23 January 2011


Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.
-George Jean Nathan


  1. I have a vague feeling that I may have used this photo a long time ago, but who can ever get tired of the sight of lush, green terraced rice paddies?

  2. morning all

    i now have a "fully"" functioning electrical system....thanks to BIL... whole bloody thing fused due to cold and damp....

    right moan of the day.....why oh why do the graun when they report on italy (rather berlusconi because they only ever report on him nothing else really) trawl up some male porn star to speak on behalf of ALL italians
    "The truth is," said Rocco Siffredi, "that Italians are proud of someone like Berlusconi who is 74, loves sex and has a good sex life – and I don't just mean working-class Italians."

    what TF? I have yet to meet working class or any other bleedin class of italians that are proud of berlusconi....mind you I don't move in porn circles......like our rocco here

    graun is yet again stereotyping italians as stupid sex crazed idiots....why? knowing that the article will get clicks with such as sensationalist headline and 2 that they really thing italians are all idiots.....

  3. Morning Montana, love the quote!

    jen - glad you came back last night!

    And btw - never wrong to like something! WE all have different tastes thank god!

    back in the 60's I went to see the sound of music precisely because a lot people I mixed with thought it wasn't cool!

    The point was - you should follow your own tastes and 'do your own thing/ which was what the 60's was supposed to be all about but mostly wasn't.

    Anyway good to see you posting :)

  4. gandolfo,

    indeed, was there not a promise on CiF a couple of months back that European coverage would be widened and more comprehensive?

    As far as Italian coverage is concerned the graun has gone overboard on the Amanda Knox case- weird shagging and Berlusconi- skin crawling shagging.

    The Berlusconi affair deserves much better coverage, it's the first true example of a Western nation in the throes of true post-politics.

    And as far as Rocco rock on's thesis goes (and my methodological research may be a bit faulty here) I wasn't aware that it was just the Italian working classes that enjoy shagging.

    Is Rocco's new dvd available through the Guardian store via a link at the bottom of his article?

  5. Wybourne

    ...European coverage would be widened and more comprehensive?

    Perhaps, but obviously within the limits and constraints of CiF's ideological and commercial straitjacket.

    So, as you say, just more shagging stories mixed with finger-wagging and pointing at Johnny Foreigners across the water. [Shouldn't that be "Our esteemed cuntinental cousins"? - Ed]

    ...it's the first true example of a Western nation in the throes of true post-politics.

    Yes, in real life terms, that is probably quite true, but you have to remember that CiF has occupied a magical sphere just beyond any realms of generally accepted reality for quite some time.

    To them, Berlusconi is probably the epitome of hard-nosed, grounded and pragmatic politics - take the money and run, with your trousers round your ankles.

    ...I wasn't aware that it was just the Italian working classes that enjoy shagging.

    No, the working classes - or any other class, actually, will at least pretend to enjoy shagging someone with money and power, as long as they think some of that glamour and cash will rub off on them in the process.

    Politics and paedophilia, showbusiness and criminality, eh.

    Who would have thought they would make such happy bedfellows?

    And such addictive copy, ripe for plucking?

  6. Morning!

    Just finished watching 'the Killing' from last night on Beeb 4. It is a Danish detective series running over 20 50 min episodes. Fantastic stuff, similar but different (if you see what I mean) to the Wallander offering (Swedish version I should add).

    Been lurking in the forums and enjoyed the debates, good comments from all esp Atoms, who hits the hail on the head as usual.

    Well must be off.


  7. duke ab

    the fact that the graun has 2 fixed journos in rome makes their coverage even more appalling....

    as you say duke the graun would be wise to look at what is happening in italy in a far more analytical way rather than going along with scandal related stuff... to look at the "real issues" and how and why italy has arrived at the point it is today where political populism reigns alongside anti politics.......

  8. IanG - Many thanks, if quite undeserved.

    Strangely, someone has just sent me this transcript of a conversation overheard recently in a glittering London establishment.

    Natalie Handbag Shall we run something on Berlusconi again? People never get tired of shagging stories, do they? Obviously, we would need to find some kind of news hook, though. You're good at that, aren't you? Remember that homelessness thread?

    JezzaBella How about politics as seen through the eyes of, - oh, I don't know, something edgy - a media personality?

    Natalie Handbag Well, maybe, but we need to crank this one up a bit. Otherwise people will notice that we just keep shoving out the same old claptrap every week.

    JezzaBella We do have a couple of pet porno stars. That should give a little shiver of excitement and bring out the scum to generate hits. We have a French or German gay one called Thierry Shlachthaus or something and a new Italian one called Rocky Suprimi or...whatever.

    Natalie Handbag Couldn't we use whatshername? You know, Lolz Penz? Didn't she make a couple of blueies?

    JezzaBella She did some tasteful posing for a discerning middle-class, intelligent clientele - once, for about two minutes. Anyway, she's gay...maybe a lesbian angle, though?

    Natalie Handbag She's not gay. She just thinks it will help her career. [Snigger] Anyway, women in porn are always victims and the men are...er...media celebrities, political analysts?

    JezzaBella We have a resident political analyst. Should we ask her?

    Natalie Handbag What, that dunce woman? She's even thicker than you..yoo.yoooooo...Yuri Anropovaloff...ski...thingy.

    JezzaBella Shall we just go for the new Italian stallion chap, then?

    Natalie Handbag Yeah. I wouldn't mind a couple of Latin lessons from him myself.

    JezzaBella I thought you were gay!

    Natalie Handbag Am I? Who knows? Maybe I was last week. Not properly gay, anyway.

    JezzaBella No, but then, we're not proper journalists, either, are we?

    Both together No!!! [Shrieks of laughter]

  9. Jen (from last night):

    Can we have some Country, Thauma has gone to bed so it should be ok.

    Made me LOL. Needless to say, I have not clicked on any of the links out of pure, visceral fear.

  10. Just clocked this on Waddya between JoeMcCann and DavidCruise.
    Can't see them staying up, so parking 'em here.
    I went on Twitter earlier. First time in months - because I don't like it and it gets me into trouble. It's horrible.

    Anyway I go on to look at something unmentionably horrible, that I heard was there,

    And this popped up:

    bellamack Dinner party over. So tired from exertion. about 2 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone

    I can remember a time, a few months back, where Bella, vociferously and emphatically denied ever either hosting or attending dinner parties.

    Now she's hosting them. She's throwing soirées and boasting about it on twitter.

    @ JoeMcCann

    bellamack Dinner party over. So tired from exertion. about 2 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone

    That in one short sentence encapsulates so,so much that is deeply wrong with the Guardian.
    -The dinner party set.Chatterati are go!
    -The bizarre (and funny were it not so deluded) belief that such = 'exertion'. It's not lugging bricks, or back-breaking early-shift cleaning is it.
    -The new media/social media twitter obsession. Twitter is a niche, beloved of the smug inward-looking media types, largely ignored by the masses (and shunned by young people,interestingly).
    -The Apple/iPhone idolatry. It's a fecking huge multimnayional corporation out to take everyone's money. The paper wouldn't fawn over BP, so why Apple? Because they've fallen for the schtick that by using over-priced, Chinese-made commodities, they are somehow different, and better than the plebs.
    -Best not mention nepotism,eh?

  11. AB

    LOL in fact that scenario went through my mind the "obvious hook" to make it newsworthy a porn star's opinion......
    still jeeza never got back to me on the u-turn on the homeless panel....strange that...

  12. Hey Atoms I split my sides reading that fly-on-the-wall piece. It deserves a wider audience. I could dump it in Wdywtta for a laugh.

    As a bit of mischief making what say you (as I still have posting rights at the Graun) doing a cut-n-paste with a suitable intro and see how long:

    A) it lasts and

    b) I get modded/pre-mod/banned (or all 3)?

    We can see if they have a sense of humour.


  13. To be pedantic, though, Rocco Siffredi's hardly "new", he's been at it since the 80s.

  14. .
    Dinner party over. So tired from exertion.

    Titter ye not! Have some sympathy - apparently Bella made pasta and bought some dessert from a shop. That can't have been easy.

    It reminds me of the scene from Zoolander where Derek gives up modelling and goes back to Pennsylvania to work down the mines with his father and brothers. After a day of 'hard graft' he coughs feebly into his cocktail and tells his family that he thinks he's getting the black lung.

    check out his cell phone at end of clip!

  15. badP - "feebly" don't quite describe the cough action!

    Great clip though.

  16. IanG

    Feel free to do whatever you want with it.

    Unfortunately, I do not really have time to add to it or knock it into better shape at the moment, but please do whatever you think best.


    Yes, I meant new to the old porn-star-as-political-analyst-er-cum-media-darling game.

  17. old porn-star-as-political-analyst-er-cum-media-darling

    'Ilona Staller (complete name Anna Elena Staller, 26 November 1951), also known by her stage name la Cicciolina, is a Hungarian-born Italian porn star, politician, and singer. She continued to make hard core pornographic films while in office. She is famous for delivering political speeches with one breast exposed.'

    Gotta love Italy, gandolfo - an equal-opportunity non-sexist employer of ex-porn stars.

  18. I guess if the groan is looking for a pundit from Italy to opine on that old scroat Berlo and its a choice between a porn star or, Umberto Ecco say...the porn star'll win hands down. Probably more in line with Bella and La Penny's choice of dinner guest too.

  19. Sheff

    You can't ask Umberto Eco - you might be overtaken by facts and a considered opinion.

    That would upset a lot of Ciffers.

  20. From Cif - 'I went to a dinner party just before Christmas (there were 50 of us)'

    Guess who?

  21. Interesting piece from Neville Alexander

    Robin Hood, Robben Island and The Post Apartheid State by Neville Alexander

    I think most of the questions asked at the end of this piece relate more widely than sth Africa and could be asked in the UK too

  22. There are some real shits posting on Cif - the AC Leukaemis thread is attracting them like flies.

  23. Nice to see that there seems to be a widespread groundswell of anti-Neo-Nasty sentiment and action, just months into the ConDem regime.

    Tory scum - here we come!


    FRIDAY, 21 JANUARY 2011

    Benefit Claimants Fight Back

    Latest News - National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts

    Cities and towns across the UK are mobilising for the second National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts on 24th January 2011. Atos Origin, who carry out medical testing on behalf of the DWP and are likely to be involved in testing DLA claimants in future, have been named one of the main targets. Workfare sharks A4e are also set to be visited in Newcastle and Leeds.

    A wide coalition of local and national groups, as well as autonomous benefit claimants, are holding events and protests around the country. For those unable to attend protests in person the Second National Troll A Tory Day has been called:


    In London a Party and Picnic at Triton Square NW1, home to Atos Origin's UK headquarters, will begin at 2pm prompt.

    Atos' Scotland offices in Livingston also will be visited from 10am, whilst claimants in Leeds will be gathering outside Atos at 10 and then heading to A4e at lunchtime.

    Tyneside Claimants Union will be at A4e Newcastle from 11am and call on people to join them. In Birmingham students will be holding an event to warn that the upcoming benefit cuts will harm the ability of Disabled Students to continue with their education.

    Atos are also set to be visited in Glasgow and events are also planned in Lydney, Burnley, Brighton, Hastings, Crawley, Chesterfield and Oxford.

    For full details of all events please visit: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/

  24. "Gotta love Italy, gandolfo - an equal-opportunity non-sexist employer of ex-porn stars."

    yeah seems that it should be with that track record.........but nothing could be further from the truth.....

  25. "You can't ask Umberto Eco - you might be overtaken by facts and a considered opinion."


    have just bought Foucault's (sp?) Pendulum, as many people kept telling me i'd like it. now have lovely big shelf full of books to read...

  26. Philippa

    Pendulum is a very good read. Knocks D Browne completely out of the arena.

    As with most Eco stuff there is a lot of fantasy in it too. He is one of my favourite authors.

    I have a collection (in translation) of some of his articles for Italian paper - also well woth a read.

  27. I saw that Leni - a little basic humanity and sensitivity seems to be beyond some people.

  28. Leni - If you like Eco - try his Misreadings - its a very funny collection of parodies. Translated by William Weaver. Also Travels in Hyper Reality is worth a read too.

  29. Philippa - Foucault's Pendulum is brilliant. It will make your mind warp.

  30. @Leni said There are some real shits posting on Cif - the AC Leukaemis thread is attracting them like flies.

    This is one reason why I hardly bother with CiF anymore Leni. Over on the Telegraph there are some red-neck comments but you get the feeling they are simply mis-informed and could be re-educated, the vile comments on CiF are
    simply trolls who wish to wind people up.

    @Atoms, thanks, I will see if there is a good place to post.

  31. Isn't this just taking the piss?
    From the Jerusalem Post:

    "Defence Minister Ehud Barak welcomed the conclusions of the report in the May 31 IDF interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla, published Sunday by the Turkel Committee."

    Barak said that 'the report proves that Israel is a law-abiding country that knows how to examine itself and respects the norms and rules of the international system.'

    Hmm, did that in Dubai, didn't you?

  32. I fucking hate tories, Republicans, Kadima and Lekud.

    So self serving.

  33. habib

    the tragedy is that Livni and co are seen as the great hope for Israel and peace.

    the Terkel report is another Chilcot. Internal, self protective, useless and upholding lies.

  34. What's bloody infuriating is the Guardian homepage's summary of the news.

    Israeli raid on Gaza flotilla 'was legal'

    Soldiers opened fired in self-defence during interception of aid ships in which nine activists were killed, inquiry concludes

    Anyone who doesn't know has to click and read the article to find out the "inquiry" was a tame one organised by the Israeli government.

  35. I see that charles is on top form on waddya -

    the fact that 95% of people who murder (or even just associate with) people like mentally ill drug addled prostitutes etc (ie the underclass), tend to belong to the underclass themselves

    a member of the middle class committing murder is a pretty rare event.

    GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: being a Narodnik can seriously damage your health. Stay away from the peasants!

  36. badpenny

    Exactly - Nap posts without engaging brain at times and makes some spurious claims as a result.

  37. mschin bad penny

    napk is a parody...I reckon a professional troll, and not that good either........

  38. gandolfo

    Naw, he's just immature and a bit judegemental from time to time.

  39. judegemental?

    My spelling is getting more dire by the day.

  40. "judegemental" sounds a bit Nazi, actually. :-(

  41. Spike

    Oh shit, that's even worse :(
    Should I delete my post?

  42. @mschin

    Heheh! I don't think anyone's going to mistake you for Heydrich or Eichmann...

  43. Evening all

    Just having a little lie down and a browse of CiF after too much partying and then having to do loads of work today with a hangover.

    Death is looking like an acceptable alternative right now...

    Not sure my stomach can take much of CiF today so I might give it a miss. I am pretty sure the world won't end overnight if I do.

    Hope everyone is well. Have to go and prep for tomorrow now.

    Groan. x

  44. In fact, looking at it more positively, Judegemental could just be a German Jewish cheese.

  45. Hello BB. And save your stomach & your sanity - don't bother with CiF tonight.

  46. Spike

    Thanks fo rthose kind words and yep! Cheese it is.

    Right, taxi duty so back later.

  47. My sympathies, BB! I'm only now recovering properly after eight weeks of feeling totally crap. I've added pancreatitis to those things I definitely don't want to get again. I've never been ill for so long.

  48. God, Spike! I hope you are ok, mister. Sending hugs and good vibes your way. x

    Hi MsChin - I managed to get out of taxi duty today, but only cos I had to go and see my Dad instead.

    Will check out Waddya and that's it.

  49. just reading the palestinian Papers articles.

    i am saddened, sickened and so downright furious, so full of contempt for all involved that i can't comment.

    Sick, sick betrayal of his own people by Abbas and his supporters.

    didn't expect anything much better from Israeli politicians or US - but the betrayal. I'm weeping.

  50. Oh, Leni - a truly dreadful state of affairs.

  51. @Spike, that sounds awful, hope you on the mend.

    The Israeli report, well par for the course.

    @BB what have you been up to?! And 'Groan' is what we read ;-)

    'Waddya' - that is what I meant earlier, unsure of the spelling.

    @MsChin, Taxi duty? Does that mean driving for family or real taxi stuff? If the former I am on duty 2 times tomorrow to take my DD to theatre and back. Clashes mightily with the TV shows I like on Mondays...grrrrr.

    Ireland on the brink? Interesting times esp if they default on the austerity measures.

    Thats all.

    Night night.

  52. IanG

    Taxi duty = running someone round, usually one of the offspring. And yes, usually when I'd prefer to be doing something else.


    Didn't realise you'd been that poorly - thought you'd just had the flu like the rest of us. Hope things are better now.

  53. Hi Spike

    I missed your post - was floored by reports from Palestine.

    are you fully recovered now ? The flu is bad enogh but pancreatits is a horrible thing .

  54. The Turkel commission, which also concluded, amongst other things, that the IDF acted in self defence and that "Israel's three-and-a-half year blockade of the Gaza Strip does not break international law" is a horrible joke....Chilcot in trumps. Did any of us really expect anything else?

  55. Nope, Sheff, sadly we did not.

  56. Leni

    Can't face the Palestine papers tonight am having enough trouble with the Turkel Commission report. I'll gird my loins and have a look tomorrow.

  57. And remind me again when Resolution 242 was passed.

  58. Thanks for all your kind thoughts. Feeling much better today. I hope I'll be in good shape to see you all on the 26th March.

    * * *

    I never had any great expectations of Abbas and co. Now the full measure of their perfidy is coming out, I just hope it doesn't lead to too much bloodshed in Palestine.

  59. You're joining us for the march in March then, Spike? Good!

    medve & sheff

    Grim news all round.

  60. Off to bed, now so NN from me.

  61. Texasred and JamesStGeorge have now arrived on the Palestine thread (Nabulski) and are peddling their hatred there.

    Who or what is winding them up and how do we get hold of the key ?

  62. TexasRed hates the Palestinians while StGeorge wants to destry Israel - cos it's full of immigrants.

    These people are dangerously flaky.

  63. No - I got that wrong - it seems that texas also wants the destruction of Israel.

    Anyway whatever - they are both nasty, vicious bigots

  64. Probs best ignore them Leni

    I've only got one thing to say on the I/P issue: Nothing will happen at all until the Arab countries get their heads out of the sand and recognise the right of Israel to exist and engage in diplomatic reactions.

    They're still complaining about the loss of land (ie beyond the UN partition plan of 1947) since Israel's founding in 1948. But within hours of Israel's declaration of independence- in the land mandated to them by the UN, the combined arab forces conspired to invade. They lost. Israel got the land. 1967, the arabs planned to attack, they lost, Israel got more land.

    Now if, decades ago, the Arab countries had agreed to diplomatic relations with Israel and made peace overtures instead of printing antisemitic cartoons in newspapers then a Palestinian state would exist today.

  65. forgot.....
    Because if there is no diplomatic process, then there cannot be effective negotiations for things like returning of land after a war and issue like reparations.

    Egypt lost the Sinai in 1967 and tried and failed to take it back militarily in 73. They failed, they entered into peace negotiations including accepting the sovereign right of Israel to exist. They got the Sinai back.

  66. Naps

    The history of this conflict is littered with lies, betrayal and rotten politicians.

    the Arab Peace Plan "002 recognised Israel and offered normal diplomatic relations. Israel rejected - or rather - ignored it.

    the point now is that I is backed by Eu and Us money , is massively superior in armaments and is suppressing and repressing the Palestinians.

    My view is that 2 seperate states should exist side by side and that all international efforts should be towards this end.

    The betrayal of the Palestinian people by Abbas and co is hardly surprising. There is a possibility of horrendous violence now that this truth is being revealed.

    It is unlikely that other Arab countries will be willing to go along with Erekat's plan to hand over J'Salem.

    All these politicians have played very dangerous games - for decades the victims of these games have been the people of both Israel and Palestine.

    Throw the religious nutcases on both sides into the mix and we have an imminent explosion in the area.

  67. Yes, I agree with you about the victims Leni, but the point is that until every country recognises Israel as a state, there will be no permanent peace.


  68. Where has everybody gone?

    I'd put up a new post but I lost my admin privileges when I changed my e-mail after moving.

    Its been awfully quiet here have you all gone somewhere else?