See my 2018 mail below for a quick comment on the relationship between Brexit and British car manufacturing.  

And see news article today:

British car factories will be forced to close with the loss of thousands of jobs if the government does not renegotiate its Brexit deal immediately, car maker Stellantis warned today.  Stellantis owns the Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat brands.”

One didn’t need to be especially prescient to predict that ramming trade barriers into a finely-balanced web of JIT European manufacturing operations might not have been an inspired idea.

A mere absence of deluded fuck-wittery would have sufficed.

But then again, if you took away the deluded fuck-wittery, you wouldn’t have had Brexit in the first place – see below:

———- Forwarded message ———
From: [ ]
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2018 at 23:48
Subject: Q Letts politico article
To: [    ]

A posh bloke called Quentin, with a fondness for fuddy-duddy ties and possessing zero direct experience of business, assures us that all will be glorious. Tally ho!  Difficult to know which is the more dispiriting – the arrogance of this article, or the facile nature of it.  For instance, his ignorance of how the car industry works is staggering.  Britain’s strong car manufacturing base is partly owned by the Germans and Japanese. Cars are not neatly manufactured in one country and exported to another.  There is a finely-tuned JIT manufacturing logistics web wherein parts are started in EU territory A and finished or incorporated in eg Britain. Sir Q seemingly doesn’t get any of that. And he’s miles off target in his contention that eg German car manufacturers will wreck the EU for the sake of exports to Britain.  Dream on, you deluded twerp.  The EU27 exports 11% of its cars to Britain.  By stark contrast, Britain exports 54% of its cars to the EU.  Sure, the EU will be sorry to lose the UK market; but the UK market simply isn’t significant enough to be a game changer in the negotiations.  

Undaunted, our hero ploughs on – this is b/s on stilts:

No deal would, in fact, have tremendous advantages. It would allow Britain immediately to negotiate and sign trade deals beyond Europe. It would force May’s government to cut taxes to make us more competitive. It would result in a tremendous boost to national unity.”

Remember, this bloke is a comedy sketch writer for a comedy magazine; and, boy, does it show.  Sir Q is of the opinion that, but for the dastardly EU, British manufacturing would stride the earth like a colossus.   But the Germans have a massive car industry presence and in China, and have had this for many years. Being in the EU has been no impediment for them whatsoever.  There are three rule makers in global commerce: the US, the EU and China.  Every other country is a rule taker.  A certain type of posh-git Englishman, drunk on past glories, simply hasn’t realised this painful truth yet.  It’s the old truism about the EU being made up of small countries and countries that haven’t realised that.  In fairness to Quentin, he doubtless does sincerely believe that fighting to get out of the world’s largest trading union is a smart move.  Not even Rees Mogg believes that.  Tellingly, despite his Brextremist rhetoric, Mr Rees Mogg is so convinced of the many benefits of Brexit that he’s already re-domiciled his investment companies to another EU jurisdiction, namely Ireland.  

Sent from a BlackBerry — the most secure mobile device

The New Death Culture

Of course, it doesn’t matter how friendly the young Plan 75 staff might be (Hayakawa wisely neglects to show us any of higher-level government functions), or how personalized the onboarding process is to each volunteer (so long as it doesn’t take too long). The minute Plan 75 was signed into law, it put an unbearable onus of expectation on every Japanese citizen of a certain age.

Now it’s as if, with each breath, they have to justify their continued existence to everyone they meet.” 

Review of new movie about euthanasia here.

The rituals associated with a rural Irish death bear witness to a strong culture of life. Typically, the terminally ill person is cared for round the clock by devoted, albeit bleary/teary-eyed relatives, and the open-coffin wake goes on for a couple of nights, and the occasion is oddly jolly. This necessary ritual is of course communal solidarity in action, but it also speaks volumes for the esteem in which a society holds its elderly, and, by implication, the esteem in which a culture holds the entirety of a life-span, from squalling infanthood to palsied old age.   

That culture is under threat from urban mores. While they’re still in a minority, there is a still small – but growing – tendency towards private houses and funeral parlours. Who can be bothered, eh?

Straws in the wind.

The new post-Christian Western death culture follows a predictable trajectory. First, they introduce abortion on hard case grounds that are difficult to argue against without being seen as heartless. Then they escalate to an abortion free-for-all. Then they introduce euthanasia on hard-case grounds that, again, are challenging to counter without being viewed as unfeeling. Then they escalate to a euthanasia f(r)ee-for-all.

The initial abortion phase wears the clothing of health-care and of human rights. It plays out like this:

1 Abortion, but only up to 12 weeks and only on the strictest grounds thereafter, such as rape, health of the mother and fatal abnormalities.  Mandatory 3-day period of reflection before confirming decision.

2 As above, but up to 24 weeks on all and no grounds, i.e., for convenience / lifestyle reasons, and scrap the reflection period.

3 As above, but full-term abortions allowed.

4 As above, but infanticide up to one week allowed.


For instance, Ireland started on phase 1, and is now rapidly and inexorably moving into phase 2, with, obviously, no serious debate. 

Think they’d baulk at phase 4?

Ha ha, think again. 

Infanticide, child murder to me and you, has long been normalised among nice, well-educated people with fine minds. 

Consider the line taken by the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University in a 2012 article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

In that article, the learned authors argue strongly for “after-birth abortion”.  They point out that “the moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a foetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual”.  Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”.  They conceded (perhaps reluctantly) that “both a foetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons”, but their key point is that neither is yet a “person” since a “person” means an “individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.”

In that premise, they argue that it was “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”; and they therefore concluded that “after-birth abortion (i.e., killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.

And see, for instance, this article in the BMJ by Mark Brown from the University of Wisconsin:

We can, if we wish, represent to ourselves a future for a fetus, but this is not something the fetus can do. A self-represented future is a terrible thing to lose but this is not a misfortune which can befall a fetus. And a potential future is not a benefit to which the fetus has a right.”

Then, having established open season on the defenceless young, they will turn their ideological guns on the defenceless old, and the defenceless poor.  The euthanasia phase wears the clothing of wokery and of compassion, and, as with abortion, they soften you up with the hard cases sob stories first, before rapidly escalating:

1 Euthanasia, but only for people with a terminal illness and who are in unbearable physical agonies.

2 Rapidly escalating to cover minor ailments, e.g., feeling a bit depressed.

3 And then being made available to anyone who is poor.

See, from this 2020 article:

In six of the eight countries where EAS (i.e., euthanasia and assisted suicide), is currently legal, mental disorders are accepted as disorders for which EAS may be granted. In four of these countries, EAS in minors with mental disorders is also accepted … The decision to grant EAS based on a perception of the patient’s illness as being untreatable with no prospect of improvement, could, thus, in many cases fail to meet the due care criteria listed in EAS laws. People with personality disorders more often wish for death for extended periods of time than people without these disorders. However, there is ample empirical data to show that suicidal tendencies and behaviour can be treated and that they fluctuate rapidly over time.”

And, from this 2021 article in the Psychiatric Times:

In 2016, Canada passed Bill C-14, a law permitting medical euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, together known as Medical Aid In Dying (MAID).5 By November 2020, more than 13,000 individuals nearing the end of life had been voluntarily euthanized as a result of this bill.

To be eligible, a patient’s natural death must be predicted to be reasonably foreseeable. This uniquely Canadian term was not statutorily defined, but it was understood to be associated with the end of life—how close was undetermined. Because death from mental disorders was not considered to be strongly predictable, mental illnesses were not eligible conditions. This feature of the law essentially prevented the kind of psychiatric euthanasia practiced in the Benelux countries.

Then, in 2019, a Quebec Superior Court ruling challenged the constitutionality of the reasonably foreseeable restriction.  As a result, a new federal bill was introduced to extend euthanasia eligibility, without the previous restriction. This new initiative, Bill C-7, followed the Benelux model; it removed the prior exclusion of those who have with nonterminal chronic illnesses and permitted euthanasia for those whose psychological or physical suffering is deemed intolerable and untreatable.

This is a profound change in the trajectory of the euthanasia law, and the practice of psychiatry for Canada, which is now the largest nation that will soon allow MAID for psychiatric conditions. It has rocked the professional mental health community in Canada, which fought to forestall the inclusion of psychiatric disorders for euthanasia.

The latest law is disappointing but unsurprising considering the huge pushes for parity and non-discrimination at all costs. Unlike the in United States, health care in Canada is considered a charter (constitutional) right. Thus, once MAID (medical aid in dying) became a medical procedure, excluding patients with psychiatric illness from this right was nearly impossible.

Countries that have allowed MAID in a limited number of cases have quickly found themselves descending a slippery slope. Prominent critic Wesley J. Smith, JD, noted, “Once a society embraces doctor-prescribed death as an acceptable answer to human suffering or as some kind of fundamental liberty right, there are no brakes. We need only look at European countries that have gone down the Euthanasia Highway to see how society is impacted deleteriously by accepting killing as a suitable answer to the problem of human suffering.”

Indeed, Belgium and the Netherlands are now debating the extension of euthanasia beyond medical conditions to include those who feel they have a completed life or are tired of living.

There is even discussion of de-medicalizing euthanasia by providing lethal over-the-counter pills. Pegasos, a self-proclaimed “voluntary assisted dying association” based in Basel, Switzerland, currently provides euthanasia for nonmedical “suicide tourists.”

And, in a survey published this month, tucked away without fanfare, we find that a small but significant minority of polled Canadians – 27% – support the idea that mere poverty should be grounds for euthanasia.    

The Brazilian authorities of course have been murdering the poor and homeless for decades. Doubtless, the polled Canadians would not bracket themselves with such thugs. In fact though, there is no material ethical distinction between them.

Our culture is atomised, and it also elevates the economic person above all others.  Woe betide you if you are not economically productive.

Never has evil presented with a blander face. 

Ireland was Britain’s imperial laboratory

The plantation of Ulster was incomplete by design.

Divide and conquer.

We’re all mere pawns in a bigger game, folks; living out pre-determined mindsets.

Britain could (one imagines without too much difficulty) simply have ethnically cleansed the entirety of Ulster of its existing inhabitants and sent many more of my lot to Connacht.

Instead, Britain chose to allow a dispossessed and numerically significant minority remain in situ. We usually had been kicked off the better land, but we were still very much around.

This partial colonisation made British control very simple. The dispossessed now resented the newcomers, and focussed their ire on the newcomers, instead of on the string-pullers in Britain. And the newcomers naturally then depended on London to protect their interests from the recently-dispossessed.

That avoided the “Old English” problem, where previous English colonists further South started (over a few generations) to self-identify as Irish and to resent London.

But leaving a significant minority of prior natives in place meant that both communities have been at each other’s throats ever since.

That cynical original structuring shapes us still.

We were structured so that both our communities would be in perpetual conflict, and we’ve generally managed to inhabit our contexts and to fulfil our charters, largely without awareness.

From a British administrative POV, it has worked extremely well. As this fairly-recent conference noted:

“The importance of this event to the shared histories of Ireland, Britain and the British imperial world would be difficult to overstate. It copper-fastened the English and British conquest of Ireland, and dramatically transformed Ireland’s physical, demographic, socio-economic, political, military and cultural landscape. In effect, the plantation became England, Britain’s and the City of London’s first successful attempt at plantation and the latter’s vigorous attempts to protect this investment would have enormous implication for the collapse of the Tripartite Stuart monarchy in the 1640s. Furthermore, it provided a successful template for British conquest, plantation and imperialism in the Americas, the Caribbean and the Indian sub-continent. Finally, its historical, political, cultural, environmental and visual effects have impact on the two cities and islands until the present day.”

The Cramps

I’ve written before about ’70s/’80s punkabilly band The Cramps.

I always loved their sound, and their attitude.

I like them so much, and the post-war US cultural ideal that they represent, that I keep a Cramps sticker on my car:

But The Cramps would give a modern-day wokester Puritan cultural nightmares. Look at some of their song titles:

  • Bikini Girls with Machine Guns
  • Smell of Female
  • Like a Bad Girl Should
  • Hot Pearl Snatch
  • Bend Over, I’ll Drive
  • I Wanna Get In Your Pants
  • Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?

Can you just imagine how much metoo opprobrium would be directed at them? Cue a torrent of po-faced dumb clichés about “toxic masculinity”, “oppressive male gazes” etc.

Nor would our modern Puritans’ rage be helped by lead guitarist Poison Ivy’s tendency to wear little more than her underwear on stage.

The wokesters would be missing every point, of course.

Ivy did exactly what she wanted to do.

Ivy was a former dominatrix, and she was the driving force in the band. And the band’s lead singer, the late Lux Interior, was usually equally, if not more, disrobed.

Of course, Lux and Ivy were happily married for 37 years. Following his death in 2009, Ivy, heart-broken, sadly retired from music and withdrew from public life altogether.

The endearing, mad-cap Lux was one of the best front men of all time; and the cool-as-fuck Ivy (she does a great Elvis sneer), on her trademark connoisseur’s Gretsch 6120 hollow-body guitar (also beloved of 1950’s rockers such as Eddie Cochrane and Duane Eddy) served up some of the dirtiest sounding riffs in rock music (as you might expect from a woman who proudly drove a 1956 Dodge with the famous D500 engine) – check out the grit in this live version of “Hot Pearl Snatch” (Ivy’s the woman to the right (not with the punk haircut), playing the 6-string lead):

We have been accused of being sexist,” sighed Ivy, who co-wrote the songs with Interior. “They don’t comment on our music at all, or the fact that maybe what I play is unique and I’m not mimicking some male guitarist — that this is original. I co-write the very sexual ones. All I see is our songs have to do with, from the male point of view, being intrigued by the power and mystery of females.

I think it’s a great tradition in blues songs and I think we’re in a good tradition there, too. He is loving being overpowered by women and turned on. And a lot of people just confuse
being turned on with being sexist — like it’s not OK to be flat-out horny over someone else. That’s really pitiful, but that happens to be the way things are right now. It’s a fear of sex in general, sex and power

The Cramps understood rock n roll. Along with Motörhead, the Cramps in my view were one of the last bands to exemplify the true spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. As Lux once noted:

We’re sick and tired of rock ‘n’ roll getting such a good name and being so respectable … we like to keep it unhealthy … we’re a true rock ‘n’ roll band, which is more than just a musical group … we represent our fans”.

And that, in a nutshell, is why their fans still rate them.

From Drugs to God

I always liked the Birthday Party:

And so I bought Nick Cave’s debut solo album in Spring 1984, and, with all my few bits of vinyl, it’s still a treasured possession (Einstürzende Neubauten*‘s Blixa Bargeld (whom Cave met when living in a squat in Berlin) looking suitably wasted too):

[*Another fav band. My favourite Einstürzende Neubauten story was the time, presumably through promoter ignorance, they somehow ended up supporting the Irish rocking squares, U2. Predictably, given how conservative U2’s fan-base was, it didn’t go well:

They lasted just one night as tour support for U2 before being thrown off. The outraged and hostile audience threw bottles of urine. The band responded by throwing iron bars back at them.” See article.]

I remember carrying the album home from school on the bus. Outwardly, ostentatiously faux-casual, inwardly as pleased as Punch.  Signifiers made vinyl. 

Unlike what kids do today, I hadn’t merely bought something to listen to. 

The music you liked was a badge of tribal identity. 

Nowadays, as in the early 70s prior to punk, servile modern kids put pop stars on pedestals.

We didn’t.

Past a certain point, the cultural is political.  The bands I liked as a kid – for those of us misfit kids, they weren’t just bands or singers.  You recognised yourself in them.  They were of our misfit tribe, and were our representatives, our diplomats if you like, representing our cultural (and indeed political) interests.  You knew that, when they walked down a  street, they attracted the same incomprehension (and occasional hostility) as you did. 

Far from pedestalling, you’d in fact be highly critical of them, forever on the alert in case they might have “sold out” artistically. 

At the time, it would have been common enough for folks to say (of the bands and artists I liked) something like: “those guys look silly and their music sounds awful”.     

But I knew their surface whimsy was the flip side of a questioning attitude, and a spiritual striving.    

Decades later, I see “my” old bands and artists interviewed.  Typically, I am vindicated.  Many pop-stars, and especially in this century, are shallow fucking idiots. 

But “mine” had integrity. 

Nick Cave has an occasional newsletter, the “Red Hand Files”.  Sounds like a Tyrone GAA fanzine, but it’s just Nick musing on random existential queries from members of the public. 

Well written of course, but what really shines through is his wisdom and compassion.  In his most recent question, he responds to a questioner who considers that drink and drugs help you make good art.

Of course, Nick is a man who has lived life to excess.  And his response to that question doesn’t sit on any fences:   

What I myself did not understand at that time was that true suffering, or rather, meaningful suffering, only begins when we stop taking drugs. It is then that we are forced to live life on life’s terms, without the insulating effects of alcohol or drugs. We learn, in sobriety, our true and complex relationship to the world, and the profound nature of suffering. We also find, to our surprise, that happiness is possible as life broadens into something intricate and nuanced and interesting and strange, and potentially deeply creative. Life in sobriety becomes, as the greatly missed comic genius, Barry Humphries, once said, ‘funny’. The cossetted, flattened, self-obsessed life of the alcoholic or drug addict knows little of these things.”

There’s something of the life trajectory of St. Augustine here.  Recommended. 

Brexit was electorally inquorate

Democracies should not tolerate non-voters.

Spoil your vote, if you wish – but show up. As they do in Australia, anyone who fails to vote should be fined – ideally at source, in PAYE or benefits. 

Nor should democracies tolerate incomplete voting registers.

In Britain, Brexit continues to underwhelm.

As you’d expect. It never had enough support.

Here are the Brexit voting maths:

VOTED LEAVE: 17 million (c. 26%)

VOTED REMAIN: 16 million (c. 25%)

SAT ON SOFA SCRATCHING ARSE: 13 million (c. 20%)

NOT EVEN ON VOTING REGISTER: 18 million (c. 28%)

That is, nearly 75% of the UK did not vote for Brexit.

Ideally, you’d never have a referendum – on any subject. They are a crude import from an entirely different system (a plebiscite democracy) and have no place in a representative democracy.  And as Margaret Thatcher (quoting Clement Attlee) noted: “Perhaps the late Lord Attlee was right,” she observed, “when he said that the referendum was a device of dictators and demagogues.”

Even in mere private companies, no major decision would be pushed though with c. ¼ of the shareholders or directors. 

In corporate terms, the Brexit result was electorally inquorate.

Typically, for major corporate decisions, a genuine 50+% is required even for routine decisions, and 75%+ by shareholder value is required to sanction a major decision.  

Referendums are a bad idea to begin with, but if one is stuck with them, they should at least require a 75% majority of all adults.

Anything less is a recipe for societal fracture.

Dante’s 9th Circle – Work Parties

I’m allergic to wild parties, rarely ever touch alcohol anymore, and I’m untrusting of people who email with deadlines and “gentle reminders”.

See article.

Fair play to her.

The irony of course is that she may have stayed at her demanding job had she not also been forced to endure the “rewards” of her job, namely the endless and compulsory asshole socialising.  

Typically, company management are extroverts; i.e., people who are energised by noise, small talk and physical proximity to other people.  When they feel exhausted after working hard, they recharge their batteries by noisy, shallow, and usually binge-drinking socialising.  This of course works for extroverts, and, in typical extrovert fashion, they assume that this must therefore work for everyone.

It’s important to state this.  The folks dragging you out to such godawful events are good people, with kind intentions.  They genuinely want to see you “having a good time”.

Having no understanding of / tolerance for introverts whatsoever – despite introverts making up circa 50% of the population – they’re acting out of the best of intentions.

But in their minds, an introvert merely is “shy”, or has some sort of personality disorder which needs to be “cured” by lots of compulsory fun.  To get you “out of your shell” lol. 

In reality, as an introvert, I’m generally the cockiest person in any room, the one with no nerves about speaking in public, the one with the loudest and most vociferously-expressed opinions etc, the one who interrupts most, etc.  I have zero social anxiety, and never had.

But I’m still an introvert.  I’m happiest by myself, or one-to-one, or in very small groups. 

Big noisy shallow events bore me fucking rigid.  Large groups bore me.  People in groups rarely ever say anything remotely controversial, or interesting.  Hell, they’re never even funny.  It’s all ha-ha-ha-bullshit-bullshit small talk, small talk, small talk, ha ha ha.  For fucking hours on end.  To make the tedium more bearable, I take refuge in quipping and piss-taking.  I have spent hours of my life being entertaining for other people, and they often seem to enjoy it, and tell me I’m “good crack”. 

Invariably though, I’m getting nothing out of it whatsoever, and am counting the seconds until I can make my excuses and get the fuck out of Dodge.      

But extroverts would feel guilty if you were “left out”.

It never occurs to them that so being “left out” might be the highlight of your day.  A blessed release. 

I’ve lost count of the amount of times in my working life where, after a hard day’s negotiating in meeting rooms, all I wanted was to head back to my nice hotel room, change, have a walk around an unfamiliar city, enjoy avoiding getting mugged, soak up the local atmosphere (e.g., go into a café or bar by myself – much more interesting than hiding in a group, swapping inanities), go outside and take a few photos of interesting bridges or architectural tableaux, and then head back and have a bath before turning in.    

Instead, the pressure is always on to head out for an expensive and overly-rich meal (too late for food anyway) and a shed-load of bullshit oldest-swinger-in-town, student-union style binge drinking, talking ha-ha-ha type shite to people I have nothing in common with and no interest in getting to know, as a “reward” for all the prior hard work.  And, because one is motivated to keep the deal and the investment, one must therefore hide one’s true personality, and be as professionally-vanilla as possible.  I’ve had hour-long conversations where I mainly said nothing other than “Really?” and “Quite”.  Bring your true personality to work, my arse. To get away with doing that, you’d either have to be very middle-class / boring to begin with, or be a bit of a simpleton.

I quite like sitting on calls or in meetings rooms, as I see it as necessary to get stuff done.  

But the sheer detail of the agreements reached bears eloquent witness to how little trust there is between us, and how little we have in common with each other.  

This is business.  Deals will be implemented, or not, based on commercial synergies and mutual self-interest.  If a deal falls out of bed commercially, all the prior carousing in the world will not save it.  As soon as the financial wind changes, all your new buddies will happily claw your eyes out, and conversely.  All your buddy-buddy extrovert socialising is a waste of time. 

I loved work culture in the 1990s.  People did their work, tried to shaft each other, and never wasted any time on perpetuating the dumb idea that the serendipity of commercial alignment meant that we were all besties, ffs.   

In a group, I’m boring, and so are you.  Everyone in a large group automatically becomes boring. 

Down the years, extroverted work colleagues have spent lots of time and money organising expensive piss-ups, often in far-off countries. 

Tellingly, very few / none of them has ever said to anyone – how about you and your missus come round to our gaff for a bite to eat and a chat some night? Such small, quiet get-togethers, where I can actually get to know you, and where quick-fire, nuanced, banter can flow and develop, and wherein interesting topics can be discussed, are what I enjoy. 

This is best illustrated by a typical night out a few years ago.  After an enjoyable dinner in a quiet restaurant, off we all traipsed to a more suitable bar. 

By “suitable”, it was of course large, and “not dead”.  That is, it was jammed to the fucking rafters, and unbearably noisy.  Obviously, you couldn’t sit down.  No seats available.  Obviously, beyond the most basic grunts, conversation was impossible.  Obviously, a cover band from hell loudly was murdering various classic pop songs, at ear-splitting volume.  You had nowhere to set down a glass, so you had to hold your drink all the time.  All the fucking time.  Actually, drinking was itself difficult.  So great was the throng that merely lifting a glass to your mouth without it being jostled was a task which required considerable forward planning.

Deprived of good conversation, deprived of a place to sit down, I resigned myself to an evening of sheer tedium.  “*&!*!@&*!!” roared one of my friends, happily, in my general direction.  “AARGH!”, I responded, grinning, and he nodded, satisfied. 

Once, in a vain attempt to hear anything at all of someone’s conversation, we actually butted foreheads, in an attempt to see if the conversational vibrations reverberating in our respective skulls could be deciphered.  Aha, a faint buzzing was discernible in his cranial cavity.  I tried to decode it.  Was he talking about football, perhaps?  Who knew.  Certainly not me. 

You might as well have attempted to have had a good conversation beside guys digging up a pavement with jack hammers. 

In despair, I resigned myself to a long period of standing there, unable to speak, unable to hear, unable to sit down, barely able to drink. 

As the hours passed, I shifted from foot to foot, to relieve cramp, and turned my head to one side, in a vain attempt to lessen the hearing damage being perpetrated by the asshole cover band.  (I remember having fantasies about running up and emptying beers into their equipment to see if that might short circuit them.  Hopefully, electrocute them too.) 

The boredom, the sense of paradoxical isolation, the physical discomfort, all were intense and un-relenting, and the fun night dragged on.   

I’ve endured much more interesting sermons in churches. 

But here’s the rub.  So many people in that black hole of Calcutta genuinely appeared delighted. 

“WOO-HOO”, yelled one of our group, clearly ecstatic, for no reason that I could discern.  “GREAT NIGHT!”

 “AARGH!” I yelled, and he nodded happily, satisfied.

So it was something of an “amen, brother” moment for me when I chanced upon this excellent blog post, by the quietly-droll blogger, Wait But Why.  As he notes:

 “Just 30 minutes earlier, this guy was at dinner with his friends—talking, laughing, and sitting comfortably. Now, luckily, the real fun has begun.”

Blog post here

Trump’s 2024 Manifesto

Donald “Traitor” Trump has 2 big policy goals:

1. Give Ukraine to Putin; and
2. Withdraw from NATO.

He’s just said so. You don’t need to be especially adept at reading between lines.

Never was the need for a united European army more obvious – the idea that Russia and China will leave us alone and behave honourably if we appeal to their sense of honour is startlingly naive, given the type of dudes at the helm in both countries. But that pious hand-wringing naivety seems to be the extent of post-NATO thinking in Europe.

The irony of a bloke who has cheated on all of his wives talking about “the collapse of the nuclear family.

The irony of a bloke who has fomented division at every turn talking about “horrible, USA-hating people“. 

Trump hates any version of America that is democratic, that operates to the rule of law, and that offers black people a fair deal.  He hates America as it is, and his vision for America is something very different than that we’re all used to.

Permanent white minority rule as part of a global coalition of despots is what he wants, with permanently rigged elections. 

A majority of Trump voters are now in favour of splitting up America

Some of them want to set up a whites-only state in Idaho, the “American Redoubt”

If that isn’t “hating America“, I don’t know what is.  

Silly, but good

Very few songs manage to be simultaneously silly and worth listening to. 

In the niche category of “silly, but good”, here are some long-time fav oddities.

Just noticed how many of them are from the 196os / 70s.

That figures.

Not much silliness in popular culture nowadays.

Here we go:


Nervous NorvusThe Fang (1956):

Sample lyrics:

Do-yappa-pappa, zoink, zoink

I know those Earth chicks are dreamin’ tonight
Of the Fang

Toy DollsNellie the Elephant (1984):

Sample lyrics:

Nellie the elephant pack her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety trump
Trump trump trump

Captain Beefheart‘s China Pig (1969):

Sample lyrics:

A man’s gotta live
A man’s gotta eat

I don’t want to kill my China pig

The Trashmen‘s Surfin’ Bird (1963):

Sample lyrics:

Ah, bap-a-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pap
Ma-ma-mow, pa-pa, ma-ma-mow, pa-pa

Pink Floyd‘s Bike (1967):

Sample lyrics:

I know a mouse, and he hasn’t got a house.
I don’t know why I call him Gerald.
He’s getting rather old, but he’s a good mouse.

You’re the kind of girl that fits in with my world.

Mungo Jerry‘s In the Summertime (1970):

Sample lyrics:

You got women, you got women on your mind
Have a drink, have a drive
[yep, definitely the 1970s – Ed]
Go out and see what you can find

Colorblind James Experience‘s Move to Memphis (1987):

Sample lyrics:

Someday I’ll return to Memphis in my own private jet
I’ll remember my first visit there, that’s if I don’t forget
When I arrive in Memphis I’ll put a sign out on the door
“It’s ok to disturb me, that’s what I came here for”

NovasThe Crusher (1964):

Sample lyrics:

Do the hammer lock, you turkey necks
Yeah, do the hammer lock

Charles MingusEat that Chicken (1962):

Sample lyrics:

I wanna eat it, eat that chicken

Of course, the “silly, but good” category might have been invented for one man – Ivor Cutler. I still have 2 vinyl albums by him, “Dandruff“, and “Jammy Smears“.

Out of dozens, here’s some Ivor:

Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Vol. 2 Ep. 6 (aka “Scotland Gets its Brains from the Herring“) (1975):

I Believe in Bugs (1974):

Fremsley (1974)

Are You a Tory? (1985):

A Wooden Tree (1975):

A Nuance (1975):

Pumping patriotism

British government ministers are taking environmental advice from a business leader whose company was fined millions for pumping sewage into British waters.

These scoundrels exist in all countries.

Invariably, these are the type of people who wave national flags in a performative manner, and accuse their political opponents of “lacking patriotism”.

I merely offer a modest observation – if you devote your life to pumping shit into your country’s waterways, you’ll forgive me if I am just a little sceptical about your claims to “love” your country.

There’s more to “loving your country” than hating foreigners.

Anyone who truly “loves their country” doesn’t wave flags, and doesn’t talk about it – they pick up litter.