Thursday, May 31, 2012


Having read a favourable review in the Metro on Monday morning, I have been listening to the eponymous debut album by 2:54—and loving it.

Anyone who likes the relentless, stylistic purity of albums such as The Cure's Faith or Pornography will find the same satisfaction in this release. But the sound is rather more like Silversun Pickups (without the excessively whiny vocals) or some of the heavier Editors tracks.

However, the most obvious influence is the Cocteau Twins—albeit with more intelligible lyrics. The songs are essentially soundscapes, with grungy guitars and melodic vocal harmonies.

Stand out tracks so far include the dramatic Revolving, the urgent Creeping and the eerie Easy Undercover.

2:54 is highly recommended for those who are fans of the band influences cited...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why Obama Will Win This Year - Personally and Politically

Please note: I am not the Devil.

So he did it. Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee. Of course, this had been inevitable for a while but only now can it be confirmed that the Republican convention will be a coronation rather than a contest. Now the question is who he chooses as a running mate. I don’t really know and don’t really care who the runners and riders are to join one of the dullest politicians in living memory on the Republican ticket. All I can do is note that he’s going to have to work hard to come up with a crappier choice that McCain in 2008 (although both Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum would make Palin look like a great choice by comparison).

However, with the confirmation of Romney as the Republican nominee, it is now certain that, on some level of other, Obama will win the 2012 Presidential election. Firstly, Romney enters this contest bruised and battered. The duel for the nomination has been one of the most vicious since the notorious 1964 battle for the Republican nomination, when Barry Goldwater went off to fight LBJ despised by a substantial part of his own party. The Obama camp can now sit there and cherry-pick their way through all the jibes, taunts and insults that other Republicans have thrown at Romney for their attack ads, and round them all off by pointing out that this is what members of Romney’s own party think about him.

Then there is the problem that this is Mitt Romney that we’re talking about. Despite all the hype, Obama lacks that common touch that Clinton and Reagan, to name but two, had coming out of their ears. However, next to Mitt Romney, Obama looks like a man of the people. It is difficult to imagine a more wooden political operator than Mitt without actually nominating a tree to run for the presidency. Mitt was not nominated because he is a credible candidate, but rather because his opponents were either too radical, compromised, hypocritical or just plain batshit crazy to be a credible nominee.

Of course, the US voters won’t simply be looking at personality and a sterling display of loyalty at the convention should aid Mitt massively. But there are still problems. For a start, Mitt Romney has changed his positions on numerous issues more than someone with ADHD playing “Twister” while on crack. His crawl to the nomination as so slow because he has failed to convince his own party that he is a man of conviction and someone to be trusted. And these are the people who are meant to be his core supporters. And overall Romney increasingly resembles the Republican answer to John Kerry – and that is very much not a good thing, since the question Kerry turned out to be the answer to was “how do you go up against a discredited, unpopular and divisive president with an appalling record in office and still lose the election?”

In short, Obama is likely to win and if I was a betting man, I’d be putting my money on him. But it has to be conceded that this is shaping up to be a close election. So we have to entertain the scenario that Obama could lose. Given the relative closeness of the election there are a number of different things that could finally sink the incumbent, from debate performances through to the economy tanking (again). So how can Obama win if he in fact loses the election?

Well, on a personal level, he is still the first president from an ethnic minority to attain the highest office in the land. He would have massive name recognition and the sort of fame more commonly associated with entertainers. He would be able to rinse the after dinner speech circuit dry, he would have interviews coming out of every orifice and he would be able to write yet another dull, leaden autobiography. In short, he’d be able to go out and earn a fuck load of cash, all the time assured that a place (however controversial) is assured for him in the history books.

On a political level, the answer as to how he wins is simple – again, it’s the man who is his opponent. If it is Romney inaugurated next January rather than Obama, then precious little will change. You only have to look at Romney’s statist record as governor to see this (not least in the oft-commented on similarity of Romneycare and Obamacare). And while many Republicans are now desperately trying to see the differences between Obama and Romney, a lot of that is purely wishful thinking. It is difficult to shake the feeling that, with a Romney victory, the faces and names would changes, but the policies would remain largely the same.

And that’s the tragedy; regardless of who wins the ballot come November, Obama wins personally and politically. The supposed choice that America will make in November increasingly looks like a distraction from the fact that they are choosing from two men who agree on the end destination, and are just arguing over the best way to get there. And it is a tragedy that is replicated on this side of the Atlantic as well; we get to choose between statists who increasingly can only be distinguished from one another by their party tags. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” is the epitaph for and the most apposite description of politics in our age.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Baroness Warsi...

... is an absolutely appalling, talentless, excuse for a human being—and Fleet Street Fox sums up the position that she enjoys.
At worst, Warsi is a fraud, a charlatan, and utterly amoral if she took money from those without much to spare, lined her own pockets, and did it all with a smile on her face and sense of entitlement while accepting free meals from a friend who had allowed her to stay.

Which of those two possibilities is right we may never know but either way she hardly has the ideal qualities for someone who sits in Cabinet meetings and represents the Government in public.

But we can't vote her out, because we didn't vote her in.

Warsi benefited from the drive for a more modern, open and diverse Tory party by being selected to fight a seat in Dewsbury which has a large Muslim population.

She not only failed to win, she even managed to cut the Tory share of the vote; a towering failure by anyone's standards.

Although she was unelectable the Prime Minister thought she made him seem nicer, because she was a woman and she was brown. So she was made a minister in the House of Lords from which position she tells everyone else what to do, both in her party and the country.

And unless she jumps or is shoved, that's where she's staying. Regardless of whether she resigns her job she will for evermore be a Baroness.

The fact that Cameron gave Warsi a position in the Tory Party—rather than just stuffing her in the Lords and waiting until she lost interest—simply emphasises that the massively-foreheaded, Buttered New Potato has absolutely no fucking judgement whatsoever.

But, then, is there anybody in the country who has not already realised this...?

Then whose fault is it, precisely?

The newly revitalised Nosemonkey has written a post drawing equivalence between the Greek situation and the Poor Laws. It's worth a read, but I just wanted to pull out one sentence and pass some nit-picking commentary on it.
It’s the “I don’t give money to beggars – they’ll only spend it on drugs” attitude, only on a much larger scale. And the meme for the last several years has been precisely this – Greece has been consistently portrayed as having brought this mess on itself.

Well, yes—who else is responsible for the vast amounts of debt piled up by the Greek government?

Let us ignore, for a moment, the Greek citizens' near-legendary propensity for evading payment of their taxes (although it is a major factor in the economic situation, to be sure) and concentrate, instead, on what this says about democracy itself.

Is NM implying that the people are not, in fact, responsible for the actions of their governments? If so, then it begs the question of who is responsible...?

More importantly, this suggests that "representative democracy" is not, in fact, representative of the demos at all. In which case, of course, we do not live in a democracy, but in a dictatorial oligarchy.

Which gives the lie to the validity of our politicians' claims to rule in our stead, in our voice, or in our interests.

Alternatively, the Western system of "representative democracy" is valid, and the Greek people are, in fact, responsible for the predicament in which the now find themselves.

Given the Greek people's attitude—the constant strikes, riots and protests against the austerity measures, for instance—and the general attitude of wanting to have their cake and eat it would, in fact, rather suggest that this is the case.

Not that this conclusion can apply only to the Greeks—it applies just as much to the rest of the peoples of the so-called Western democracies.

The simple fact is that the people of the Developed Nations have selfishly continued to vote for politicians who promise to give them more of other people's money.

The Western social democratic model is bust—but there is no shortage of ideological idiots and selfish morons who think that things can carry on as before.

This is dangerous stupidity.

A step change in the attitude of the Western demos is required—for it is, let us to beat about the bush, they (we) who are at fault.

I propose that the first start should be an attitudinal change: whenever someone receives benefits, they should also get a covering letter with the following inscribed in large, red, block type:
This money was stolen by force from your neighbours. You are a thief and an extortionist. Enjoy!

It's a small thing, but might be a first step in to pointing out the intrinsic truth of our benefits system.

Friday, May 25, 2012


I have been avidly catching up on some of the In The Actor's Studio stuff recently. I find it odd that so many of the really great actors come across as very diffident (at best) or "humble".

Jim Carrey is funny (though his early life was quite tragic), whilst Johnny Depp is deeply laconic; most extraordinary is seeing cocky action hero Harrison Ford looking utterly hunted.

As someone who does occasional amateur dramatics, I find their approach interesting—and think that I understand why I have never wanted to be (despite urgings) a professional actor. The reason (other than "I enjoy my luxuries") is very simple, as it happens—and it is this...

Most of these actors talk about how they subsume themselves to the character, or the story, or whatever.

When I act, I draw on some of the emotions that I have experienced, sure. But I have always half-joked that every play in which I act is simply another chance to see DK playing DK on stage.

In other words, whilst these professional actors try to be their characters, I have always looked at my characters, found something that I identify with, and then leverage that to make the character me. I don't subsume myself to the character, I wrestle the character into the shape of me*.

And that's the difference between these professional actors and my poor attempts to entertain...

* Apart from when I played Withnail—in a stage production of Withnail and I—for which there was no effort really expended (apart from being drunk almost all the time). The only difference is that I don't share Withnail's fatalism.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

When the legislators decide what can be bought and sold...

... the first thing to be bought and sold will be the legislators.

A barn-storming post from Timmy on the subject of governments' (note the position of the apostrophe there*) closeness to media empires—and vice versa, of course.
What I am suggesting though is that those screaming about how awful it is that a private sector company should try to suck up to those with political power is, well, what the fuck did you expect?

Your permission to run a newspaper business is dependent upon those politicians. Your spectrum allocation is dependent upon those politicians. How much domestic shite you’ve got to pump out over that spectrum is dependent upon those politicians. Which sporting events you’re even allowed to bid for is determined by those politicians. Whether you’re allowed to buy out the other shareholders in a company you already have management control of is determined by those politicians. Can you give TV viewers a free newspaper? Politicians.

When the politicians have this sort of control over an industry then the people in that industry will inevitably suck up to the politicians. And it’s no good arguing that it just needs my tribe of good politicians in charge and all will be fine for inevitably the Coke party is going to be replaced at some point by the evil bastards of the Pepsi party.

If politicians have these powers then of fucking course those affected by the exercise of those powers will spend their time kissing the hairy arses of those with the powers. If government ran the lettuce industry then we’d have to lick Osborne’s ringhole to have iceberg instead of romaine for tea.

Why can’t people understand that the politicisation of the media industry is because it’s politicised?


* If you were educated through the state school system anytime in the last thirty years or so, ask someone who wasn't shafted by a bunch of Lefty ideologues to explain it to you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quote of the Day...

... comes from H L Menken, courtesy of Cafe Hayek.
“Everybody has been thought of by the young pedagogues save the poor fellow who, in the long run, will have to pay the bills. Every sort of misfit and lazybones has been taken care of, but not the man who takes care of himself.”

That was true even in 1936, when Menken first wrote it—today the situation is far worse.

NHS Fail Wail

I think that we can all agree that the UK's response to coronavirus has been somewhat lacking. In fact, many people asserted that our de...