bread for years and years) you are very lucky!!! I had a terrible mental block about it and my first couple of attempts were not so great, sometimes, you can do everything right and it still comes out like a rock ;(

    My Mum could make anything from Croissants to Hot Cross Buns to Barm Cakes to Bagels (she got inspired when she went to NYC to stay with her sister in about 1981).

    Part of the reason I started making bread was because we had so little money when we were both unemployed and had an extremely bare cupboard for months, but part of me started practising and learning because I suddenly thought, if mu Mum dies, her recipes and her loving devotion to creating good things to eat would be lost if I didn't get myself into gear.

    I think Atomgirl's sabotage of your efforts is a lovely story - funny isn't it? Food as a weapon as well as a source of nourishment and love. I could tell you some outrageous stories from my childhood about food, but it would take up the entire thread for the day.


    Also, just wanted to re-state my praise for your lovely opening gambit on yesterday's thread - I wrote a post about it in response but the damn thing disappeared and then I didn't have time to re-write. So saying it now!

    (PS Those Georgian rolls sound pretty good....I'm starving now!)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Glad there are some women with a reasonable attitude towards housekeeping, LaRit;0)

    I've experimented with a few starters and this is the one that turned out best...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hiya Spike!

    Sounds like the journey from hell - now the weather has turned much cooler here, I forget that just 3 hours away, it's incredibly hot.

    You did remind me about North E. Spain, not been to the Costa Brava for about 7 years and I have very happy and soothing memories of driving north from Barcelona after wrecking ourselves at Sonar festival for 4 days, right up to Cadaques and camping between the mad cliffs, the pine forests and the wild sea....if only I could be there now..... probably the most restful and deep sleep I've ever had was at that time, even though we were sleeping on bloody 3euro lilos!!!.....;0)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Foor as a weapon? That takes me back.

    Years ago I lived with a Spanish girl who was very... Spanish. She had this radio which she would constantly change from crap station to crap station. It drove me mad and we argued about it lots. Just leave it on one station or turn it off! I would say. But she kept fiddling and fiddling.

    So one day I picked it up and dropped it out of the window. As we were on the second floor that was the end of that radio.

    So Gloria looked at me and looked around for something precious of mine to smash. But the only thing she could see that I really loved was a large bottle of tomato ketchup...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Martillo:

    "Glad there are some women with a reasonable attitude towards housekeeping"

    When you live in a small flat with a horder who has about 3,000 bloomin' records, something's gotta give ;0)

    And thanks so much for that link - the website I was looking at yesterday made it sound really complicated. I will definitely give that starter recipe a go. The guy in the video is really clear. It's great! I guess bank holiday would be a good time to experiment....

    Also the measuring cups he uses are a great tool - and I have lots of Chinese recipes that specify weights in cups... I've struggled with that.... how big is a cup? Which one do you use....my Ma invested in some a while back and she's never looked back!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Morning Spencer!

    "the only thing she could see that I really loved was a large bottle of tomato ketchup..."

    Splat.

    ReplyDelete
  13. But in seriousness, I can understand the radio twiddling habit, I lived in Dalston some 15 years ago and the abundance of Pirate stations was astounding.... I'd get pissed on my own (sad I know) and end up switching from station to station looking for the best DJ's.... loved doing that ;) some of the music and mixing was out of this world.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Morning all.

    Of course, I could tell you about the time I was involved in a food fight of such epic proportions that they were still finding bits of mashed potato on the ceiling of the big hall at ULU a year later...

    But that would involve admitting to activities of an extremely perverse nature. So I had better not.

    The ketchup explosion was spectacular enough. Amazingly (as Gloria was not person with a calm temperement) she didn't actually throw it at me but at a wall. But the explosion covered just about everywhere.

    Nowadays, of course, it would have just bounced off.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Interesting article from Slavoj Zizek in this months New Left Review: A Permanent Economic Emergency.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Discussion on bread is always important. What is Revolution without its relationship to the price of bread?

    One of the things I love about the Netherlands is all bread you buy in supermarkets is made on the premises. There's no 'super bakeries' such as hovis or warburtons shipping out preservative stuffed bread, it's all freshly made.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi La Rit!

    I'm feeling my age. I used to drive direct from Paris to Granada - 1,800 km - and not blink an eyelid.

    This year, I nearly didn't make it from Perpignan to the Algarve - a mere 1,450. My back was giving me hell for the last 3 or 400 km.

    So I think next year, I'd better be sensible and chop my journeys up with more overnight stays.

    As it says in El Cid...

    O rage, O désespoir, Oh vieillesse ennemie...

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Duke

    In France, you have to choose a good bakery where they actually make the bread themselves on the premises. When it's well done, it's easily worth the extra 20 or 30 centimes.

    There's nothing worse than a very cheap hypermarket baguette. Like sawdust.

    ReplyDelete
  19. That should have been "O vieillesse". In fact, they should all be "Ô"...

    Apologies to Corneille.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sorry Duke, I can't take Zizek seriously after hearing him justify Robespierre, St Juste and the terror on TV (how I first heard of him)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Spike said...

    In Perpignan now. We drove up from Granada yesterday - 1100 kms - and it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. I've rarely known it so hot.

    I'm up in Denia (Alicante) at the moment. You must have passed close by (14k away) some time yesterday (mid day?).

    Yesterday was hot, today is hot and humid.

    Sometimes the bread has been so good in Paris, I haven't eaten anything else with it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I never got around to making my own bread..hard enough keeping the circus going

    ReplyDelete
  23. Spencer said...

    Sorry Duke, I can't take Zizek seriously

    Same here. I don't know why the SWP are so fond of him either.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Apart from being a populist, borderline plagiarist and dangerously close to being a charlatan, what isn't there to like?

    ReplyDelete
  25. @MIE

    Left Granada at 12.45 after shopping for booze and cigs, so went past Alicante about 3.30 or something. The west wind was like a blast furnace in places.

    I'm still annoyed with myself for taking the bloody pay motorway from Alicante to Valencia, forgetting that there are now perfectly good free autovias. 16 euros for nothing.

    In France, the capital for most of our motorways has now been repaid, so Sarkozy has privatised them, selling them off to his mates who've put the prices up and are now making a fortune charging us excessive amounts for the infrastructure we paid for. Makes you feel like putting on a cockade and stringing up a few of the new aristocrats.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Spike said...

    I'm still annoyed with myself for taking the bloody pay motorway from Alicante to Valencia, forgetting that there are now perfectly good free autovias. 16 euros for nothing.

    The traffic around here is horrendous at the moment, should sort itself out by the end of the month, so it's either a question of getting stuck in lots of traffic, or getting stuck in less traffic, and paying even more for it. Valencia community, strangely enough (especially considering that many years ago it was a republican stronghold), is run by the right-wing (as legit. as a nine bob note, too), and they'll charge for anything, given half a chance.

    Apparently there are even more toll roads in Catalonia and the Basque Country, same deal there as in France, I imagine. Bastards.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Morning All

    Hi Larit

    i am currently trying to make a good gluten free sour dough loaf.

    Fed up with the cardboard, over preserved stuff on sale generally.

    I usedto bake a lot of bread - reached the happy state of intuition whereby I could throw anything into it and make a meal for several kids.

    The sour dough is still at experimental stage.

    ReplyDelete
  28. #Apart from being a populist, borderline plagiarist and dangerously close to being a charlatan, what isn't there to like?#

    Populist?...hard to avoid this charge when attempting to engineer a proletarian dictatorship, no? In fact such a context: advocating a popular revolution; "populism" is tautology.

    borderline plagiarist?...hard for any Marxist writer to avoid this charge in such a relatively narrow and well-worked furrow, but, if anyone does, it's Zizek..he is often recommended for his originality, particularly in his interpretations of various aspects of popular culture and their relationship to aspects of Western capitalism...he is certainly a cut above the rank and file of 'Theorists' whose conclusions are often plain wack...

    charlatan?..fair enough..I'm not a huge fan of Critical Theory or Lacan myself..but at least he's entertaining...and a lot of his stuff is challenging, thought provoking and enlightening..even if it is to some extent contrarian and over polemical.

    I'd have a rethink on Zizek..you may still conclude he's a charlatan...or even well-intentioned but wrong...but I think you're missing the point with the other two.

    ReplyDelete
  29. La Rit

    I think Atomgirl's sabotage of your efforts is a lovely story - funny isn't it? Food as a weapon as well as a source of nourishment and love.

    There was another occasion when we had argued and I was taking something I had cooked - for myself only - from the oven. I was armed with oven gloves, but awkwardly manhandling the pan to avoid it slopping and trying to settle it onto the top of the cooker.

    Atomgirl came in and calmly came alongside me and the tray of steaming food and gently took the oven gloves from me and just nudged me a little out of the way. I thought we were going to make up.

    In one deft and sweeping move, she hurled the dinner through the open window and calmly placed the pan back onto the cooker and left the room.

    There was another occasion when she threw a dozen eggs at me, as I sat pretending to be calm at the table. Most of them broke on my head or the wall behind. They are not as fragile as they otherwise might seem, when they hit you at speed on forehead and face.

    PS I am going to clarify your "Mum" comment, just in case Atomgirl ever reads this (nah!). It was only a few years ago that I had to go into Bloackbusters after sending Atomgirl in to hire an 18 film. The manageress refused to serve her because she would not believe she was eighteen.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hey La Rit go easy on those of us who get drunk alone, some of us don't have a choice. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Spike:

    Feeling your age? God, tell me about it... planned to do a 'rave' some mates are running out in Essex this weekend. Been so tired and sick of having a hideous bug, the thought of staying up all night and sliding around in mud off my face and then camping, there would have only been an apparition left instead of the real me.

    You know the poem by Verlaine? Prison?

    Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit,
    Si beau, si calme!
    Un arbre, par-dessus le toit,
    Berce sa palme.

    La cloche, dans le ciel qu'on voit,
    Doucement tinte,
    Un oiseau sur l'arbre qu'on voit,
    Chante sa plainte.

    Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, la vie est là,
    Simple et tranquille.
    Cette paisible rumeur-là
    Vient de la ville.

    -Qu'as-tu fait, ô toi que voilà
    Pleurant sans cesse,
    Dis, qu'as-tu fait, toi que voilà,
    De ta jeunesse?

    Of course, the Faure setting of this poem is an extrordinary thing of pain and beauty.... one of my favourites to sing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Jen:

    Getting drunk alone? No shame really (although it's supposed to be the mark of some kind of deranged and miserable soul if you do it - wot no friends? how sad, sort of shite) It's a habit of mine too.... no-one to tell you off ;0)

    Martillo & Atomboy

    All that talk of bread-making got me suitably fired-up and I bit the bullet (made a bloody Tortilla too!) So feeling like I've accomplished something worthwhile this morning now - it's proving as we speak. I shall let you know how it turns out.

    Leni

    Check out Martillo's link above - re sourdough starters - it's great and really clear. ;0) There's one for spelt there but I know spelt is low gluten as opposed to no gluten.... are you Coeliac? Have a friend who is.

    ReplyDelete
  33. morning all

    zivek........anyone that can make a comparison between kung fu panda and berlusconi gets the thumbs up from me......"

    The fat panda dreams of becoming a kung fu warrior. He is chosen by blind chance (beneath which lurks the hand of destiny, of course), to be the hero to save his city, and succeeds. But the film’s pseudo-Oriental spiritualism is constantly undermined by a cynical humour. The surprise is that this continuous making-fun-of-itself makes it no less spiritual: the film ultimately takes the butt of its endless jokes seriously."

    "Berlusconi is our own Kung Fu Panda. As the Marx Brothers might have put it, ‘this man may look like a corrupt idiot and act like a corrupt idiot, but don’t let that deceive you – he is a corrupt idiot.’"

    ReplyDelete
  34. Well I am a bit deranged and miserable most of the time La Rit so I suppose I can't complain.

    Hearing Atomboys stories makes me feel better about being single, tempestuous relationships can be fun but looking from the outside in they seem like a lot of hard work. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  35. @Montana et al

    There's another possible source of post-header pictures here. And they're worth a look in general, too, as is the entire site they sit on.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Atomboy

    re: Eggs "They are not as fragile as they otherwise might seem, when they hit you at speed on forehead and face" Do you and Atomgirl have a Laurel and Hardy existence???? It sounds like it!

    It's been a long time since I threw food or crockery, but when I was doing the kitchen cooking fandango last night, very hungry and stressed, being asked by Mr LaRit 'do we need spoons' as he swiped a poppadom in passing nearly resulted in the kitchen becoming a major crime scene ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  37. MonkeyFish

    Sometimes I manage to escape from the crazy circus to make the bread and ting ;0) Good for the soul.

    ReplyDelete
  38. PeterJ

    Those photos are magnificent.

    I was watching a programme ages ago about a documetary phtographer who went to rural communites in Ireland about the same era - phtographing people's lives. I don't think they were originally colour, but there had been a project to 'colourise' them (I think)and the results were equally astonishing.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Gandolfo

    Berlusconi as described by the Marx Brothers - hahahahah!

    I'm a fan of La Zizek - thought it irks me if the SWP are using him as a poster boy. ;( I fookin' hate the SWP.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jen:

    Can empathise - am deranged and miserable more often than not. Obviously, today I have cheery verbal diorrhea... must be bonkers ;)

    ReplyDelete
  41. La Rit

    The analogy is normally with Tom and Jerry because we know that our behaviour can be cartoonish, although I like Laurel and Hardy.

    Did you see the one where they are bumped slightly by another car and it involves the complete wrecking of both cars as the tit-for-tat reprisals escalate and become more inventive?

    Your mentioning of crockery reminds me that we used to have to buy new crockery pretty much every time we did the weekly shop.

    The standing joke was that we never had two things which matched.

    It has calmed down a lot now.

    There was the story in a book (cannot remember title or author, but think it was the chap who wrote about his drug-smuggling days) of a couple with a slightly tempestuous, volatile relationship.

    It got to the stage where the glazier had a drawing of their property, with all the windows numbered. The man would just give them a ring every few days and order a number 8 or 15 or whatever.

    ReplyDelete
  42. PS Howard Marks - Mr Nice [?]

    ReplyDelete
  43. Those pictures are amazing. Who knew you could get such quality in 1909?

    As for food fighting in domestic settings, it was one of the things that made me re-examine what had been a rather unquestioning acceptence of feminist maxims in the 1980s. In particular that men were violent and women the victims, and that domestic violence was a consequence of patriarchy.

    Why I reconsidered this was that I had known some quite volatile women when I was squatting in Norwich. One was cooking one day when a couple of guys (stoned no doubt) were messing around. She told them to fuck off but they carried on, and she lost it and threw a large, sharp knife at them. Fortunately she just threw it in their general direction, and it stuck in the door, between their shocked heads.

    Skip forward to the mid 80s and a shared house in Camden where I stayed when in London. My friend Paul had an affair which his partner was not happy about. So unhappy that she threw a cereal bowl at him. This split his head open and he had to go to casualty for stitches.

    The thing is that the thrower, Mandy, was one of those feminists who had been lecturing us all about male violence.

    There were quite a few other incidents which I will not bore you with. The thing is I didn't know any men who were smacking their girlfriends around. But I did know quite a few, usually very feminist women who were prone to outbursts of violence, some of which were serious, or as in the knife one, it was only luck that they were not.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Spencer/Martyn,

    as we sit in our comfortable liberal democratic societies, it is always easy to denounce the terror, “How can anyone defend it? A shocking destruction of life by zealots, utopians and nutcases.” Like any historical analysis, a degree of detachment and understanding is required in order to gain a fuller understanding on the causes and the machinations of the terror.

    By 1793, Revolutionary France faced a war against six monarchies hellbent on the destruction of the Revolution and reversal to the ancien regime which had caused centuries of misery. Exacerbating this was the religious led Vendee revolt and counter-revolutionary plots.

    The terror was a temporary measure designed to save Revolutionary France from its enemies and stop the destruction of the rights and democracy gained since 1789. Yes, the terror was excessive and ended in paranoia, death and unnecessary destruction (the experience of Lyon being the most notorious) but what was the alternative and why is the narrative of the Terror always focused on the death and not the ultimate aim? This is what Zizek attempts to clarify.

    We never read that Louis XVI was trying to have war declared on his own people whilst ‘Constitutional monarch’ in order to regain his absolutism. Is this not treasonous, destructive and does it not prove Robespierre correct during the kings trial?

    We forget that Robespierre was the staunchest opponent of the decision to launch war on the monarchies in April 1792. The war was launched by the bourgeois Brissotin faction to spread French revolutionary principles across Europe. Does this not sound familiar in terms of contemporary neocon thinking on exporting values?

    Robespierre was dangerous to the bourgeois architects of 1789 because he espoused mass democracy- every man should have the right to vote. This flew in the face of the 1789ers who had gained everything they wanted and wanted to stop the Revolution there. His speech On the silver mark in 1791 denounced attempts by the legislative assembly to restrict suffrage on financial capabilities. Robespierre was correct in identifying that the Bourgeoisie wanted to replace ancien regime with their own form of ‘‘limited democratic’ rule.

    We forget that Robespierre emancipated the Saint Domingue (Haiti) slaves later to be re-enslaved by the French bourgeois hero Napoleon and that Haiti only received its independence under the most ruinous compensation scheme by reinstated bourbon France in 1825, the effects of which are still felt today.

    Napoleon destroyed France by 1814, causing the deaths of millions yet today is venerated. We forget the 20,000-30,000 communards summarily executed in the aftermath of the Paris Commune by the infant Third Republic dwarfed the deaths during the terror, yet why do we only judge the Terror negatively? The terror ended in excess, but at its heart was the goal of mass democracy, virtue and the rule of the people. Robespierre and St Just were hopelessly utopian by the time of Thermidor but at the heart of the terror was the emancipation of the people and this is why Robespierre is so dangerous even today.

    Zizek does not defend the death and destruction of the Terror, he seeks to find what the aims of the Terror were and the goals of the Jacobins. He does not flinch from highlighting the deaths but also highlights that Robespierre’s vision of mass emancipatory democracy is as dangerous to bourgeois values today as it was in 1793.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Duke "We never read that Louis XVI was trying to have war declared on his own people whilst ‘Constitutional monarch’ in order to regain his absolutism. Is this not treasonous, destructive and does it not prove Robespierre correct during the kings trial?"

    Whataboutery.

    "Napoleon destroyed France by 1814, causing the deaths of millions yet today is venerated."

    Not by me. More whataboutery.

    "Zizek does not defend the death and destruction of the Terror"

    Yes he does. He did on the programme I referred to.

    ReplyDelete
  46. 13thDukeofWybourne said...

    There's never been much of a history of the left being over enamoured with eastern European standup philosophers, either in Wales or Spain, I guess I am also subject to that influence. For a left that is serious, austere yet relaxed, Zizek comes across as a bit of a clown, and that just doesn't cut it in some places. Another thing is the frequent references to popular Americanised culture, it just doesn't do anything for me, or for that matter, most anyone else on the left here. In a few words, Zizek is just not on the radar.

    ReplyDelete
  47. MIE

    I actually like zizek yep a bit bizzare but what the hell he says interesting things that unlike most political philosophers are actually accessible and not pompous.......
    don't like the fact that you speak for "the left" of spain, best keep it to "I"....that is unless you have been unanimously elected by the left of wales and spain to express their views....

    ReplyDelete
  48. gandolfo said...

    I am not speaking for the left, I am speaking of my own personal observations of the left. Completely different things IMHO The fact that we typically only comment on a personal basis should be a given, unless of course we officially represent something or another (elected or selected).

    ReplyDelete
  49. gandolfo said...

    BTW Just because Zizek might be your hero, there's no need to take my criticism of him so personally.

    ReplyDelete
  50. "literarly, terror is an emanation of virtue."
    Blowhard, arsewipe.

    He quotes the insanity of Robespierre "I say that anyone who trembles at this moment is guilty; for innocence never fears public scrutiny." With approval, calling it "true heroism."

    How can you possibly take this fuckwit seriously? I find it slightly scary that anyone would, to be honest.Zizek talks bollocks

    ReplyDelete
  51. PeterJ

    Those photographs are fabulous - what an excellent find - thanks!

    Princess/MsC

    There are two great exhibitions in town. An exhibition of water colours (huge variety) at the Millenium and a lovely little show of Piranesi etchings at the Graves - Carceri d'invenzione (imaginary prisons). Really recommend them if you're in town.

    A quote from Zizek that I like:


    "The true ethical test is not only the readiness to save the victims, but also - even more, perhaps - the ruthless dedication to annihilating those who made them victims."

    ReplyDelete
  52. Martin

    I didn't take your criticism personally at all....jesus zizek's not me dad nor is he my hero...

    ReplyDelete
  53. Shame. Gandolfo Zizek would be one hell of a name...

    ReplyDelete
  54. Martyn

    I know Denia quite well. A friend of mine has a house in Sella (right at the top) and have spent quite a bit of time out there. I think it was in Denia I got some of the best fish I've ever eaten believe it or not.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Sheff
    this, I think, sums up well the Italian situation...according to my "hero" zizek of course ;)


    Berlusconi is a significant figure, and Italy an experimental laboratory where our future is being worked out. If our political choice is between permissive-liberal technocratism and fundamentalist populism, Berlusconi’s great achievement has been to reconcile the two, to embody both at the same time. It is arguably this combination which makes him unbeatable, at least in the near future: the remains of the Italian ‘left’ are now resigned to him as their fate. This is perhaps the saddest aspect of his reign: his democracy is a democracy of those who win by default, who rule through cynical demoralisation.

    ReplyDelete
  56. exiled

    bloody shame.....there's a certain ring to it.....

    maybe my mum didn't tell me the truth on her death bed.....or maybe my dad *is* zizek in disguise......come to think of it he talks a lot about kung fu panda.........

    ReplyDelete
  57. Sheffpixie

    I think it was in Denia I got some of the best fish I've ever eaten believe it or not.

    Yes, Denia has always had (well,for a long time)a fishing fleet, so we get a lot of good fish here. Out of the holiday season, the fish market in the port is a great place to buy fresh fish and shellfish. I also know La Sella quite well, although just as a place I cycle through and occasionally visit friends (I don't play golf).

    ReplyDelete
  58. Gandolfo

    come to think of it he talks a lot about kung fu panda.........

    As opposed to Zizek, who just talks a lot....

    I couldn't believe it when I saw him on video - it's like his mouth is playing catch up with his brain. I was so wrapped up in the demented delivery, I forgot to listen to what he was saying....

    ...which is a handy way of avoiding getting sucked into a debate about marxist philosophy...

    ReplyDelete
  59. gandolfo said...

    This is perhaps the saddest aspect of his reign: his democracy is a democracy of those who win by default, who rule through cynical demoralisation.

    This stuff is more than thirty years old, if not much older than that. It's really like the TLS for left-leaning special interest groups. Oh no, not another article on Auden.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Martian

    che te pasa? bad day?

    ReplyDelete
  61. exiled

    yep he seems like he's been a big user of acid...and what's with the constant sniffing.....?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Don't know about a golf course Martin but Sella seems to be one of the few (relatively) unspoilt little pueblos blancos left round there. There's some great climbing up at the end of the valley too.

    exiled
    I couldn't believe it when I saw him on video

    He does have very slurpy diction which makes him hard to understand sometimes - never mind understanding what he's actually saying.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Gandolfo

    Acid? Constant sniffing?

    Suddenly marxist philosophy sounds interesting. Have I missed something here?

    I always steered well clear of left-wing revolutionary politics, on the assumption that they were a load of miserable, humourless obsessives - maybe I was wrong?

    Who should I join? I'm looking for the best drugs, the best looking women, and the most fun...

    ReplyDelete
  64. exiled said...

    I'm looking for the best drugs, the best looking women, and the most fun...

    Zurich, and tell them you're a trader.

    ReplyDelete
  65. exiled

    hah you've been hanging out with those serious and austere yet relaxed, however, not drug induced, lefties.......

    why join anything just create your own party....!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Martyn

    Zurich? They have lefties in Zurich?

    ReplyDelete
  67. exiled

    I always steered well clear of left-wing revolutionary politics, on the assumption that they were a load of miserable, humourless obsessives - maybe I was wrong?

    You're NOT wrong! Anarchists are much more fun...but pretty useless revolutionaries, always too easily sidetracked by drugs, sex, rock 'n roll etc

    ReplyDelete
  68. Gandolfo

    Not a bad idea, but wouldn't my own religion be more fun? Why be a leader when you could be a messiah?

    ReplyDelete
  69. exiled

    Zurich? They have lefties in Zurich?

    I knew at least .. four. Funny thing is, they were all people you'd least suspect of being on the left.

    Have to agree with Sheffpixie about anarchists though, especially (in my experience) in Madrid and down Cordoba way. Although, curiously enough, one of my best friends was an anarchist, and she didn't do drugs or alcohol, but was still great fun.

    ReplyDelete
  70. exiled

    yeah bit of hokey pokery brainwashing always goes down well......can kung fu panda be the symbol....gotta have a symbol of worship.....even if you're the messiah...

    ReplyDelete
  71. "Zurich? They have lefties in Zurich?

    I knew at least .. four."

    4 lefties? bloody hell a hotbed of revolution...mmm why am I not surprised.......?

    ReplyDelete
  72. The weird thing is, despite being on the left I tend to get on better on a personal level with people on the right.

    OK, they're heartless brutes, and sooner or later you have to restrain yourself from punching them, but many lefties are so poe-faced and earnest, I just can't imagine going for a drink with them.

    It's a bit like Catholics and Protestants. On the face of it the reformation was a good thing, but who would you rather spend the evening with - a drunk Irish Catholic, or a sober Scottish wee free?

    ReplyDelete
  73. exiled "It's a bit like Catholics and Protestants. On the face of it the reformation was a good thing, but who would you rather spend the evening with - a drunk Irish Catholic, or a sober Scottish wee free?"

    Actually, it can be exactly like that. I have a sister who vacillated for years between the SWP and the Wee Frees.

    I guess they both offered her (and her husband who followed in her wake) the same sort of ready made community and ideological certainty.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Peter Bracken

    Just caught your little dig last night re. my 'muddled' take on enlightenment values..which you take delight in associating yourself with.

    Maybe you can square this with the notion of arbitrarily denying certain rights to certain people and what would appear to be a desire to similarly scrap an assumption of equality before the law for certain parties?...hardly 'mainstream' enlightenment values..

    Also re. Gold

    Liberal estimates put total human gold production/ extraction at 15625 cubic metres (a 25 meter cube) which would equate to 15625000 litres or slightly less than one hundred thousand barrels...since the average oil tanker carries 2 million barrels, your "fit in an oil tanker" estimate is too high by a factor of 20...a biggish trawler would probably do the job..

    In other apocryphal "total volume-ship comparison" news, the oft quoted assertion by John Calvin that all the supposed fragments of the 'true cross' would build a battleship is also way off the mark...the best reported study puts the total of all such fragments (in a detailed study by Rohault de Fleury in his Mémoire sur les instruments de la Passion 1870) put the figure at roughly 4 million cubic millimetres...this is approximately a 4 foot length of four by two..which whittled down might just about make a baseball bat.

    Motto...People bringing ships into estimates of volume are talking out their arses.

    ReplyDelete
  75. monkeyfish

    Motto...People bringing ships into estimates of volume are talking out their arses.

    I thought the standard unit of measurement for people talking out of their arses was Belgium?

    ReplyDelete
  76. Spencer

    Can't really go there wrt equating instances of outbursts of violence from women negating the issue of domestic violence as a 'patriarchal construct'. I'd be here all day and my falling out with Paul has its roots in this discussion - personally, if you hold the above pov I am not going to make you see any differently. But I will say my piece nonetheless.

    I've worked in many restaurents over the years, I've been subject to outbursts of violence from various Chefs (also involving knife-throwing, which narrowly missed mine and other waiter's heads, believe it or not) however, that too has nothing to do with the patriarchy nor domestic violence either.

    It is what it is, an outburst, feminsts, just like chefs, can have a temper too. Your comment in the context in which you couch it, is meaningless - comparing apples and pears.

    Domestic Violence is a systematic process which follows a specific pattern. It manifests itself in manipulation, frequently moving home, isolation from friends and family, verbal threats of violence, violent acts of agression (threats) which do not harm the woman physically, but do so mentally, creating an atmosphere of terror, this includes the killing of family pets - often committed in front of small children (a very common aspect of DV) control of money, what the woman wears, how she looks, being locked into the family home.

    Should the woman 'step out of line' at some point, a pre-determined 'offence' then acts as the 'trigger' to an act of physical violence. It could be anything, wearing the wrong colour lipstick or failing to put food on the table at a specific time (acts, pre-determined by the abuser but unknown to the woman)which result in a broken nose or jaw, then it escalates. If the woman tries to leave, instigate divorce proceedings or involves the Police, the abuse will end in murder.

    So you see, a single act of violence (throwing something which causes an injury) is just that, a single act of violence, it has no place being discussed in the context of domestic violence.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Spencer

    I guess they both offered her (and her husband who followed in her wake) the same sort of ready made community and ideological certainty.

    I sometimes envy those with ideologiocal certainty. It makes so many difficult things redundent - doubt, complexity, thinking for yourself, questioning your own views....

    So much easier to just believe.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Duke

    I read the Zizek article and I'm with you on it. Where I am fluent in speaking on Women's issues, it would take me far longer to go into detail now re: Zizek.

    I think he creates discomfiture and opposition because he is trying to get folk to see something which is very painful and terrifying.... (re: why not catastrophe?) but personally, I think this is the only way forward and that we delude ourselves if we think that trying to cling onto our hard-won 'rights' or 'permissions' as Zizek calls them (the Welfare State, Education etc.) the only way is down.

    ReplyDelete
  79. @LaRitournelle

    I'm sorry if it looked like I was making a simplistic equivalence between domestic violence of the controlling sort you describe and these outbursts.

    I can see that it might look like that and that I might have phrased it better.

    And there was another context too, which I did not mention which is that this took place around the time of the Falklands War with Margaret Thatcher enjoining us to rejoice at the deaths of the sailors on the Belgrano.

    I don't think that my friend throwing a bowl at her partner's head is just like some guy who stalks a woman, or uses controlling behaviour (violent or not) over time, either.

    All I meant to say was that the equally simplistic feminist argument - that violence was a male thing and a male problem, rather than a human problem which men generally have much more opportunity to contribute too - was revealed to be just that: simplistic.

    ReplyDelete
  80. exiled "I sometimes envy those with ideologiocal certainty. It makes so many difficult things redundent - doubt, complexity, thinking for yourself, questioning your own views...."

    I don't. My sister is very intelligent and also very troubled. I don't think she can risk thinking for herself. She needs or needed that external ideological straighjacket to be able to function.

    OK, she may not be typical. But seeing her flit between the SWP and the Wee Frees was instructive (and if I am honest, not a little entertaining at times).

    ReplyDelete
  81. #I thought the standard unit of measurement for people talking out of their arses was Belgium?#

    No..you're mixing it up with Scunthorpe

    The "Scunthorpe Scale" isn't a unit, it's a conversion factor...basically..you look at an 'author'..decide whether they merit a Scunthorping.. examine the text, arrive at a rough agreement for the total number of words which might bear some relation to objective reality, then divide by 500.

    So..for instance..if you took everything Polly Toynbee's ever written..struck out the delusional, hyperbolic and plain weird..applied the Scunthorpe factor..and you're left with the "Collected Wisdom of Polly T" snuggly nestled on a postage stamp.

    Based on this method, the British Library recently rejected the proposal for a new wing since even after a rigorous application of the Scunthorpe method, the "Thoughts of Monkeyfish" still couldn't be accommodated into anything less than an aircraft carrier..

    ReplyDelete
  82. I thought the unit of measurement was Wales?

    ReplyDelete
  83. "Thoughts of Monkeyfish" still couldn't be accommodated into anything less than an aircraft carrier..

    heh..heh..heh MF - a characteristic you share with Bracken - a complete lack of....modesty, perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
  84. No, I think you'll find that a Wales is like the equivalent of three oil tankers, similar to a Bahrain, but more variable. Three aircraft carriers, one super tanker (or one Wales), although Israel is roughly the same size as Wales, it counts for triple the number of aircraft carriers, given it's location, and the prevailing exchange rate.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Sheff

    No, I think Monkeyfish is humorous, self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek, self-aware and witty.

    On the other hand, here is rare archive footage of Peewee Brackers addressing the internet.

    And the internet's response.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Atters

    I know, I was only joking...good clip that btw.

    Have just read that Zizek article His Grace posted. Pretty clear really and not difficult to agree with. The last bit, about what we must do will take some persuading for most people though as it's pretty terrifying:

    Today we do not know what we have to do, but we have to act now, because the consequence of non-action could be disastrous. We will be forced to live 'as if we were free'. We will have to risk taking steps into the abyss, in totally inappropriate situations; we will have to reinvent as[ects of the new, just to keep the machinery going and maintain what was good in the old - education, healthcare, basic social services.

    In short, our situation is like what Stalin said about the atom bomb: not for those with weak nerves. Or as gramsci said, characterising the epoch that began with the First World War, 'the old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters'.

    ReplyDelete
  87. monkeyfish

    Based on this method, the British Library recently rejected the proposal for a new wing since even after a rigorous application of the Scunthorpe method, the "Thoughts of Monkeyfish" still couldn't be accommodated into anything less than an aircraft carrier..

    So assuming you haven't actually got an aircraft carrier, where do you keep them? Would Belgium be big enough?

    Spencer

    I thought the unit of measurement was Wales?

    That was pre-EU.

    Tell someone from Italy how many would fit into Wales, and they wouldn't have a clue. We've now adopted the European measurements for bullshitting about area - football pitches and Belgium.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Spencer

    If you're having trouble with the conversion rate, it's currently 1.47 Waleses to 1 Belgium (or 1.08 Israels for I/P bullshit).

    ReplyDelete
  89. Whilst the thoughts of a certain bod from Scunthorpe fit nicely into a hot air balloon.

    ReplyDelete
  90. "All that talk of bread-making got me suitably fired-up and I bit the bullet (made a bloody Tortilla too!) So feeling like I've accomplished something worthwhile this morning now - it's proving as we speak. I shall let you know how it turns out."

    Good luck with it, LaRit, nice talking to you. Have a good weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  91. Sheff/LaRit,

    yeah, I thought it was a very good piece.

    The postwar consensus is being unravelled at an alarming rate yet the opposition (as Zizek notes) to it believes that opposition can come from within the system, that somehow it can be regulated from inside the tent.

    We now live within a pseudo-democratic, globalised system in which the economic processes which govern us all are decided at supranational levels beyond democratic procedures.

    Spencer,

    you didn't engage with either the historical circumstances of the terror or Robespierre's concept of democracy. Explaining Louis attempts to launch a war on his own people is hardly whattaboutery, indeed without the flight to Varennes, the Revolution may not have descended into terror.

    My whole point is whilst Robespierre is remembered only for the negative aspects, bourgeois violence is swept under the carpet, be it Napoleon who was brought to power under a bourgeois reaction or the wholescale execution of the Communards by the Third republic being just two examples.

    As Zizek points out in 'defence of lost causes', Saint Just's maxim "That which produces the general good is always terrible" is a bitter truth. The terror was a reaction to extreme circumstances wrought by those who wished to turn France back to absolutism.

    It is easy to criticise the terror from the 21st Century without understanding the violence which created the society you live in now. If you sit in Britain, the historic processes which created the society you are in now were the result of economic and political violence- from Industrial Revolution, to Colonialism to depression to WWI and WWII.

    The postwar consensus is just that. Post War. The gains gained by the British public came at a horrific cost.

    What was gained is now being unravelled. If you live in a society which was created by wholly peaceful means then feel free to criticise any violent attempt to change society. But you don't, so what is required is understanding and analysis of processes, not a kneejerk reaction which you display in your posts about the terror.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Duke

    As i ve said on previous threads it could well take traumatic events such as war and depression to rebuild some form of consensus in this country.What is termed the post war consensus actually started unravelling in the 70,s ,accelerated under Thatcher and IMO actually accelerated further under New Labour.The issue now is how low can we go until something starts to give.And what role will events external to this country play in not only that process but also what i hope one day will be the rebuilding of some sort of political consensus to deal with inequality in this country.

    I can't remember where i read it but apparently inequality in this country was at its lowest level ever in the mid 70,s.

    ReplyDelete
  93. @Duke. Why should I engage with the historical circumstances of the terror?

    If I had been complaining about any use of violence per se, or even the execution of the King that would be a fair point.

    But when someone quotes Robespierre's chilling words about anyone trembling being guilty because innocence never fears public scrutiny (at a time when anyone might be denounced and executed and to be scared was only rational) with approval and relish, then there is something seriously wrong with them and their anylsis. Anyone who relishes violence and is an apologist for random, unjust violence deserves, well, I can only hope if that violence is ever unleashed it goes their way first.

    ReplyDelete
  94. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Spencer,

    "That which produces the general good is always terrible" is a bitter truth."

    I know, thousands had to be butchered in the streets to establish the National Health Service but it was worth it.

    What complete bollocks.


    You completely misinterpret the point. The point is, is that Zizek identifies that all gains made for the general good come at enormous cost.It is not something to be celebrated or sought, it is a historical fact.

    That is the context Zizek is making.

    So lets think about it. The relevant point you mske about Zizek's seemingly outrageous support of Robespierre's stance above seems impossible to justify, so why does he say it? Is he genuinely a terrorist who delights in bloodbaths?

    Well no. He is deliberately provocative to upset the applecart and to focus on emancipatory action in today's apolitical societies.

    Zizek's analysis of Robespierre, the Terror and emancipatory struggle deserves more than a mere dismissal from a quote made on a TV show.

    I have found the chapter I mentioned above from his ' in defence of lost causes' which can be found here.

    If you have the time I would be interested to see what your views on his analysis is.

    Paul,

    this is the central question of history and progress. Why do populations have to constantly struggle for advancement against antagonistic forces?

    It's an interesting discussion but unfortunately I'm off to play darts but if people want to discuss it I'd love to join in later/tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Jen

    In light of our earlier discussion, I'm cracking a lonely beer and saying 'cheers'!! ahhh.... Red Stripe.... always a winner ;)


    Spencer

    "All I meant to say was that the equally simplistic feminist argument - that violence was a male thing and a male problem, rather than a human problem which men generally have much more opportunity to contribute too - was revealed to be just that: simplistic"

    Thanks for your reply. It's a touchy subject and your post above explains what you were trying to say pretty well. Understood ;)

    ReplyDelete
  97. PS Spencer:

    Thatcher wasn't a woman, she was one of the Lizard People

    hehehehehe!

    ReplyDelete
  98. Martillo:

    No, thanks for the chat and the link. My bread turned out very well indeed.

    Hope the frenzy of cleaning has paid off and MissusM hasn't spotted you had a rave in there whilst she was away!

    ReplyDelete
  99. "The point is, is that Zizek identifies that all gains made for the general good come at enormous cost."

    The point is that they don't. Certainly not at a "terrible" cost. Not by any stretch of the imagination. That is the delusion of a psychotic.

    Sometimes they do, I am not denying that. If you have a situation where tyranny means that violence is the only solution it is pretty much certain that the tyrants and their forces are going to exact a heavy price in blood if anything is going to change.

    But that which produces change for the public good comes in a myriad of forms.

    The invention of penicillin, the establishment of a minimum wage, the writing of Father Ted, the spread of public libraries, the eradication of smallpox...

    Some things might come as a result of terrible violence, perhaps the National Health Service would not have been established without the carnage of the Second World War and the impetus that a lot of returning soldiers looking for a better life gave that process. Some things come after long and hard struggles but little or no "revolutionary terror", the Chartists fighting for universal manhood sufferage and regular elections, the Suffragettes extending the vote to women.

    And sometimes, but only sometimes, revolutionary violence is the only option, as in the Nicaragua of Somoza.

    But revolutionary violence as often causes nothing but grief and achieves little. And so often it seems unneccessary; what happens when the psychos take control, often of a revolution where the spade work has been largely done by somebody else.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Duke

    I know you're off to play darts now (another game I'm shite at!) but the Zizek link has given me much food for thought. I'm off out in a little bit so hope this does continue on the morrow. Will there be much shouting of .....

    WHAAAAAAAAANNNNNNHUNDREDANDEIGHTEEEEEEEAH????

    "We now live within a pseudo-democratic, globalised system in which the economic processes which govern us all are decided at supranational levels beyond democratic procedures"

    Absolutely.

    I am at the point were every time the word 'democracy' is mentioned, I think NO we are NOT living in an effing democracy, we are living in 21stC feudal system, presented as a faux, manufactured world wherein we are proffered the illusion that 'democracy' boils down to the right to own a TV or throw shit on the street, because we can. It's like candy being handed out to little kids for good behaviour and bad behaviour.

    Millions believe that we are governed by a set of rules and laws to which we all have the right of redress. NO, no, no, no!!! The families of those who have died in Police Custody will tell you. There is no redress, there is no justice.

    In their hearts, they know something is very,very wrong with the system but can't put their finger on it.

    On CiF, you see people wrestling with it all the time... they spend boundless amounts of energy arguing that we have democracy and freedom, that "cuts are necessary, that it's all poor people's fault, that they don't want their taxes to subsidise the poor, I work hard for my money, I saved and live within my means"....blah,blah, blah, but they are also very confused, even though they keep repeating the mantra, some say, 'I don't think it's right' and 'no, the bankers shouldn't be paying themselves bonuses, but...' and then they see it fleetingly before returning to the mantra.

    cont.....

    ReplyDelete
  101. cont... (pt2)

    I think the point of no return was not 9/11, but the 2000 US Elections when Bush, Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld, stole the election and no longer pretended that there was such a thing as 'democracy', the coup was completed ustilising the US Supreme Court to do so. The gloves were off, the highest court in the land sanctioned the illegal presidency and next came 9/11. Two violent events a year apart. Zizek is right. The current system relies on violence. It was a violent act to strip people of the right to vote, to steal an election and stick two fingers up to everyone.... the Bush crowd were/are at the apex of the "Tyrell Corporation" and had so much power and money, they were untouchable.

    Continuing to call the US the Land of the Free, is to be frank, ridiculous. It's only free for the most powerful and rich, if you think that it's free for eveyone, you're a bloody mug, just like here. The uber rich and powerful live their lives on a completely different trajectory and everyone else is condemned to a slow lingering death as post-collapse, the lights literally go out in cities across vast tracts of the US as its corporations seek out labour in the developing world or its slave states like Haiti for 7 cents an hour... even the workers already on subsistence in the US are too expensive for the voracious Stink Demon - Capitalism... and it's reached out shores already. God help us of we are not prepared to act and let it roll over us like a massive Tsunami.

    ReplyDelete
  102. (if we are not prepared to act) apols....

    ReplyDelete
  103. La Rit "Thatcher wasn't a woman,"

    Ha! If I had a penny for every feminist who has said that to me I... well I might have enough for a bottle of Czech beer.

    Actually I wouldn't be surprised if she disapeared completely from history. If, as seems likely, after the great gender wars of the future the women win and then invent time travel, its a cinch that they will send a squad back in time to kidnap her before she comes to power, so ruinous is she for the argument that men do all the bad stuff.

    I suppose I should be thankful... nah!

    ReplyDelete
  104. "The point is that they don't. Certainly not at a "terrible" cost. Not by any stretch of the imagination. That is the delusion of a psychotic.

    Sometimes they do, I am not denying that."

    Spencer, do you actually read what you post?

    ReplyDelete
  105. 1st:

    ¡Muchas gracias, martillo! For putting up a thread today. My son and I fell asleep cuddling on the sofa last night (I love that he isn't so grown-up yet that he still wants a cuddle once in awhile). Woke up @ 3 a.m. just long enough to get the two of us in bed -- didn't even think about a thread.

    2nd:

    @La Rit:

    If you ask me, Jimmy Carter was the last legitimately elected POTUS. Democracy in America died on 4 November, 1980.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Spencer:

    "Some things might come as a result of terrible violence, perhaps the National Health Service would not have been established without the carnage of the Second World War and the impetus that a lot of returning soldiers looking for a better life gave that process"

    The NHS and universal healthcare was set up to prevent the incredibly angry masses from resorting to violence and initiating the Russian Revolution part 2 on Albion's shores post WW2. But that second world war (in which an estimated 60 - 100 million died - mainly civilians) was engendered by our lovely rulers to detract from the mass unrest that followed the end of WW1.

    I read somewhere very recently that during WW1 British Soldiers were shocked at how well fed and well equipped their European allies were. Those who didn't desert and were shot for their insolence, or who survived the trenches, returned with a renewed sense of vigor and anger at their situation, but it took WW2 for the ruling elites to realise that f they didn't concede some measures toward the illusion of democracy, then there would have been a revolution.

    Dont get me wrong, the NHS was a great thing, but it reminds me of
    Bob Dylan's 115th Dream....

    They bought our Forefather's and Mothers off with a few beads in order to maintain the power, land, money and control in their hands...

    “I think I’ll call it America”
    I said as we hit land
    I took a deep breath
    I fell down, I could not stand
    Captain Arab he started
    Writing up some deeds
    He said, “Let’s set up a fort
    And start buying the place with beads”

    ReplyDelete
  107. @Habib

    Not sure why you think there is a contradiction there.

    Sometimes change for good comes at a terrible price. What I am arguing against is this:
    "That which produces the general good is always terrible" is a bitter truth."

    Now, do you notice that little word "always"? It's nestling there between "is" and "terrible."

    So to argue that, that which produces the general good is not always terrible, is not at all contradictory to me saying that sometimes it is.

    OK?

    ReplyDelete
  108. LaRit "The NHS and universal healthcare was set up to prevent the incredibly angry masses from resorting to violence and initiating the Russian Revolution part 2 on Albion's shores post WW2."

    Not really. It was set up by a Labour government *elected* by those masses. They did not need to resort to violence because they had the vote.

    And they had the vote because of the long but only rarely violent struggle of the Chartists.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Spencer, I went on a good deal ;( Apols ;)

    My point was that mass violence in the form of World Wars are indicative of the levels of violence (predominantly against civilian women, children, the old and the sick) the ruling classes are prepared to go to, in order to maintain control....

    I think this is what Zizek is on about, but now it's all about 'brave Soldiers who died for our freedom'

    The way I see it, tens of millions died for no reason other than to preserve THEIR power and their freedom to exercise that power.

    This, amongst other reasons is why I never, ever, wear or buy a Poppy.

    ReplyDelete
  110. La Ritournelle said...

    I thought (could be wrong, again) that the Nationalisations and the NHS etc. were the price that the real powers paid for getting the workers to effectively fight their capitalist/imperialist war. Wasn't that it?

    ReplyDelete
  111. Montana

    A big Mexican Wave to you ;) Yep. I reckon 1979/80 was the day the last remnants of democracy died here too.... it just took the fuckers another 30 years to not do that shit behind closed doors.

    Spencer

    I wouldn't kidnap Thatcher if I could time travel, I'd smother the eevil monster whilst she was sleeping in her cot.

    My God, I've never thought of Maggie as an innocent little babe in arms...... I reckon she was a Lizard test tube baby from the outset!

    ReplyDelete
  112. @LaRit

    British soldiers were not shocked by the high quality of the food provided by other European armies in WW1, mainly because it wasn't that good. They did envy the French their daily wine ration, but that's a rather different sort of envy. In fact, it was the officer class who were more shocked by the malnutrition of their soldiers, and by the improvement in their physical condition once they got regular meals and enforced exercise. It was the industrial cities and their employers that produced well-founded resentment at the miserable conditions of the working class, not the army or the war.

    As for equipment, they envied the Germans their well-built dugouts and drainage systems (discouraged by the British on the grounds that the trenches they were in were not intended for long-term occupation), and despised the French trenches for their slovenliness and the habit of burying corpses in the parapet.

    More, a major factor in the collapse of the German army in 1918 following its greatest ever advances in March of that year was the blow to morale suffered by soldiers who realised just how well equipped and fed the allied armies were by that time.

    Weapons and other equipment were equivalent once the British manufacturers got into gear, but I expect you weren't really talking about machine guns and garrison artillery?

    (Sorry, the Great War's my specialist subject.)

    ReplyDelete
  113. Martyn

    I think and that too. For sure.

    MsChin

    Don't play me lovely reggae records, I'll be over to the place across the street in a minute and before I know it, I'll be trollyed and it will be 4 a.m. and the evil bug I've got will be back in control of me ;0)

    Horowitz

    This is beautiful....my Nanna had a music box that played this ;( in loving memory.

    ReplyDelete
  114. PeteJ

    Thank you for your polite corrections ;) It's always a mistake to rely on memory of something previously read than trying to find it and look it up (in this case it would have been impossible to even try)

    The good thing is, you have enlightened me ;) I didn't know that the Great War was your specialism. Forgive me my mis-remembered facts, it was in a round-about sort of way on the right track.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Spencer

    We have a war economy. Just have a look at this List of wars 1945-1989.

    The ones we weren't actually directly involved in we were probably directly or indirectly supporting/arming one side or the other, maybe even both.

    Now we have Iraq, Afghanistan, I/P, not to mention numerous conflicts in Africa, the war on terrorism, war on drugs etc...One way or another we are permanently at war.

    Tell me, when have we ever had peace?

    ReplyDelete
  116. @LaRit

    Don't worry at all! I don't often get the chance to show off a bit about one of my private obsessions. I've been collecting first-person accounts of the war for a long time, from lower ranks by preference, and they provide a useful antidote to the Oh What a Lovely Blackadder approach you tend to see so often.

    Anyway, it's really interesting to see the urban working classes of 1914 through the eyes of army recruiters. They had to fiddle the height and chest measurement requirements to avoid too many recruits failing the physical, and ended up forming special units of those too stunted by malnutrition to pass even the altered test. The Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians were also a shock; massively taller and more physically robust than those from the UK...

    ReplyDelete
  117. ...apart from those like miners and steelworkers, of course, who were forced to be hard as nails by the lives they lived.

    ReplyDelete
  118. PeterJ

    I had a great uncle who was killed at Ypres. He'd been a medical student until the war - great chess player too, apparently. He was one of those 2nd Lieutenants who had an average life span of about 3 months.

    I inherited all that is left of him a year or two ago, including his war diaries which make fascinating if tragic reading.

    ReplyDelete
  119. #So assuming you haven't actually got an aircraft carrier, where do you keep them? Would Belgium be big enough?#

    I'm sick of this...why does everyone just naturally assume I haven't got a fuckin aircraft carrier? OK..I don't shop in Waitrose..I haven't got Nigella's latest book...I don't holiday in the Dordogne...AND?? So what?..of course I've got an aircraft carrier.

    Don't you think I'm 'good' enough for one?? This place has become an elitist bourgeois clique...well I've got news for you lot...I AM a socialist and I'm not gonna let the sword sleep in my hand until anyone..whoever they are..wherever they come from can...hold their head high and sail their aircraft carrier with impunity..free from the sniping condescension of the middle-class...and anyone, even if all they've got is a minesweeper or type 42 destroyer can one day rise to be emperor.

    PS

    Bitterweed's got a B52.

    ReplyDelete
  120. PeterJ

    Here's the record of his death from the War Graves Commission.

    ReplyDelete
  121. @Sheff

    Yes, one of my great uncles died too, at Gallipoli. He was 19. Both my grandfathers survived, one being invalided out through lung damage from gas and the other through being too young to be involved except at the very end. No diaries though, and I missed the chance to ask them about it.

    I've been to Ypres, and stood under the Menin Gate while the fire brigade trumpeters played the last post as they do every evening. It's an incredibly moving thing to witness.

    ReplyDelete
  122. @Sheff

    Thanks for that link. Here's the one for great uncle James.

    ReplyDelete
  123. @ LaRit

    A talented friend of the groom sang this at his wedding which I went to recently, and she sang it beautifully. This version is ok though !

    Suo Gân

    ReplyDelete
  124. PeterJ

    Thanks for your link too. I find it so poignant going through the few bits and pieces that are left of him. My father was a flyer in WW2 and was shot down and killed late 1944. I have nothing of him at all - my Ma won't talk about it. She lost her brother and two of her half brothers. I think the whole country was suffering from PTSD in the years I grew up. London was a massive bomb site and the human wreckage was everywhere you looked

    ReplyDelete
  125. I never knew my grandfather, but we had his bayonet & a few other WW1 things until fairly recently - all lost to us now, sadly. My granddad joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in 1914. Met my grandma when he was injured - she was a nurse. He survived the Great War only to die of TB in 1921.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Bitterweed's got a B52

    I've got an M40 nearby.

    ReplyDelete
  127. My great-aunt went over to England to do some de-coding work during WWII; think it may have been at Bletchley Park. Her husband was in the trenches and wrote a book or two about it - very poignant stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  128. monkeyfish

    I'm sick of this...why does everyone just naturally assume I haven't got a fuckin aircraft carrier?

    Quite.

    I used to have an Apache helicopter gunship, but I had to get rid of it in the end.

    Parking was always a bit of a problem, so I used to tie it to a lamp-post and leave it running, but the neighbours complained.

    ReplyDelete
  129. PeterJ

    Deep respect for your project, you should talk about it more here. I'd be very interested and I'm sure many others here too. Are you writing a book?

    Fiddling the height and weight of the recruits because they were stunted from malnutrition due to poverty is something I never knew about. Shocking that people still felt willing to fight for a country which kept them just above absolute starvation. (As for Blackadder and literati-knobs and Ben Elton - 'scuse me but I have to say a big 'wotever' - schmaltzy pastiche)

    Childhood malnutrition was apparent in my family. One of my Mum's aunties was stunted due to rickets and she was only about 4'3, my Nanna (who had the music box) was only 4'11 - both doll like, my Father and his brother and sisters all suffered malnutrition in WW2 - my Dad too had rickets.

    Not many stories from my family re: WW1 except for my Great Great Uncle Fred who died about 15 years ago who now, aged 86. He lied about his age to join the Navy (he was 14) though whether the authorities turned a blind eye because they needed the cannon fodder is something I'll never know. He was, I believe, on a battleship that was torpedoed and he survived but remained incredibly deaf from then on ;) At least it prevented him from being signed up for the next war. He was a Liverpool docker.

    Years ago, in the early 70's, my Mum started a project with an old reel-to-reel tape recorder, recording her relations stories. I think it was precipitated by my Nanna's death in 1975 and I think she became obsessed with not losing family histories. Fred was one of her favourites in her family she whom she'interviewed'. Very sadly, I don't think any of the tapes now survive. What a treasure trove that would be now.

    ReplyDelete
  130. @SheffP & PeterJ:

    I had a peek at your links from the WGC. Fills me with a profound sadness.

    ReplyDelete
  131. PeterJ and everyone

    Interesting and insightful comments and very moving. It would certainly be good to hear more.

    Are we leaving records of the same calibre with blogs and comments on the internet with regard to ordinary people recording current events, PeterJ?

    ReplyDelete
  132. evening folks

    peter and sheff

    my paternal grandfather was at the somme in the scottish highland infantry and amazingly survived......he was a young lad......he then went on to join the royal air corp fortunately the war ended before he got into the sky......a brother of his died at the somme.

    ReplyDelete
  133. thauma "My great-aunt went over to England to do some de-coding work during WWII; think it may have been at Bletchley Park."

    I went there a couple of years ago. Fascinating place. I run a scheme for elderly people and we have regular day trips. Bletchly Park is further than we usually go but one of them asked.

    Funnily enough, she is German. But she wanted to go because her husband worked there (they met after the war).

    She told me this - He had been at Oxford or Cambridge before the war and he had been a gifted linguist. He got drafted or joined up and was to be sent overseas. So he went to Glasgow (well the Firth of Clyde somewhere) and got on board a troopship with his unit.

    But a message came through that he had to go back to London. There was a big shortage of Japanese speakers. He didn't speak Japanese but as he was so good at languages he was identified as someone who could learn quickly.

    So he was sent back to London for training and then to the Japanese section in Bletchley Park. We went to the little prefab they used. It's still there.

    The thing is, the troopship he had been pulled off was sunk with the loss of everyone on board.

    ReplyDelete
  134. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  135. LaRit - very moving story. My grandfather, in the Merchant Navy, was torpedoed in WWII and survived ... luckily for all of us. His engagement present to my grandmother is somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic.

    Tascia - in keeping with Welsh music and the war theme, I offer you this.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Spencer - lucky for him, very sad for the others.

    This whole discussion about war and revolution makes me sad. Death of any kind is terrible, and a violent and/or young one even more so.

    ReplyDelete
  137. La Rit

    It is incredibly sad and appalling, and it seems to be never ending. I watched Innocent Voices again this afternoon - set in El Salvador during the civil war - a conflict of horrendous brutality. Good film though - definitely one not to miss.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Tascia

    Thanks for that video so much, it was absolutely beautiful ;) I really do think that Charlotte Church is a talented singer, I have always had alot of time for her. The main reason is that she does really sing from the bottom of her heart - sans ego. She's a generous performer - I loved the fact that she acknowledges the harpist during the performance - that shows humility. She needs to get singing again and get over that ridiculous fella who has a professional lifespan/career of about 5 minutes, who shat on her from a great height.

    (on the other hand, I loathe the whole Katherine Jenkins (Soprano TM) thing - somewhere buried under the complete lack of any viable technique is a good voice, but she needs have the balls to lock herself away for at least 5 years and work on that pitiful bit of talent, rather sell herself with breast implants and false teeth - but I guess why bother finding out the truth of your art if you can sell millions of albums by being a 3rd rate fake ;( - depressing)

    Me, I just stay poor and lock myself away, perfecting ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  139. Lucky for him but she said he always felt guilty.

    Bletchley Park was fascinating. It may have changed but when we went it had not yet been "heritagised" In fact a lot of it was in a state, huts falling to bits. Only a few parts really cleaned up ready for visitors.

    And they have Colossus there which is the World's first programmable computer. Actually it is a replica because it was so secret that Churchill ordered it destroyed and broken into tiny pieces. The plans were supposed to be destroyed to but the guy demonstrating it said that engineers are engineers, so they managed to find a lot of the plans squirreled away.

    Some of the people working there were Americans, and some of them later went on to get involved in the creation of IBM. So some histories give credit to the Americans for creating the first the computer, when in fact it was a British post office engineer called Tommy Flowers.

    The truth is out now, but it struck me as really venal for those Americans to take credit, even if they could not actually credit Flowers and his design predecessor, Max Newman.

    There is a video link here so you can see Colossus working. Its a very nerdy little video (the guys who recreated it are uber-nerds) so you might not want to watch the whole thing, but it is worth a look to see what the World's first programmable computer was like.
    Colossus

    Worth a visit if you are in striking distance of Bletchley too.

    ReplyDelete
  140. @Sheff

    My father was in the RAF too, starting on aircrew at Lakenheath and somewhere else in East Anglia, and then being selected for pilot training in Canada. He'd just qualified on four-engine bombers when the war ended, when he was just 22, so never flew in anger so to speak. He started keeping a diary at Lakenheath, which I found when he died, but he wasn't a great writer and was more concerned about how far he'd got with his girlfriend Renee than with anything else. My uncle Jim, named after the guy who'd died at Gallipoli, was a bus driver at Weaste garage (a reserved occupation), although he borrowed my dad's RAF number in the 1970s, joined the Salford RAFA club, and ended up as President. He always was a bit of chancer, though.

    @LaRit

    I've thought of doing a book sometime, but there are already lots out there. It'd be hard to be original, I think.

    @Atomboy

    It was against regulations to keep diaries or take photos in the trenches, although lots of men did write (the literate ones, anyway). The stuff I've collected is mostly recollected in relative tranquility, although I've tried to choose the more contemporary ones. The diaries and letters from the time that aren't kept by families are mostly held at the Imperial War Museum.

    It will be interesting to see what comes out of current wars. The technology actually makes it easier to control what soldiers write and send, although I'm sure there are plenty of CDs and USB sticks of unauthorised memories coming out.

    More generally, the Internet seems to remember everything, but it's actually a very ephemeric medium, very sensitive to broken links, bits of corrupted data, and lack of anyone judging what should be kept and how. There's an ever-increasing amount of dead media out there.

    (At this point I was going to put in a link to the Dead Media Project. This is the result. Ironic, eh?)

    Still, there's a speech about its origins by Bruce Sterling here.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Thauma

    Unbelievable about your great Auntie and Blethcley Park ;) And what became of the books written by her husband? Do you still have them?

    ReplyDelete
  142. Shit! I just wrote a huge post, and it was published, and then it bloody disappeared again. Not sure if I have the energy to write it again.

    ReplyDelete
  143. Atomboy

    Make sure Mizz AtomGirl hears the anecdote about me Mum and fearing her cooking skills will go to the grave with her. Sounds like you have the same sort of relationship my Mum and Dad had (complete with flying crockery and endless battles - we grew up in a war-zone, god it was hell at times)

    However, I don't want to stumble unwittingly on any raw nerves, but it took my Dad's untimely (but long anticipated) death for her to admit how very much she loved him and somehow, within the raging tempest, it was glaringly obvious.

    I used to hate it and there's no denying it was damaging to me and my siblings, but we are OK and fighting folk at the end of the day and proud of it.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Good film, El Norte. Couldn't watch it again though as I have a bit of a problem with rats.

    ReplyDelete
  145. PeterJ

    There's a gremiln in the machine - it's happened to me and Exiled too. Infuriating. Sometimes the posts we invest a good deal of time in that are lost, are not entirely lost. It will come back to you in a different way.

    ReplyDelete
  146. "El Salvador during the civil war - a conflict of horrendous brutality"

    Sheff I worked briefly in Salvador in the early 90s....I heard stories and met people that who had witnessed and experienced first hand the brutality of that regime, certain situations that I found myself in through work put me into too close contact with the salvadorean military nasty cruel bastards....
    I can honestly say I could never be a true pacifist if I ever had the misfortune to be in situations of that kind.......

    ReplyDelete
  147. La Rit

    I agree. CC has a much softer melodious voice. Pity she went into the commercial crap - although with what she earned from it, I guess she's not too bothered. It at least gives her independence from that useless wanker Gavin "my legs are smoother than Charlotte's" Henson.

    And we still have to suffer KJ belting out the National Anthem at every home international !

    ReplyDelete
  148. LaRit - well, I'm not *sure* it was Bletchley Park, as neither of them really talked about it much. But apparently she was an expert code-cracker.

    His books were published but I think are mostly out of print now. I'd link to them but that might give the identity away a bit!

    Re contentious relationships: I've had a few friends who genuinely seemed to enjoy having a good bust-up with flying crockery and all - and who also enjoyed people's reaction to it.

    Me, I don't get it.

    But to each his own.

    Spencer - I take it you're not a fan of Nineteen Eighty-Four then? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  149. Thauma

    Thanks for the link to Whispering Grass ;) top class voice the little fella had.

    In our house, I was Don Estelle and my Dad was Windsor Davies monkeying around in the background, trying to put me off, but secretly chuffed to bits at me singing ;)

    Song and originals from the same era.....
    listen to this....

    ReplyDelete
  150. Sod it, I'm meant to be a bloody writer, so I've written it again. Nine-tenths perspiration and all that.

    _______________

    @Sheff

    My dad was in the RAF too, starting on groundcrew at Lakenheath and somewhere else in East Anglia, towing and loading bombers, before being selected for pilot training in Canada. He'd just qualified on four-engine bombers as the war ended, when he was 22, so never flew in anger, so to speak. My uncle Jim, named after the great-uncle at Gallipoli, was a bus driver at Weaste garage, and so wasn't called up. But he borrowed my dad's RAF number in the 1970s so he could drink cheaply at the local RAFA club, and ended up as club president. He always was a bit of a chancer, a big gambling man.

    @LaRit

    I have thought of doing a book from time to time, but there are already a lot out there and it would be hard to be original. A novel would be better, maybe. The cliches in bloody Birdsong put my teeth on edge.

    @Atomboy

    It was against regulations to keep diaries in the trenches, although many men did (the literate ones anyway), and letters were tightly censored. My collection's mostly stuff recollected in relative tranquility, although I've tried to pick the more contemporary examples. The original diaries and letters that aren't in individual families are mostly at the Imperial War Museum, and relatively hard to get at.

    It will be interesting to see what comes out of modern wars. The technology actually makes it easier to control what soldiers write and send, although I suspect there will be plenty of smuggled CDs and USB sticks coming out eventually, as the Abu Ghraib and Wikilieaks stuff did.

    More generally, it's often thought that the Internet remembers everything, but it has an odd form of CJD caused by broken links, ephemeral storage, and the lack of any curators decided what should be kept and in what form. It's more fragile than people suppose, and it will be interesting to see if that problem is addressed any time soon.

    (I was going to put in a link to the Dead Media Project here, but here's a speech by Bruce Sterling describing the origins of the project, which he set up in 1995.

    ReplyDelete
  151. My mothers family were living in what was called Eire(Irish Republic) during WW2.Eire wisely opted to remain neutral and was the only member of the British Commonwealth to do so.Nevertheless this was seen as treacherous by many in Britian and unfounded stories abound to this day of German U-Boats sheltering in neutral Eire waters.

    What however is often forgotten is that over 100,000 men and women from Eire volunteered to either serve in the British Armed Forces or work in British munitions factories.And when Belfast was heavily bombed by the Germans neutral Eire sent fire fighters across the border into Ulster to help the overwhelmed Belfast Fire Service.Soon after the North Strand district of Dublin was 'accidentally' heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe even though it wasn,t blacked out like cities in Britain and Ulster.And many felt that was in fact a warning by the Germans to the Eire government to remain strictly neutral.

    Another thing was that the Eire government did pass on to the British Government any sightings of German U-boats.Plus dogfights between the RAF and the Luftwaffe regularly took place over Eire and rather than interning RAF airmen who bailed out the Eire Government ensured they were quickly spirited over the border into Ulster.

    Where Eire PM De Valera really did fuck up badly was when he offered condolences to the German Embassy in Dublin when Hitler committed suicide.No other neutral nation did that and De Valera was IMO rightly slated for doing that.

    Many Black Caribbeans of both sexes(but mainly men) also came to Britain to either work or fight for the 'Mother Country' during WW2 including memebers of my Dad's family -although he didn't himself..Generally they were treated well here but were sometimes caught up in the appalling racial violence and abuse that Black GIs often suffered at the hands of White GIs in this country.And which the British authorities sometimes colluded with.Most of these Black Caribbeans returned home in 1945 but later returned here as part of the 'Windrush generation'.However the welcome they received then was different from what they had usually experienced here during WW2.Doors that had been opened to them in Britain's darkest hour were now being slammed in their faces.And the rest of course is history.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Almost there, but for a buggered link at the end. I was going to put up a link to the Dead Media Project, but - rather ironically - you currently get this.

    ReplyDelete
  153. PeterJ - when my Granny died a couple of years ago, we found that she'd been carrying around all my grandfather's love letters to her from the war. Some bits of them were censored, such as his location at the time.

    Him being an engineer, they'd usually start off with the state of the ship's engines but then go into transports of tenderness (and pure filth!) that we'd never suspected him capable of.

    ReplyDelete
  154. Tear-jerking stuff about WWI and WWII. It seems that every soldier was a hero if he had a family member here. Such nostalgia! What about shoot-to-kill in NI in the 70's and what the British army is currently doing in Iraq and Afghanistan? Willl their atrocities be airbrushed into heroism further down the time-line? How long will it take? Will they all be heroes after 30, 40, 50 years? Are there any 'just wars' any more? 'Good people doing bad things' - it seems to me that this very old-fashioned justification can just as well be used today about our current/more recent wars (from Angola in the 60's to Nicaragua in the 80's, and everything else as well) except the left-wing are fairly selective about it. Just like the right wing. Is this relativism or absolutism? Or is it just bullshit? What would Zizek say?

    ReplyDelete
  155. @Paul

    The story of Britain and Ireland in WW1 and WW2 is fascinating. The first war came at a very convenient time for the British government, which had faced down a military mutiny by senior officers in Ulster over home rule in early 1914. The 18,000 or so trained members of the UVF, who were threatening civil war, were co-opted into the Briitsh army as the Ulster Division, and there are still stories there that the Division was deliberately ordered into sacrificial operations.

    ReplyDelete
  156. Eire didn't actually become the Irish Republic until 1949 when it left the British Commonwealth..

    ReplyDelete
  157. Just to be completely cynical. In light of this thread. I wonder how long it will be before some obscure Oxbridge type wanker (conveniently related to Julian Glover or Matthew "I went to Yale downtcha know" Parrish) posts an essay on their family 'struggle' to pay the school fees and had to survive eating offal sandwiches, after Great Grandaddy Officer such-and-such was heroically mown down in WW1/2?

    (Thauma - keep your ID secret and that's an order!!!!)

    MonkeyFish

    I think I might need to borrow the helicopter gunship? Any chance of a loan?

    ReplyDelete
  158. anon

    My grandad was in WW2...he wasn't that struck on it to be honest...spent most of his time selling cigarettes and fishing he reckoned...said it was pretty boring most of the time. I asked him if he killed anyone once and he said he didn't know..he said he'd shot at people, then ducked quick and didn't stick around if he could help it..which seems sensible.

    Mainly he reckoned it was a fuckin shambles then now and again you'd get someone in charge who either had organisational skills or gave a fuck..then it sorta made sense for a bit until they got moved somewhere else..he said he only found out about the war when he got home later and found out what had happened...then many years later from watching films...he always thought he'd had a hard time until he saw Bridge on the River Kwai...dunno..is that heroic?..he was a bit of a dick as it goes.

    I'm sure Zizek would.

    ReplyDelete
  159. Paul

    "And the rest of course is history"

    No it isn't. That's the bit where you need to talk because most people only have the false narrative....

    ReplyDelete
  160. La Rit

    Get a grip Monkeyship has the aircraft carrier and Atomboy has had to get rid of the Helicopter gunship (Bloody moany neighbours!)

    ReplyDelete
  161. anon

    What the fuck are you blathering on about? We were just remembering relatives who were involved in WWs 1 and 2. We're allowed to do that aren't we, given that there'll be barely a family in the country that wasn't involved?

    Where do you see mention of heroes? Or anything that would remotely justify atrocities wherever they take place? And I think we're all perfectly well aware of what happened in NI and what's currently going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    ReplyDelete
  162. Tascia

    Re: The Welsh National Anthem being murdered by Miss Jenkins. When I graduated from the (pre-Royal) Welsh College of Mucus and Trauma, in the days before the Cardiff Arms Park was demolished and still in use, the Welsh National Anthem was sung, of course, me not being able to speak Welsh, I didn't sing along because I couldn't speak Welsh, but I love it as much as I hate God Save the Queen arrrrrrggghhhhhh I hate that tune, I hate the words, I hate everything about it.

    To make you laugh....

    Two fakes together

    Thank god there's no music - the smug self-satisfaction speaks volumes. A very telling image.

    ReplyDelete
  163. Sword of Honour is on TV at the mo MF - which describes the 'fuckin' shambles' aspects rather well.

    ReplyDelete
  164. MonkeyFish

    Can I borrow your obliteration WMD? even if it's not a helicopter gunship and only an air pistol?

    I think David Cameron is in need of a wake up call heheheheh.....

    ReplyDelete
  165. When I was living in Wales, I'd never stand for God Save the Aristos. But for Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, well, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  166. @Peter J

    The story of Britain and Ireland in WW1 and WW2 is fascinating.

    Agreed.The Britsh had to contend with the 1916 Dublin Uprising as well as the battles of the WW1 itself.Germany also tried to aid the Nationalists as well adding a further dimension of intrigue.Conscription was never introduced in Ireland during WW1 or in Ulster during WW2 .

    During 'The Emergency' of WW2 a popular saying in Eire was 'who are we neutral against'.Certainly in the early years there was a fear that Britain would invade Eire to get their hands on the 'Treaty Ports' which if memory serves me correctly they had relinquished rights to in 1937.

    Obviously there's so much to talk about from that period and i'm a bit swamped at the moment.But like anything else it's interesting to delve beneath the 'facts' as we are taught them and find out what really happened.

    ReplyDelete
  167. La Ritournelle... When I was a kid, I used to buy a peach and some cockles from the open market and go and sit in the stand at Arms Park. No match, just a great big empty stadium.

    ReplyDelete
  168. Sheff, PeterJ, Thauma and all, it's great to hear stories about your relatives, too much is owed to them.

    My great grandad, Jamal ud Din was a sepoy in France in World War One - I had the honour of shouldering his Lee Enfield when I was eight. Don't know much more about him, no records to be found.

    Unfortunately, on my dad's side, his uncle, Mohammad Choudry was, apparantly, an ADC to Chandra Bose and spent a lot of ww2 in Japan.

    ReplyDelete
  169. - K -

    Am signing off and out with this one....

    Teddy Wilson and his Orchestra with Billie Holiday

    Night all.... am shattered.... x

    ReplyDelete
  170. My granddad was in WW2, though there is some dispute as to which side he was on.

    ReplyDelete
  171. I had a great uncle who was killed at Ypres.

    My father was a flyer in WW2 and was shot down and killed late 1944. I have nothing of him at all - my Ma won't talk about it.


    I'm sorry for your losses, sheffpixie, but you didn't even know those people or what they actually did. Perhaps your father was one of those heroes who firebombed Hamburg in 1943. Who knows?

    btw, I would recommend reading the Sword of Honour trilogy, if you haven't already done so. I thought the TV version was pretty good, though. Daniel Craig was excellent, but a bit too handsome for the book's real Guy Crouchback.

    ReplyDelete
  172. @habib

    There were huge numbers of Indian Army soldiers in France early on in the war, until the Kitchener new armies started taking over and they were moved back to the Middle East. There are several monuments to them round here, including a ceremonial gate at Brighton Pavilion, which was a hospital for wounded Indian troops.

    ReplyDelete
  173. La Rit, that is my kind of music.

    Here's a bit more, it's only a matter of time before this happens, when the "housing trusts" that have been voted for, across this land call in the markers given to them.

    ReplyDelete
  174. Hey Sheff, if you're interested in paying homage to your grandfather, bru was talking the other day about visiting the Ypres Memorial one November.

    "It's serious business there" apparently.

    anon's made an interesting point. How do you mourn your dead and respect the sacrifice they've made without tacitly endorsing war, Western imperialism and all that shit?

    FWIW, one of my grandads had a very good war, sitting in the Admiralty, enjoying all that upper-middle-class society and family offered while keeping a young mistress on hand. The other grandad was in a reserved occupation, working in the docks. No guts, no glory, and no chance of seeing anything other than the London squalor that others were enjoined to protect as our glorious way of life. He retired with bad lungs at 58 and spent 7 years in his armchair before dying at 65 just as his state pension kicked in.

    ReplyDelete
  175. Sorry, sheff - your great uncle, not your grandad.

    ReplyDelete
  176. PeterJ, I've seen that memorial in Brighton, really moved me. Here's to all of the young men robbed of their lives, because the leaders couldn't work things out. Just like now.

    ReplyDelete
  177. @tascia:

    Thanks for the link to Suo Gan. When my son was a baby, I had a cd of lullabies called "World Music for Little Ears". That was one of my favourites. Can't remember the name of the person who sang it on that cd. My other faves were a Brazilian one called Pro Nene Nanar and an African one called Sigalagala or something like that.

    @LaRit:

    I grew up in one of those families that tried to pretend everyone was happy and lovey, even when no one else was around. I think the families where the fighting and resentments get worked out are probably healthier.

    ReplyDelete
  178. Oh, and my great-uncle Ron was a Seabee (Naval engineers) in the Pacific theatre. Ruined his life and I don't think he ever felt like a hero.

    ReplyDelete
  179. MartyniE

    "When I was a kid, I used to buy a peach and some cockles from the open market and go and sit in the stand at Arms Park. No match, just a great big empty stadium"

    Well you're a man after my own heart - re: cockles. I love them, but need plenty of white pepper and vinegar. (Not sure they'd go down too well with a peach tho'!) But I have a nice image of you sitting on your tod in Caadiff Aaahm's Paahk in the miserable wet and cold (it is Wales after all - poetic license!) with a wooden fork. ;-)

    Aren't Cockles bebercheros in Spain?

    ReplyDelete
  180. Where's the Hankster when you need him too.... eh?

    Earth calling Hank, come in Hank!

    ReplyDelete
  181. LaRit - I am here. Pretty sure I am anyway. Fuck, I've come over all existentialist. Am I really here if I post things which can't be seen by other posters?

    ReplyDelete
  182. Montana:

    Without risking sounding repetitive (I'm on about my Mum alot because, I spoke to her this morning and she's been a little bit stressed these past few days) There's a good deal of truth in what you say. When I used to relay to her that my friends at school told me their parents never argued, she always said that if they aren't fighting, there's something very wrong. I think it's probably far more damaging to live in an atmosphere of repressed anger in many ways.... ;(

    ReplyDelete
  183. De naa, Montana. Cuddles should always come before threads...

    "Aren't Cockles bebercheros in Spain?"

    Berberechos, laRit. Have you lived here?

    ReplyDelete
  184. Hank:

    hehehe! I got stuck laughing myself silly over something I said to my sister... missed your posts.

    I think I must be telepathic, because I was thinking of you earlier and there you are!

    Hope you liked the music choices?

    one for you....

    this is how my future looks - 12 cats and millions of records

    (Thanks to Mr LaRit.... please, someone, stop him buying records)

    ReplyDelete
  185. "Am I really here if I post things which can't be seen by other posters?"

    Good question Hank.

    Here's some hippy crap for you

    ReplyDelete
  186. Habib:

    Not so shattered now obviously.... woke up again, laughing! Glad you liked the choices.....

    ReplyDelete
  187. Hey Mr Scorpio et al

    A golden oldie from STEVIE for you et al to enjoy.And if you et al don't enjoy it you're lacking in the good taste department:-)

    ReplyDelete
  188. Hank

    anon's made an interesting point. How do you mourn your dead and respect the sacrifice they've made without tacitly endorsing war, Western imperialism and all that shit?

    I don't mourn them exactly but being brought up by people who were mourning them and a lot of other stuff too has a powerful effect. I expect it was similar for all my generation. We grew up in the shadow the war left, and around people, some of whom took a long time to recover and there were lots of secrets. It has nothing to do with 'endorsing' war, western imperialism or any of 'that shit'.

    anon

    You might be interested in reading this from todays groan:

    to hell with him

    As it happens I have read Sword of Honour - several times.

    ReplyDelete
  189. Martillo:

    "Berberechos, laRit. Have you lived here?"

    God I wish.

    Never had the chance to escape the septic (copyright from someone else from somewhere) Isle for longer than 3 weeks.

    Not a poncy Nigella thing either, just never was much taken with piss poor touristy places to eat out once I got to Spain. (I haven't been since 2003 sadly - no money to go)

    Last time we went though, on the way up to Cadaques, we ended up in a place called St. Feliu de Guixols (?) It was dead as a dodo, but there was this place to eat and have a beer which was like a cross between a 19thc 1960's railway cafe (complete with very high ceiling and echos - Lime Street in the 70's) a telly on and loads of old pensioners eating in there. That's when we dicovered bebercheros (cockles!) We also had a plate of some tiny things, which I now believe were deep fried elvers (and apparently all the toffs here decided they were the dish du jour a few years back, because they were almost extinct and so because they were almost extinct, in posh eateries in London, considered a 'must have' thing to eat - fucking despicable really)

    ReplyDelete
  190. Good Morning

    LaRit

    If elvers are the food of the rich there will no more jellied eels for the poor.

    ReplyDelete
  191. Tell a lie about my lack of money to go on holiday.... last one was Ghana 2005 for 2 weeks.... long story why/how I went... bloody wonderful and painful at the same time - after the flight, I was pretty much horrified that everything cost so little and my fear of running out of money was unfounded, when you could eat heartily in the market in Accra or on the roadside for 30p. If you get hungry, no bag of crisps, but a lovely boiled egg or a sweet dumpling/donut for about 3p. hmmmmm....

    ReplyDelete
  192. Thanks for the choons, guys. Liked the Spanish girl more than the hippy shit, martillo!

    And the Stevie Wonder track brought back some memories, Paul. Chief amongst which was why I bought Musiquarium on vinyl and regretted it after I'd played it through. Stevie was better when he was Little Stevie!

    @sheff - so you'll not be joining Bru on her trip to Ypres then?(-;

    ReplyDelete
  193. Morning to you Leni!

    "If elvers are the food of the rich there will no more jellied eels for the poor"

    You're damn right there. I love eels - but not the jellied ones, smoked or Japanese-style barbecued and sweet. I also love Coley, which the rich fuckers seem to have an aversion to thank god (are some foods just too chavvy, I wonder?)

    Did you see the story (I'm sure it must have been a sick joke) about someone trying to open a restaurent in Germany where people donated body parts to be eaten? I'm no sure if it was a spoof...... it was in that bastion of good reporting, Metro

    ReplyDelete