Saturday, November 29, 2008

Goodbye to the World of Pub? (Part Two)

Well, for anybody worried that my previous crie de couer over my disenchantment with pub life was the precursor to a slide into depression and despair can rest assured, it's just some aspects of my social activities I'm tired of, not life itself. Indeed, having made that post, somewhat ironically, I went to the pub. It wasn't terribly entertaining - the place was full of drunken Portsmouth fans 'celebrating' their draw with AC Milan. Consequently, there was little chance of intelligent conversation. I really miss the days when I could go down the pub and discuss anything from the philosophy of knowledge to the state of Tottenham Hotspur over a pint or two. People keep on bemoaning the decline of Britain's public houses, citing rising prices and the like, but the truth it is because you simply can't just go for a quiet drink nowadays. It's actually impossible as most pubs insist on drowning out all coherent thought, let alone conversation, with loud music.

It has been claimed that the cheap alcohol available in supermarkets is encouraging people to drink at home rather than going to the pub. I'd say it was actually the other way around - cheap supermarket beer enables people to drink at home in relative peace, without the threat of being assailed by deafening 'music' and drunken louts. Indeed, private drinking parties at home are fast becoming the only way to have a civilised night 'out' involving coherent conversations between rational individuals. I'm back to that pub in my front room I keep talking about creating, aren't I? Either that, or the online Worldwide Pub. You know, I'd never thought I'd find the concept of private members drinking clubs attractive. Perhaps that's the answer. Mind you, with none that I know of in my area, I might just have to start my own. Anyway, I've lamented the passing of the traditional British boozer enough - no more posts on the subject (for now), I promise.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Goodbye to the World of Pub?

I had one of those sudden moments of potentially life-changing insight one sometimes get when on the edge of exhaustion, or drunk, or under the influence of prescription drugs. None of those factors were affecting me at the time, although I was mildly pissed off. Anyway, getting to the point, as I trudged home from the boozer, it struck me that I didn't really care if I went out to the pub ever again. There are other things I could be spending my time doing of an evening - I'd make much better progress with the long-promised revamp of The Sleaze, for instance, not to mention setting up that other site I bought the domain for ages ago. Quite apart from extending my online activities, I'd also have more time to devote to my model railway, various home improvement projects, not to mention all those films I keep recording or buying on DVD and never getting around to watching.

So, I hear you ask, what's brought me to such a momentous decision? Well, since what was my local pub was taken over by an idiot who has proceeded to turn it into a dive for scumbags, I've led something of a nomadic existence pub-wise, desperately seeking somewhere I feel comfortable. The trouble is that most pubs within walking distance of my house are either those bloody chain pubs which sell cheap beer but look like an airport lounge inside and have all the character of an estate agent, or they've been refurbished with bright lighting, garish decor, loud music, karaoke machines and flat beer. Proper pubs where you can go for a drink and a conversation seem in short supply, unless, it seems, you live in a village. For the past few months I've been frequenting a pub which is OK, but really isn't me. I just don't feel comfortable there. The other part of the equation is that the group of people who used to drink in the old local have scattered to the winds and all drink in different boozers, none of which are particularly convenient for me. Add to this the fact that several of them moved away, means that my drinking companions are also severely depleted -all I'm left with are people with no attention spans who can't seem to hold on to any conversation for more than thirty seconds. Not very stimulating. I don't see most of the rest of my closest friends frequently enough to count them as drinking companions any more.

So there you have it - my total disenchantment with the world of pub. Unless I find a halfway decent pub within reasonable walking distance (unlikely), or manage to recruit a completely new set of, interesting, friends and acquaintances to drink with, I see little option but to give up the pub as a regular activity. I suppose I could always reactivate my plans to open my own pub in my front room and go online with it - the worldwide pub. But it just wouldn't be the same.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That's Wanking

Intended to be a companion piece to That’s Spanking, the same director’s compilation of famous cinematic spanking sequences, this film celebrates the unjustly neglected cinema of masturbation. Experienced porn producer Rod Walloper brings together a host of excerpts from long forgotten wank flicks including, inevitably, Percy Peaslin’s Tony Handjob series. Indeed, Percy Peaslin himself is on hand (so to speak) in his Tony Handjob persona (complete with homburg, raincoat, hangdog expression and jazz mag), to introduce each excerpt. These linking sequences are probably the only disappointing aspect of Walloper’s film - each time the film cuts back to Handjob he is ‘comedically’ caught in the act of whipping his weasel, and struggles to get his knob back into his pants. This ‘joke’ quickly becomes tiresome, and one is left wondering how Peaslin ever made a living out his routine in the early 1970s.

Thankfully, the films excerpted are of a far higher quality and include the classic horror trilogy Wankenstein, Whackula and The Two Faces of Dr Jerkoff. The first features a scientist experimenting with penis transplants in his attempts to create a male member perfectly adapted to the rigours of prolonged masturbation, whilst the second concerns a female vampire who feeds on jism and seeks out young men to wank off. Perhaps the best of the three is Dr Jerkoff, which features a reclusive, socially awkward doctor who, unable to attract women, spends much of his free time twisting his crank. As a result of his experiments with his own ejaculations, he devises an elixir which turns him into a handsome athletic type who has women falling over him and soon becomes engaged to a beautiful and wealthy heiress The film ends tragically when he reverts into Jerkoff during the wedding ceremony and masturbates furiously in front of his bride and her shocked family before being shot by the police.

Lest the uninformed viewer be left thinking that wanking films are a peculiarly British phenomena, Walloper also includes some foreign gems in his compilation. These include the bizarre square dance sequence from the Hollywood frontier epic Five Fingers for Seven Brothers, in which the titular brothers, deprived of female companionship, prance around their log cabin performing the bachelor’s shuffle. Also on view are several sequences from an Italian-made 1960s Mondo movie showing various masturbatory techniques from around the world - including some African tribal rituals which appear both painful and highly dangerous. Scandalously denied a cinematic release, this fine compilation is now available on DVD from specialist stockists. It is a long overdue reminder of the days when masturbation was considered a legitimate sexual activity, before it was driven under the covers and became characterised as being merely the furtive activity of social inadequate teenagers and Star Trek fans.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Sex and Drugs in New Milton

I've been watching those local news reports again. The latest one to grab my attention was a story about the trial of several people accused of sexually abusing children (amongst others), over a near-forty year period. Not the stuff of humour. Indeed, it's a very serious issue. However, it was the reporter's description of the events involved as being a series of 'alcohol and drug fuelled sex orgies in New Milton'. It was the 'New Milton' bit which got me. The very idea that such things have been going on in New Milton seemed quite surreal to me. I mean, New Milton? Have you been to New Milton? I have, and trust me, there is no place on earth less likely to be a venue for sex orgies, alcohol and drug fuelled or otherwise. For those of you not familiar with New Milton, it's a town in Hampshire on the edge of the New Forest and just up from the coast. Now, I know that sounds as if it might be some twee little tourist town, but it isn't. It's more like Slough-on-Sea. Except it isn't actually on the coast, just close to it. It is hard to imagine anything exciting, let alone sex orgies, going on in such a desultory place.

Having said that, the more I thought about it, the more I began to suspect that it was precisely this dullness which had resulted in these bizarre and terrible events taking place. I mean, what the hell else were people expected to do for entertainment in New Milton during the 1960s and 1970s? I'm pretty sure that the permissive society bypassed the place (and let's be frank, it only really existed in Ladbroke Grove for a week in 1967). Not only that, but there was no internet pornography and only three TV channels, one of which,in New Milton, was Southern Television. Which, effectively, meant there were only two channels. There was, of course, regular porn, but in the 1960s and 1970s this took the form of either 'artistically' shot models not really showing anything whilst lying on a sheepskin rug, or some fat bird posing on a leather sofa in some tatty flat in Brighton. So,child abuse, drugs, booze and sex orgies were probably the norm in New Milton. Now, before I start getting hate mail from the denizens of New Milton (or Slough), I'm not saying that they're all a bunch of demented sex perverts living in a cess pool, just that extraordinary things don't only go on behind the doors of Mayfair mansions or Park Lane penthouses. They also happen in perfectly ordinary, relatively dull, suburban streets up and down Britain. The veneer of glamour isn't a prerequisite for sexual degradation.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Right Pillocks

The British National Party (BNP) are busy complaining that its members are facing intimidation after its membership list was published on the web. Good, is my immediate reaction. If the reaction of ordinary citizens to the news that their neighbours, relatives, workmates or friends are members of an extremist political party is to shun them, then it restores my faith in the great British public. Moreover, as someone who recalls the kind of intimidation meted out to ethnic minorities by right wing extremists groups which preceded the BNP and its attempts to present itself as a respectable political party, it seems only fitting that these bastards are getting a taste of their own medicine. (Yes, I know that the BNP itself has never organised or encouraged such campaigns of hate, but I'll wager that a fair proportion of its membership were also members of the National Front and other neo-Nazi organisations, which were involved in such activities).

Of course, the BNP's reaction to the release of its membership list raises the question as to what sort of a legitimate party is it whose members don't want people to know that they're members? Surely they should be proud of their knee-jerk nationalist beliefs? After all, they're always telling us about how 'proud' they are to be 'British', white and isolationist. So why aren't they prepared to be open and honest about their political affiliations? I know there's the little matter of it being against the rules for servicemen or the police to be members, but I'd hope that anyone joining either organisation would be committed to the democratic values of equality and non-discrimination, and therefore not interested in joining something like the BNP. No, one can only conclude that they're ashamed of their membership (and so they should be). This in turn suggests that, deep down, they know that the BNP and its aims are wrong.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reality Blitzkrieg

Former participants in a TV show - Channel Four’s The 1940s House - have condemned the programme's makers for taking the concept of reality TV to dangerous extremes. In the show, the Jones family were originally selected to try and live as they would have done during World War Two. Whilst the project was described to the family as a serious documentary, they claim that it was nothing more than exploitative sensationalism, and they allege that they have been severely traumatised by their experiences in the house.

Father of three Rod Jones has described how every time he left the house he was pursued by mobs of youths shouting “Coward!” at him because he wasn’t in uniform. On one occasion several women accosted him at a bus stop and spat at him whilst screeching that their brave sons were risking their lives fighting the Nazi menace whilst draft-dodging war-profiteers like him had it easy. The campaign of terror culminated with a brick being thrown through the Jones’ front window and four white feathers being posted through the letterbox. Mr Jones has also alleged that, in a cynical attempt to boost ratings, Channel Four hired a vintage Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter to strafe his 76 year old mother as she returned from the shops one afternoon. “The use of live ammunition was highly irresponsible”, an angry Jones told us. “The poor old dear was frightened out of her wits - even after six hand washes and the liberal use of a scrubbing board we still couldn’t put her draws out on the washing line, they were in such a state! We had to burn them eventually!”

In another incident, air raid sirens forced the family into their cellar one night. When they emerged the next morning it was to find their house in ruins and the rest of the street reduced to rubble. “We just thought that the sound of explosions were special effects”, housewife Irene Jones explained. “But Channel Four had actually called in a team of demolition experts to blow up the house and then level the street with bulldozers!” Having been rendered homeless, the Jones family found their two youngest children, Jane aged nine and Toby aged eleven, forcibly evacuated to the country and resettled with a family of complete strangers, whilst eldest son John, aged seventeen, found himself conscripted into the army and sent to a brutal training camp. The remaining members of the family were forced to live out of the unheated cellar, which was running with damp. Unsurprisingly, Grandma Jones caught pneumonia - which couldn’t be treated due to the wartime lack of penicillin “We were appalled, but Channel Four assured us that it was all in the name of realism”, says Irene. In a desperate attempt to make ends meet, Rod was forced to resort to selling black-market petrol siphoned from the fuel tanks of military vehicles.

In another attempt at wartime realism, the family were horrified to find that their fifteen year old daughter Sally had been made pregnant by an American GI, who had seduced her with silk stockings , Hershey bars and tales of the fabulous life that awaited her in his luxurious one-room shack in Tennessee. Having knocked young Sally up, the GI was shipped off to Normandy. Sally found herself having to run a gauntlet of fishwives calling her a “whore” and a “trollop” as she went to and from school everyday. Eventually the family were forced to take Sally to a 1940s-style drunken backstreet abortionist, whose only surgical instrument was a button-hook sterilised in gin. The final straw for the Jones family came when they received the shocking news that their cousin Tom had been lost at sea to enemy action. “We just couldn’t believe it”, an astonished Rod Jones told us. “Apparently Tom had taken the ferry to Dieppe on a day-trip, so Channel Four decided to hire a U-Boat and have the ferry torpedoed on its return journey! Over two hundred people died! They said that it was essential for us to experience sudden traumatic loss as many families had in the 1940s. We told them to stick their programme and walked out!” Channel Four was forced to re-film the entire series with a different family. The channel has so far refused to comment on the allegations made by the Jones family.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

That's Spanking

Another offbeat entry from my private DVD collection:

After the success of such compilation films as That’s Entertainment and That’s Dancing it was perhaps inevitable that something similar would be produced for more specialist markets. Porn specialists Mapatasi were happy to oblige with this collection of classic celluloid spanking moments. Helmed by veteran porno producer Rod Walloper, the film draws heavily upon Mapatasi’s own Hockey Girls series of films, especially Hockey Girls in Detention and Hockey Girls' Prefects, both of which included extensive spanking and chastisement sequences. The climactic scene from the latter in which the fourth form girls get their revenge on the head prefect (played by Jenny Spadger) by bending her over the vaulting horse and thrashing her pert backside with gym shoes, swimming flippers, hockey sticks and every other imaginable sporting implement, is particularly memorable. The use to which young Felicity Womby puts the snorkel is especially imaginative. The compilation also features favourite sequences from just about every spanking short you ever saw at Soho’s much lamented “Spank-O-Rama” cinema, including Schoolgirl Fannies on Fire, Punishment PT and Lisa Must Be Caned. The relatively low production values of such pieces emphasises just how much the genre has improved in recent years.

However, That’s Spanking does not confine itself to mining popular genre movies for their corporal punishment highlights, it also includes infamous spanking sequences from mainstream movies. Amongst these is the scene from Polanski’s Cul de Sac where Lionel Stander (Max in Hart to Hart) thrashes the lovely Francoise Dorleac and John Wayne (no stranger to a good hiding himself according to new documentary Mondo Homo) caning Kim Darby in True Grit. In order to satisfy all tastes the scene of Charles Bronson spanking the Mexican boy in The Magnificent Seven is shown as well. Also included is a highly homoerotic scene cut from the final print of Rocky III in which, ostensibly to teach him the value of humility, Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed puts Stallone across his knee and gives him six of the best.

The various sequences are linked by veteran porn performer Derek Quoit (who has been appearing in spanking films since 1948’s Whacking Galore and in 1951 played Pinky in the seminal British porn classic Brighton Cock), dressed as a headmaster, complete with mortar board. Between sequences he sits in his study flexing his cane whilst threatening to punish various young 'schoolgirls'. Whilst this will undoubtedly be highly popular with aficionados of the genre, That’s Spanking will probably prove too specialised for wider success. Nonetheless, it provides a good introduction to the world of spanking for the uninitiated.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Children in Need...of a Kick Up The Arse

It's Children in Need on the BBC again. Why? No, really, why do they inflict it upon us year after year? I wouldn't mind, but it's the same old load of celebrity ego-massaging every time, as the great and the good try to salve their consciences by performing (usually badly) for charity. Oh, and plug their latest record/book/film/TV series at the same time. Couldn't they change the format? Maybe have it so that if we all pledge enough money in the seven days leading up to it, they won't show the bloody telethon. Actually, come to think of it, haven't the public given enough over the past few years to be entitled to a year off from the whole bloody thing?

Mind you, if there's anything worse than the TV broadcast, it's all those sodding 'charity' events in aid of Children in Need that people insist on organising at work. You know the sort of thing; come to work dressed as a porn actor, or tap dancing on your desk. Needless to say, I will have no truck with any such bollocks. Of course, if one of the local BBC inserts is being broadcast from your town, you might at least get a chance to meet some of your local presenters. Indeed, this year a friend of mine is hoping to meet the object of his obsession the local weather girl. It's like I've told him, all he has to do is turn up at the venue, dressed as a pirate and carrying one of those big prop cheques and its a dead cert he'll get on screen with her as he presents it. By the time anyone realises that there isn't actually any money and the cheque's a fake, it'll be too late - he'll already have groped her. Of course, he'd probably get in without the pirate costume, but it would give me a laugh if I saw him dressed like that, sexually molesting a local TV celebrity. It would almost make watching Children in Need worthwhile.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Swearing Please, We're British

Apparently not saying 'fuck' before the watershed is just as bad as saying it. At least, according to the twisted 'logic' of Ofcom it is. In the wake of the furore over Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand sexually harassing pensioners over the phone (or whatever it was they thought they were doing), the regulator has administered a 'slap on the wrist' to the BBC for the antics of Radio One's Scott Mills. In an item involving his sidekicks having to guess what the words bleeped from the soundtracks of TV and radio programmes were, one of the bleeped words sounded as if it might have been 'fuck'. Except of course, that it wasn't. Not only that, but listeners had already been told that none of the bleeped words were obscenities. Obviously, they couldn't be, as this was being broadcast in the afternoon.

Nevertheless, some idiot listening clearly thought that the word 'fuck' had been uttered. Or rather, not uttered. No, they feared that unsuspecting children who could be listening might think that an expletive had not been spoken, but bleeped out. Now, not only was the word 'fuck' not said, or bleeped, when the clip was played in full, it was obvious that it hadn't been bleeped, as it hadn't been spoken in the first place. However, Ofcom decided that even creating a suspicion that a swear word not only hadn't been spoken, but might have been bleeped, was just as bad as if it had actually been said. Even though it hadn't. Confused? I certainly am. The world has clearly gone stark staring mad.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All Things Must Pass

Maybe it's just that I'm getting old and cantankerous, but this year, more than ever, I feel like I've had the whole remembrance thing and the 90th anniversary of World War One rammed down my throat for what seems like weeks. Without intending any disrespect to those who served in the two world wars, but I really resent the seemingly interminable raking over of them. I bloody know what happened in 1914-18 and 1939-45. I know all the terrible things that happened. I know about the sacrifices. I really don't need to have it regurgitated year after year. Of course, most of it really isn't aimed at me, rather it is targeted at the 'youth of today', who have apparently committed the terrible crime of being ignorant of events which happened long before they were born. The attitude of horror directed at the young for allegedly not appreciating the significance of these wars and the vital roles they played in ensuring their freedoms is quite extraordinary. You might as well chastise them for not knowing about the Napoleonic wars, or the Crimean War, both of which played a big part in shaping the history of Europe.

Mind you, I find it hard to believe that anyone could be ignorant of the details of world wars one and two after the diet of war memoirs we've had to endure. This year, in particular, there seems to have been a real desperation to force the young to supplicate themselves at the feet of veterans and give thanks for their deliverance from tyranny. Of course, this is hardly surprising, as veterans of the first war have now dwindled to a mere handful. Consequently, it is moving out of living memory, and passing into history, as all things eventually must. History is something which is studied, coolly and objectively, without emotion. It is this which seems to frighten many people. Possibly they fear that the war will be re-evaluated and their cherished beliefs about it, derived either from personal experience or tales handed down to them by their grandfathers, will be challenged and declared wrong. But this is the way of things. However, this country really does seem to have an obsession with the two world wars, perhaps because they represented the last time that Britain was, in any sense, a world power, and seems reluctant to let them go and pass peacefully into history.

I'm of a generation that grew up with parents and other adult relative who had experienced world war two first hand. They were always reluctant to talk about the war, and when they did it was a dire warning of the evils of war. They were glad that subsequent generations grew up in an age of (relative) peace. What has disturbed me over the past few years has been an implication in the coverage of Remembrance day, that the young of today should almost be ashamed that they've never been forced to fight a war and make sacrifices. The relentless focus on the depredations of war and the sacrifice of veterans seems to be saying to young people that only war can make you worthy of the rights and freedoms they take for granted. Dangerous nonsense which ignores historical reality. World War One certainly wasn't fought to establish democracy and civil freedoms, but rather to preserve the existing social and economic order, whilst the 1939-45 war was fought (in part) to protect our existing freedoms, it didn't create them. However, by focusing upon these two wars as if they were the only defining events of the modern era is to seriously distort history and to ignore the role played by the many people who didn't fight in wars, in creating and safeguarding our current rights and freedoms. Having the good fortune to have lived in peacetime doesn't make anyone a second class citizen. But like I said, I'm just getting old and cranky.


Monday, November 10, 2008

The Horrors of It All!

Maybe I'm getting old, but increasingly I find modern movies leave me cold. Particularly contemporary horror films. I fear that I'm in danger of turning into one of those fusty old film critics, whose books I used to read when I first became interested in horror films, who are always bemoaning how crass and crude modern day genre films are in comparison to their predecessors. Back in those days you could still find the likes of Carlos Clarens and Dennis Gifford dismissing the Hammer films of the 1950s and 1960s, instead extolling the virtues of the Universal monster series of the 1930s and 1940s, or the Val Lewton's RKO pictures of the 1940s. Personally, I always found this stance incomprehensible, personally speaking, I can enjoy both the Universals and the Hammers equally. You just have to judge them in their original contexts. Nevertheless, as we get older, we tend to idealise the past and view it through rose-tinted spectacles, resolutely insisting that it everything about it was so much better than the way they are now. It's all part of the inevitable yearning for our lost youths we all fall into sooner or later. Consequently, there was entire generation of film critics who insisted that even those threadbare old Monogram and PRC poverty row pot-boilers were superior to the later Hammer and AIP productions, which they most patently aren't.

All of which brings me, eventually, back to my original point - my reaction to modern horror films. The other day I finally got around to watching Hostel, a horror flick from a couple of years ago that quite a few friends and acquaintances had rated. To be frank, I wasn't impressed. The whole thing came over as merely unpleasant, rather than being horrific. However, unlike the critics who preferred Monogram to Hammer, it wasn't the level of blood and gore which put me off of this new-fangled horror. Indeed, I was mildly surprised at how little explicit gore there was in Hostel. No, my problems with it centred around its poorly structured plot, which stumbled along in fits and starts, often with no logical development between consecutive scenes. Consequently, it completely lacked any suspense, atmosphere or element of surprise. When a complete lack of sympathetic characters is added to this, the end result is a dull and unclear narrative which seemed much longer than its actual running time. Now, to be fair, poor plotting, perfunctory characterisation and an absence of narrative logic need not be a handicap to enjoying a film. Prior to watching Hostel, I'd watched a trio of old Universal horrors: Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Werewolf of London and She-Wolf of London. None of these can be said to have entirely coherent plots or realistic characterisations, but they do have a lot of atmosphere, a certain degree of suspense and, above all, an air of absolute lunacy, which makes them curiously enjoyable.

In the case of Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, the entertainment value is enhanced by drastic pre-release editing, which contrives to produce a truly lunatic performance by Bela Lugosi as the Monster, which only makes sense if you know that he's meant to be blind for most of the picture. Sadly, the editing removed all references to this. The Werewolf of London, must be the only lycanthrope who puts on his hat, coat and scarf before he goes out and commits his terrible depredations. By contrast, she-wolf>is somewhat less entertaining, due to many of the same faults that marred Hostel for me - poor plotting, unsympathetic characters and a lack of suspense. It is partially redeemed by some atmospheric sequences and good production values. All of which, I hope, goes to show that those old classic horrors can be just as flawed as their modern equivalents. The difference being that they're somehow still enjoyable. Which isn't to say that all modern horror films leave me cold - Dog Soldiers, for instance, which I also recently saw, was, I thought, highly enjoyable, for mainly the same reasons I still find the older films entertaining - atmosphere, sympathetic characters and a sense of the absurd. So, hopefully I haven't turned into Denis Gifford yet.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

End of the Week Ruminations

The end of another week, and it has been a real up and downer for me. I don't want to dwell on the shitty parts, so instead I'll just mention the election of Barack Obama in the US and Spurs beating Dinamo Zagreb four nil in the UEFA cup as two of the highlights. I also had a moment of brilliant insight during which I finally pinpointed the main underlying reason for the site's drop in traffic over the past few months. It occurred to me that I hadn't seen many vistors from India or Pakistan lately. An analysis of my traffic logs revealed that, since June when the nosedive in traffic started, visits from the Indian sub-continent have all but dried up. Prior to that, I'd been getting significant numbers of visitors from India and Pakistan, most of whom clicked on multiple pages, pushing up the total page loads. It's the loss of this traffic which has pulled down the totals for the past few months. Ironically, over the same period I've actually increased the number of visitors from the US and UK, but not enough to compensate for the loss of Indian and Pakistani traffic.

Of course, the question remains, where has all the traffic from the Indian sub-continent gone? Well, most of it was generated by searches for 'Hollywoodsex' or 'Hollywood Sex', both of which would bring up the story Hollywood Sex Pests on the first or second page of Google results. Now, whilst this search still gives this result for my page on Google US and UK, on Google India and Pakistan, the story has dropped down to the fourth page. Consequently, fewer perverts from these countries are seeing it, as they don't bother to go that far down in their search results. A couple of years ago I had a similar experience, although on a smaller scale, when a story which was getting a lot of hits from Saudi Arabia vanished from the indexes of one of the biggest Saudi search engines. So, what do about it? Probably, not much. The reality is that the US and UK represent my main target audiences so I'd rather concentrate on building these up than trying to recover this lost Asian traffic. Nevertheless, I have tinkered with the meta-tags on the page in question, which might help push it up in the Asian search engine rankings. We'll see if it has any effect over the next week, or so.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hail to The Chief

So, it is finally all over and the US has a new President. I know I'm at least twenty four hours behind everybody else in commenting on the election, but I thought I'd like to reflect for a while on the events of Tuesday night. There's no doubt that there's now a huge weight of expectation upon Barack Obama; expectations that anyone would find difficult to fulfil. Nevertheless, Obama represents a chance for a fresh start for the US and, by extension, the rest of the world. I certainly feel a lot more optimistic about the future now and sincerely hope that we'll see the return of the America I've loved and admired in the past - the America that uses its power benignly and is a progressive force for good. Believe me, these last eight years of Dubya have been hard for us Brits who harbour an affection for the States.

Whilst my personal political views mean that I've favoured Obama throughout the campaign, I feel the need to comment on his opponent, John McCain. His gracious speech conceding the election reaffirmed that he is a very decent and honest man, who could have made a good President. However, my real reservation about a possible McCain presidency lies with his choice of running mate. I'm sure that Governor Palin has many virtues, but I'm afraid that a creationist witch hunter who is anti-choice on abortion and apparently has little grasp of foreign affairs, isn't someone that I'd be happy having a heartbeat away from the presidency. If not for her, I would have felt reasonably happy even if McCain had won the election. But, of course, it wasn't up to me - I'm not a US citizen and - rightly - can't vote in their elections. But I'm glad to say that the US public voted sensibly, recognising the need for positive change. They are to be commended and, thanks to their wise choice, we can all live in hope, until Obama is inaugurated in January and reality kicks in, at least.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bonfire Night

Don't you just hate all those bastards who let off fireworks prematurely? You know the ones I mean; those bastards who make the two weeks running up to Bonfire Night sound like a nightly re-enactment of World War Two, terrorising pets and old people and driving the rest of us up the wall. Well, this year I decided to fight back. The best way to combat these anti-social types, I decided, was to deprive them of their arsenals, by launching pre-emptive strikes on their fireworks. Which is how I came to find myself hiding behind some raspberry canes in a grotty back garden last Saturday evening, using a length of drain pipe to aim a rocket at a garden shed, as my sometime associate Big Sleazy lit the fuse. Now, I have to emphasise here that this wasn't a random attack on some bloke who lives across the back from me and pisses me off every Saturday by revving up his power tools before eight in the morning. Oh no, we had good intelligence (from Two Ton Toby at the Chippie's aunt, who lives across the road from our target), that the shed in question was stacked full of illegal Chinese fireworks. The spectacular way in which the shed exploded after our rocket crashed through its window, seemed to vindicate our suspicions. Unfortunately, it also set the garden's fence ablaze, forcing us to sprint across the lawn, in full view of the house, and jump over the wall into the next garden. Luckily, the occupants were somewhat distracted, as a stray firework from the shed had flown through one of the upstairs windows and set the whole place ablaze.

Thankfully, neither of us was seriously injured in the incident, (although, when we got back to the car, Big Sleazy pointed out that, much to his amusement, the back draft of the rocket we'd fired had singed my hair, depriving me of my left eyebrow and sideburn). Anyway, scorched scalp notwithstanding, we decided to move on to our next target, a bungalow a few streets away. Having heard - from a mate of Toby's brother-in-law Greek Ted - that the illicit firework stash was hidden inside the house, we decided to launch a direct assault, climbing on the roof and dropping a couple of Roman Candles down the chimney. Unfortunately, the resulting blast was so powerful that Big Sleazy was knocked off of the roof, twisting his ankle. Taking time out from laughing at his plight, I ensured the explosive stockpile's destruction by phoning the fire brigade and sending them to the wrong address. Sadly, Big Sleazy's injury rather curtailed our activities, forcing us to abandon our remaining targets. Instead, we opted to drive around for a couple of hours, launching drive-by rocket attacks on any gangs of youths we saw letting off fireworks. This proved surprisingly effective, destroying a couple of firework-laden Vauxhall Novas into the bargain. I like to think our campaign was a success. There certainly seem to have been fewer fireworks let off over the past few days. Let's hope they remember this lesson next year, otherwise we'll be forced out onto the streets again...

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Friday Night Stalk Show...

With Jonathon Ross suspended for three months, just how is the BBC going to fill that hole left in the schedules by the demise of Friday Night With Jonathon Ross? I mean, last week they filled the hole with the film Speed, but hey, there are only two films in the Speed series, so what are they going to do after they've shown Speed 2, eh? That will still leave another eleven weeks to fill. Clearly, what they need is another chat show, preferably with a cheeky irreverent millionaire presenter. The question is - who's available? If they were really desperate they could go for Friday Night with Juande Ramos, in which the hapless former Spurs manager attempts to interview several uncomprehending guests in Spanish, aided and abetted by hilarious comedy sidekick Gus Poyet attempting to translate. Not only does Ramos have the same initials as Ross, he also has a speech impediment - in that he can't speak English - and, if we're to believe the press, he's a millionaire thanks to his severance settlement from Tottenham. Moreover, like Ross, he succeeded in offending a huge number of people with his offensive team selections and reprehensible tactics.

However, I feel that the BBC would be better advised to look to the world of entertainment for a replacement for Ross. But perhaps with a harder edge and less conventional approach. How about Keith Allen with an edgy new format where he confronts guests he clearly detests and spends fifteen minutes solidly abusing each of them. There's no doubt it would make a refreshing change from the usual celebrity love-ins, with the host blowing smoke up the guests' arses - guests who would only appear on condition that they would be able to plug their book/film/shoes/new range of condoms or whatever. Mind you, I can't help but feel that the Beeb should take this opportunity to completely rethink the whole concept of the chat show. Instead of inviting on guests and allowing them to veto potential questions and the like, they should instead pioneer a new format in which potential guests are hunted down by a non-celebrity host. They could spend he whole week following them and secretly filming them as they attempt to persuade them onto the show. If they refuse to appear, then they can simply show an edited digest of their week's celebrity stalking on the Friday night programme. I think it could be a winner, stripping away the glossy veneer of celebrity and instead snatching illicit footage of them on the toilet, scratching their arses and the like. Instead of putting these overpaid bastards on a pedestal, we'd finally have a programme that cut them down to size. Now, where's that e-mail address for Mark Thompson...

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Driven to Success

So, the new Formula One champion is a young black guy - is this a favourable portent for tomorrow's Presidential election in the US? Will Obama be able to emulate Lewis Hamilton? Indeed, will he think he's won the election only to find himself disqualified on a technicality, as happened to Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix? To be honest, I really thought they'd find some reason to strip him of fifth place yesterday, thereby depriving him of the title. I was fully expecting to hear that he'd been suspended pending an enquiry after it was found that he'd been making obscene phone calls to Massa on his hands free kit during the race. Possibly saying "I've fucked your grandmother" or such like. Undoubtedly the Daily Mail would then have run with the story, pointing out that not only was he making offensive calls, but by doing so whilst driving, he was endangering other road users, and encouraging readers to complain to the sport's governing body.

To be quite honest, I was half expecting to see some kind of radical intervention to try and deny Hamilton his triumph. Suicidal Spanish racists leaping onto the track in his car's path, for instance. Probably with their faces blacked up and wearing Afro wigs. They're just so amusing, these bigots, aren't they? Even as the race neared its climax I expected to see a police car swerve onto the track. lights flashing and siren wailing, and proceed to pull Hamilton over on the grounds that he was a young black man driving a Mercedes. "Do you have any documents for this vehicle, sir? No. Oh, it's a company car is it, sir? I see. Have permission to drive it do we?" (Although quite what a couple of British traffic cops would be doing in Brazil I don't know - they don't even have the pretext of Ronnie Biggs living there anymore). Amazingly though, the result still stands twenty four hours later. Let's hope tomorrow's election similarly goes off without incident.