Thursday, October 20, 2016

All Our Racist Yesterdays

I'm proving to be pretty useless when it comes to posting this week.  Then again, I've had a pretty exhausting week: just yesterday I had the trauma of getting my car through this year's MoT, followed by a dental appointment today.  But things in the wider world have been equally dispiriting, with both Lily Allen and Gary Lineker facing tidal waves of abuse for daring to show compassion for refugee children and the right wing press running an astounding campaign of disinformation concerning the aforementioned children.  Apparently, we are in danger of being invaded by hordes of mad Jihadi terrorist benefits claimants disguised as children.  Presumably these disguises involve grown men wearing short trousers and school uniforms and speaking in high pitched voices.  But don't worry, we can tell their real ages by looking at their teeth, (I thought that only worked for horses).  Either that, or getting them to undress in front of a public school educated right  wing Tory MP, who will then examine their genitalia, (they are experts on young boys' privates, apparently).

So, to try and convince everyone that things aren't really getting worse, I present a compilation of the 'best' racist moments from notorious seventies sitcom Love Thy Neighbour.  This series was disturbingly popular during the seventies. (A friend of mine who had grown up without TV in the seventies was appalled when he saw a clip of the series on one of those nostalgia programmes back in the nineties.  He was even more appalled when I told him that it wasn't from, as he's assumed, an unaired pilot programme, but from something that ran for four or five series, at least).  Defenders of Love Thy Neighbour like to compare it 'Til Death Us Do Part, pointing out that Jack Smethurst's bigot is always shown to be ignorant and wrong and that his black neighbour gives as good as he gets.  However, it lacks the earlier series' satiric edge and Smethurst's character lacks the complexity of Warren Mitchell's Alf Garnett.  Moreover, a black man calling a white man 'Honky' is most certainly not equivalent to a white man constantly referring to all black people as 'Nig Nogs'.  Anyway, watch the video and reassure yourself that maybe, just maybe, the seventies were just as hate and bigotry filled as the present.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"These Don't Look Like Children to Me!"

"These don't look like children to me!" bellowed David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, as the first child refugees from the so-called 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais, arrived in Britain.  His complaint was quickly echoed by some of the country's top peadophiles.  "I was very disappointed when I watched the news footage and saw that many of these supposed 'children' were actually strapping lads with beards," convicted nonce Roger Hump opined from his cell in the high security wing of Strangeways Prison.  "I mean, I'm sure there's a market for them out there - probably around King's Cross - but they simply aren't any use to myself or my colleagues."  Hump is firmly of the belief that the government needs to crack down on this kind of deception.  "Look, if they say that these refugees are children, then they have to be under the age of eighteen, preferably under fourteen, otherwise they need to be sent packing," he says.  "The security implications are horrendous - I mean, some innocent peadophile could find themselves faced with some kind of crazed ISIS jihadi, rather than the under age boy he thought he was about to fondle!  We could see British peados being slaughtered by these terrorist bastards disguised as children!"

Henry Polk, a former organiser of the notorious - and banned - Peadophile Information Exchange (PIE), who is currently out of prison on licence from a ten year sentence for possession of child pornography, points out that there is nothing new in the current situation.  "It was the same last year, when two thirds of the little bastards turned out to be overage," he says.  "It's all very disappointing - they keep promising us new blood, but all we get are potential rent-boys for the bloody homos!  It isn't as if that lot are short of those in the first place, is it?"  Polk claims that an influx of new children is essential for Britain's child molesting community.  "Ever since they started kicking up such a bloody fuss about the odd kid getting fiddled with, it's been getting harder and harder for us to get our hands on the domestic 'product'." he complains.  "Personally, I blame that bloody Jimmy Savile - f he hadn't been molesting on an industrial scale, nobody would have cared about the odd kiddie getting inappropriately touched at fairgrounds or shagged for the price of a bag of pick and mix."  Consequently, Polk and his ilk were looking forward to the arrival of groups of stateless, unattached non-English speaking foreign children,whose disappearance into the seamy underbelly of British undeage sex offending wouldn't be noticed.  "It was bad enough  that they were allowing so few of these kiddies into the country in the first place - then most of them turn out to be above the age of consent!  If we don't start getting some new blood in soon, the whole British peadophile scene could be under threat," he warns, "PIE warned about this before we were shut down: the UK could lose its status as one of the world's leading purveyors of child sexual abuse, as our peados are forced to turn to other forms of perversion, like bestiality or necrophilia, instead."


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Last Dinosaur (1977)

After a somewhat frustrating weekend and a stultifyingly dull day at work today, I really don't feel terribly inspired to post anything here.  So, instead I thought I'd present, well, not so much a random movie trailer as a random movie clip.  As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I've always been a sucker for a dinosaur movie and, when I was a kid, watched as many as I could find, (that said, back in the days before CGI allowed the cost-effective generation of reasonably realistic-looking dinosaurs, there weren't actually that many such movies around).  One that I never managed to see was this 1977 TV movie, The Last Dinosaur, a Japanese-US collaboration which starred Richard Boone as an oil millionaire and hunter who, having discovered the existence of an underground lost world beneath the arctic ice, decides to take the opportunity to hunt the ultimate prey: a Tyrannosaurus. Naturally, he is opposed by the accompanying scientists who want to preserve this lost environment. I'm guessing that it was made as a cash-in on the 1976 King Kong, which had similarly eco-friendly overtones, featuring the exploitation of a prehistoric monster by an oil man.

The main Japanese contribution can be seen in the above clip: the special effects.  Not surprisingly, these involve man-in-a-suit dinosaurs roaming around a miniature set, much in the manner of Godzilla and the other Toho monsters.  Unfortunately, the suits are of a far lower quality than those in the Godzilla movies (and some of those were pretty dodgy).  Whilst the Triceratops is just about passable, the T-rex is terrible - not even remotely convincing.  I have to say that, growing up, I always found the man-in-a-suit the least satisfying way of representing dinosaurs onscreen.  I much preferred stop motion animation, (which was also far more expensive and beyond the means of most low budget dinosaur movies), which allowed for far more realistic looking dinosaurs.  To be honest, I even preferred the use of photographically enlarged lizards - they might not have been accurate representations of dinosaurs, but at least they were dynamic and looked quite menacing.  Actually, even the glove puppet dinosaurs and mechanical pterodactyls of The Land that Time Forgot were preferable to a man in a suit. To be fair, the man-in-a-suit dinosaurs seen here are pretty poor, many films using this technique have used far more realistic and convincing dinosaur suits.  Anyway, judging by the various excerpts of The Last Dinosaur that I've seen over the years, I didn't miss much by not seeing it when I a kid.

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Brain (1969)

The Brain, (or Le Cerveau if you saw the French language version), was another of those big international co-productions which flourished in the late sixties and early seventies.  An action comedy, it features a truly eclectic cast, headed by Jean Paul Belmondo and Bourvil flying the flag for France, Hollywood's Eli Wallach and, in the title role, Britain's David Niven.  It's a movie I haven't seen since I was a kid in the seventies, when the English language version used to play on TV.  I have warm, yet vague memories of it being an amusing diversion, with Niven providing a decent comic turn as the charming, but devious, criminal mastermind who, whilst being hunted by the police, plans a daring robbery of a NATO payroll from a train.  Despite entering into an uneasy alliance with the Mafia, Niven finds his plans under threat from a pair of bungling French criminals, (Belmondo and Bourvil), who are planning to rob the same train.

I honestly don't remember any of the plot details, but a few scenes have lingered in my memory, notably Belmondo's jail break early in the movie, with him and Bourvil (digging from the outside) using home-made excavating machines to try and dig a tunnel and inevitably missing each other.  There's also a sequence where Niven sees himself on a TV in a shop window, identified in a news report as being wanted in connection with the 'Great Train Robbery', causing a rush of blood to his head which characteristically results in his overdeveloped brain being too heavy for his neck, causing his head to tilt to one side.  His attempts to unobtrusively prop up his head whilst avoiding the police provide Niven with an opportunity for some mildly amusing physical comedy.  Despite being the most successful French produced film of 1969, the English language version of The Brain is now pretty much forgotten, (for all I know, the French version plays regularly on French TV), not having been screened in the UK since the seventies, as far as I know.  A pity, as it is, as far as I recall, a glossy, well made caper movie typical of its era.  It also provided me with my first proper encounter with Belmondo, (I don't count his brief cameo at the end of the 1967 Casino Royale), resulting in a lifelong fascination with his movies. 

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sex Offender of the Seas?

OK, I feel that I have to step in here, in defence of the octopus.  All day I've been seeing headlines shouting how alleged groper Donald Trump was all over some of his alleged victims 'like an octopus'. Since when has the octopus been synonymous with sex offending?  There's a clear implication here that the aquatic mollusc is well known for molesting women, using its tentacles to inappropriately touch women in multiple places on their bodies.  Where is the evidence for these heinous allegations?  Has an octopus ever been convicted for sex offences?  I think not.  Have there ever been allegations, even, of sexual misconduct on their part?  Obviously not.  Yet every time some public figure is accused of feeling up women against their will, the whole octopus analogy is brought up - with no justification.  I mean, just because the octopus has eight sucker covered tentacles, that doesn't make it a potential groper - having more hands doesn't make anyone more prone to groping, does it?  I'm sure that one handed men, for instance, are, statistically, just as likely to be the sort of man to try and cop a feel on a crowded tube train, for instance, as a bloke with both hands.  (Actually, some of those prosthetic hands could be even better for groping, giving a firmer grip which the victim is less likely to wriggle free from, for instance).

That said, tentacles aren't hands and, as far as I can see, wouldn't be suited to groping anyway.  Squeezing, perhaps, but not traditional groping.  OK, I suppose those suckers might allow a form of nipple tweaking and a tentacle could achieve a pretty good slap across the arse, but the fact is that the octopus, despite its undeserved media reputation, is ill-equipped to be a groper.  Besides, if its simply a case of assuming that many tentacles a groper makes, then why not scapegoat the giant squid instead?  They actually have more tentacle than an octopus and two of these are extra long, enabling them to stealthily grope from a distance.  Plus, those huge eyes probably make them good voyeurs.  Whilst there are no documented cases of octopus gropings, there is so little footage of living giant squids in their natural environment, that they could be sexual molesting halibut and the like all the time in the ocean depths.  Yet still it is the octopus that is unfairly characterised as the sex offender of the sea.  Personally, I blame all those old magazine and paperback covers depicting giant octopuses gripping young female divers with their tentacles.  I fear that if these false allegations aren't nipped in the bud now, things will only get worse.  It can surely only be a matter of time before someone starts trying to reinterpret Ringo Starr's 'Octopuses Garden' as evidence of the octopus being some kind of deep sea Jimmy Savile.  So, stop using the octopus as some kind of figurative gold standard for groping - the octopus is innocent.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Going Mental

Apparently, yesterday was World Mental Health Day.  I say 'apparently', because nobody ever tells me about these things at the time.  I mean, World Talk Like a Pirate Day recently passed me by - again.  Every year, for some reason, people fail to remind me of the latter international event, thereby depriving me of a legitimate opportunity to spend an entire day talking like Robert Newton, (look him up kids).  Anyway, I was left pondering exactly what World Mental Health Day might entail, activity wise.  After all, if Talk Like a Pirate Day involves people, well, talking like pirates then, by logical extension, shouldn't World Mental Health Day involve people going around behaving as if they are suffering from a mental illness?  Like in that movie, the title of which eludes me - you know the one, it wade according to the Dogme 95 conventions - in which a group of people pretend to be mentally handicapped, but aren't.  You can easily legitimise it as being a way for those without mental illnesses to gain an insight into what it is like to suffer from one.

Of course, in order to head off the middle class hand wringers who will try to get offended on behalf of mental illness sufferers, I should point out that, as I have suffered from clinical depression, I am one of those poor people you want to patronise.  So, please, don't get offended on my behalf because of something I've written.  Anyway, to return to the point, I fear that if simulating mental health problems was the purpose of World Mental Health Day, then what we'd end up with is hordes of idiots wandering around pretending to be Norman Bates, Hannibal Lecter or just some random psychopath waving a meat cleaver.  Sadly, this is the image of mental illness which is all too often propagated by the media in the UK and which many people take to be the reality of the situation.   And if it isn't psychopaths and serial killers, then the other image of the mentally ill perpetrated in popular culture is that of sad losers perpetually on the verge of suicide.  With a bit of self-harming thrown in for good measure.  The fact is that most mental health problems, such as depression, are far less spectacular and generally go unnoticed by the rest of the world.  Shockingly, people with mental heath problems, by and large, look and behave, outwardly, at least, just like everyone else.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Bleating Middle Class Tossers

Fuck 'em.  Fuck 'em all!  As a friend of mine used to say.  Said friend also came up with the idea of the 'Fuck You Bus', to be deployed when you finally handed in your resignation to a particularly shitty employer.  On your last day, you should hire an open topped double decker bus, with 'Fuck You' written in huge letters on the sides, where the banner ads usually go, and drive it round and round your place of work, whilst moonng from the top deck, he reckoned.  I was put in mind of my friend's wise words this weekend when I had the misfortune to encounter some Twitter bleatings by one of those 'right on' middle class faux socialists.  They were ranting on about the 'slide into fascism' the recent Toey conference seemed to presaging.  Their every Tweet was prefixed with the words 'Fuck You' and berated the Tories for being, well, right wing bastards, and people who voted for them for being blind and the media for being both complicit and complacent.  You get the picture.  My first reaction was 'Wow, you've only just realised that UK politics is taking a dangerously extreme right-wing turn?  Some of us have been warning about this since before the financial crash back in 2008'.  

Which, of course, leads directly to my second reaction, which is to note how arrogant these middle class faux socialists are in assuming that they are the only ones who can see what is happening and the rest of us need to be woken up to this clear and present danger by them shouting 'Fuck you'.  Moreover, I object to their implication that the rest of us are responsible for this situation because we haven't been shouting 'Fuck you'.   Well, in that case 'Fuck you', middle class tossers.  Fuck you for being so arrogant.  Fuck you for thinking that you've just invented left wing radicalism.  Most of all, fuck you for ensuring that the slide into right wing authoritarianism will continue unchecked, because you and your ilk have effectively deprived us of any credible political opposition.  Yeah, that's right, fuck you for voting Corbyn back in as Labour leader - a living, breathing waste of space long on so-called principles, but short on actual leadership and effective opposition.  So, yeah, fuck you, because I can guarantee that you are a Corbyn groupie, dismissing anyone else on the left who dares to try and actually mount any kind of actual opposition to the Tories as a 'Blairite'.

And while I'm on the subject of telling people 'Fuck You', I was reading over the weekend that pioneering US test pilot and World War Two fighter ace Chuck Yeager had dismissed the British as being 'Nasty and arrogant.  Apparently, when he was over here during the war 'saving' us Brits, he didn't like the fact that we didn't show him enough humility.  Well, fuck you, Yeager.  Maybe the Brits you encountered didn't realise they needed saving - they'd already been fighting a war against the Nazis for several years before you arrived and, despite being bombed, starved and suffering all round deprivation, were doing OK.  Personally, I think he's still pissed over the fact that the fifties UK movie The Sound Barrier showed a (fictional) British pilot being the first to break the sound barrier instead of him. (Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier in the X-1 was still classified at the time - nobody knew it had happened).  Get over it - it was only a bloody film.  So fuck you, you nasty and arrogant bastard.  Finally, fuck you Slimstats for taking The Sleaze offline for hours today because the latest update of your Wordpress plugin was faulty.  Fuck you and your shitty plugin.

Fuck 'em.  Fuck 'em all!


Saturday, October 08, 2016

Fighting Bigots

So, the illegal bare knuckle fighting ring within the EU parliament has finally been exposed thanks to the recent bout between two UKIP MEPS, which left one of them hospitalised.  I mean, what other explanation could there be for two grown men, both elected representatives of the people of the UK, having a fist fight (allegedly) at the Strasbourg EU parliament building?  Did Nigel Farage have big money riding on the outcome?  Is this how UKIP really chooses its new leader?  Or was this some kind of qualifying bout, to select a UKIP champion to fight, say, the French Socialist EU champion?  If nothing else, this 'altercation' might explain why UKIP's new leader only lasted a couple of weeks - clearly she wasn't up for the fist fighting.  Of course, I have to make clear that the alleged aggressor in the incident, the UKIP defence spokesperson, has denied that, although there was an 'altercation', he didn't actually punch his opponent, Stephen Woolf. Obviously not.  He headbutted him.  (I hasten to add, for legal reasons, that I have no proof he did that - it's a completely made up allegation for purely humourous purposes).

But should we be surprised that a political party that has so often engaged in violent rhetoric and peddled so much hatred toward immigrants, also sometimes participates in actual, physical, violence? Whilst there is a part of me which takes a perverse pleasure in seeing UKIP MEPs knocking seven bells out of each other, another part of me is appalled and saddened.  Not least because, happening as it has at the European Parliament, it just reinforces negative stereotypes of the British amongst fellow Europeans.  A bunch of violent bigoted thugs really isn't the image of the UK I like to be perpetrated in the heart of Europe.  Mind you, with the Tory conference happily demanding that British companies list their foreign employees, amongst other knee jerk nationalist proposals, Europe probably won't be surprised that some of our MEPs resort to violence rather than reasoned debate.  This whole UKIP ruckus just underlines how difficult it is becoming to satirise British politics - you simply couldn't have made something like this up.  


Thursday, October 06, 2016

All in a Name

Apparently I've been terrorising the Caribbean, devastating Haiti and I'm now threatening the east coast of the USA.  It's curious how we can often feel some kind of perverse pride in the antics of our namesakes, in this case a hurricane.  Curious, because, for most of us, our names are pretty much arbitrary, in that we have no choice over them - they are bestowed upon us by others (usually our parents).  I know that some people change their names, sometimes legally, sometimes just by the usage of a name they prefer to their given first name, but for most of us that seems like far too much hassle - so we just stick with what we've got.  We might shorten our name to make it more acceptable or, like me, spend one's time trying to avoid people shortening it - despite personally always using the full version of my name, others persist in trying to shorten it to 'Matt'.  I really don't know why they find the full form of my first name difficult.  Still, my mother and my best friend always call me 'Matthew'.  As do my various great nieces.  So, all the people who matter to me get it right.

Perhaps the wrath of my namesake hurricane will show the others the error of their ways.  I've no doubt that when he was just a tropical storm, someone called hurricane Matthew just 'Matt'.  No wonder he's so angry.  But to return to the point, I've been following Hurricane Matthew's progress with interest - I'm intrigued to see something as powerful as a hurricane sharing a first name with me - when I was a kid I was always frustrated by the lack of heroic or powerful namesakes in the media.  Good guys were always called something like 'Jack', 'Bill' or 'Steve'.  If a 'Matthew' appeared in a film or TV episode, they were always the hero's evil brother, or some kind of older, unsympathetic, authority figure.  About the only exception was Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, but they'd stopped showing that on British TV by the time I was old enough for such things to register.  Not only that, but he shortened his name to 'Matt'.  You'd think, with the name's Biblical connotations, that there would be more 'good guy' Matthews.  Then again, St Matthew wasn't one of the glamourous disciples, was he?  His Testament is generally dismissed as the most fictionalised and least reliable accounts of the life of Jesus.  Plus, as I recall, he was a tax collector before he was a disciple.  Never a popular choice of occupation.  But, I've bided my time and now, at last, we've got something powerful named 'Matthew'.  Sure, a hurricane isn't sympathetic or heroic, but it's better than a tax collector, an evil brother or an authority figure and it certainly isn't a supporting role.  Best of all, nobody dares to shorten its name.


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Hunters Hunted?

That programme is on - the one on Channel Four.  The one where contestants go 'on the run', trying to evade a team of 'hunters', who use all sorts of tech - surveillance cameras, drones, hacking accounts, that sort of thing - to catch them.  It's called Hunted, not surprisingly.   I've never actually seen a whole episode - it's far too over-dramatic for me, with thumping music and lots of people barking orders at each other - but that's not going to stop me from commenting on it.  Maybe I've seen too many movies starring the likes of Jean Claude van Damme, Steven Seagal and Wesley Snipes, but it strikes me that the most obvious and effective way to try and evade the 'hunters' would be to turn the tables on them - instead of running, you hunt them down.  You know the sort of thing: find out where they live and start spooking them by leaving dead pigeons or rats on their doorsteps so as to unnerve them.  Even better, break into their houses and leave dead hedgehogs in their beds.  Maybe decapitate their pet dog or something.  If that doesn't put them off, then you'd just have to threaten their families directly, if they don't stop hunting you.  Kidnapping a love one and threatening their life might do the trick.

If they don't have any close family or loved ones, then you might have to turn the tables completely and start following them - if you start sending them surveillance photos you've taken of them at their home addresses, or walking to work, or buying their newspaper at the local shop, that might scare them into abandoning the hunt.  Alternatively, once you've found where they live, you could break in and try and find some dirt to blackmail them with: fake tax returns, child pornography, bondage dungeons, that sort of stuff.  Actually, planting stuff like child pornography could be even more effective.  One tip off to the police and the bastards would be off your back for good.  If all else failed, you just try buying an illegal firearm and kneecap the first one who got near you - if that didn't deter his buddies nothing would.  In the last resort, you could use the gun to kidnap one of them and threaten to send bits of his anatomy to his colleagues if they don't back off.  Mind you, all of that might be a bit extreme just to try winning what is effectively a TV gameshow.  Just living in a tent on a traffic roundabout might be a simpler way of evading capture...

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