Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011 at The Sleaze

Halloween again. Amongst watching the various bad Halloween sequels and other assorted 'horror' films on TV over the past few days, I've also found time to knock up an official Halloween 2011 story for The Sleaze: Horrible Sexy Ghosts. (I don't know why I say 'official' Halloween story - it isn't as if there's anyone going around illicitly writing and posting 'unofficial' stories, after all). The title is a homage to the 1970s continental schlock horror flick Horrible Sexy Vampire. Not that I've ever seen it - I know it only by reputation - but I've always loved the title. Usually I celebrate Halloween by having a vague supernatural/horror theme to all the stories I publish on the site during October. I must admit that this year the theme has been very vague: that said, they included a murdered prostitute, evil children created as homunculi by a mad Nazi scientist and demonic doppelgangers. I was hoping to be able to post a suitably themed film here as well, but unfortunately I just haven't had the time to edit together the footage. It will just have to wait until another time.

So, I've posted the Halloween story, poured boiling over the trick-or-treaters, sabotaged the neighbours' pumpkins by replacing the candles with bangers, now it's time for my Halloween to begin in earnest. It's time to put on my latest Halloween costume and cause havoc by scaring the shit out of the little bastards who go around knocking on people's doors this time of year and irritating them. This year I've plumped for the Jimmy Saville mask. Let's face it, he looked like a member of the undead when he was alive, so now that he's finally dead, he's doubly scary. Believe me, the children of Crapchester will soon be fleeing in fear from the bleached blonde, medallion wearing zombie lurching through the streets, gurgling 'Now then, now then', and 'How's about that then...' before yodelling and waving his cigar at them. Actually, since he died, there's been lots of talk about what a nice man Saville was and how much money he raised for charity. That's all well and good, but the fact is that I always found him more than a little creepy - especially when I was a child. Not that I'm saying he was a closet nonce or anything. But he did support Maggie Thatcher, and that's almost as bad.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Hard of Hearing?

They're a bloody scourge on our streets. No, not cyclists, (although they are a bloody menace as well). I'm talking about those idiots who wander around with earphones in, listening to their bloody iPods (or other generic MP3 players). They really get on my wick, wandering around, oblivious to every thing going on around them, stepping in front of cars, holding up queues and generally being tossers. People with mobile phones clamped to their ears are almost as bad. These latter specimens especially annoy me when they persist on talking on their phone whilst they are being served in a shop - it really is the height of rudeness. No, really. It is. It shows an utter contempt for the person serving you if you treat them as if they aren't there by carrying on a phone conversation rather than give them your attention. It also shows contempt for other shoppers, as attempting to pack your shopping bags single handed holds up the whole queue at the tills.

But I'm straying from the point - let's get back to those bastards with the earphones. Like I said, they are a menace. Accidents just waiting to happen. Just this morning I found myself impeded by one of them as I attempted to exit the car park where my car lives overnight. Before I go on, I should explain that the car park is sub-divided into two main sections, with a pedestrian walkway as the divider. There are only two places where you can cross this walkway in a car. Unfortunately, in order to get to the main road every morning, I have to use one of these crossings. Now, if there's someone walking down the pedestrianised area, I have no problem in giving them right of way and letting them pass. But do the buggers actually use this route to cross the car park on foot? No the bloody well don't. They just wander across it willy-nilly, usually glaring angrily at motorists who have the audacity to try and move their cars into or out of parking spaces as they walk in front of, or behind them, as they manoeuvre.

Anyway, getting to the point, there I was this morning, negotiating the crossing point, when this bloody girl, wearing a tight skirt and with earphones plugged in, wanders in front of me, apparently unaware of my car's presence, forcing me to brake, then attempt to get around her as she meandered toward the crossing point, (she'd decided to cut across the side of the car park I was entering on my way to the exit, then join the pedestrian walkway halfway down, instead of using it properly). She still didn't seem to be aware of the nuisance she was causing even as she walked past me. I was sorely tempted to wind down the window and shout "You're a bloody menace - and yes, that skirt you are wearing does make your bum look big!" But I just couldn't be bothered.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lacking Inspiration

Every so often I sit down to make a post here and realise that, for whatever reason, my mind is a blank. Whatever I had planned to write has either gone out of my head completely, or else suddenly seems unimportant. There are a lot of reasons for this: sometimes it is because I'm feeling unwell, sometimes I'm too preoccupied with other stuff and sometimes, like today, I've had a shitty day. Today was the day that I finally had it confirmed that the world truly has gone mad and that this country really is a banana republic. However, as all of this is work-related and I'm not prepared to discuss anything directly connected to my day job here anymore, (too many people can connect Doc Sleaze to the real me these days), I can't elaborate. Suffice to say that I now find myself in a quandary, contemplating what to do with information I now have. Doing nothing isn't an option. But the question remains as to what exactly to do, and when best to do it. That said, even before I can begin to answer those questions, I need to be clear in my own mind as to my motivation - I need to be sure that this isn't about evening a personal score or massaging my ego.

Anyway, getting back to my original point - lack of inspiration when it comes to posting here. I actually find these impasses quite useful. It's a surprisingly good intellectual exercise to force myself to write something, even when the ideas and creativity aren't flowing. The fact is that you can always find something to fill a few column inches. And once you start writing, it becomes inspirational - all those other writing projects which I couldn't make any progress on suddenly start to return to life. Over the past few days, for instance, I've been struggling to get started on a proper Halloween story for The Sleaze. I had an idea for a story, for sure, I even knew some of the scenes I wanted in it, but it was stubbornly refusing to take any kind of shape. The structure was eluding me and, without structure, I find it difficult to create. After several abortive attempts over the past few days, last night I finally managed an opening sentence I liked, but nothing else. But during the course of writing this, the structure has become clearer - I now have a pretty good idea of the story's shape and how it should progress from that opening line. Now, there's a chance that by tomorrow, when I'll finally have time to resume writing the story, I could have lost creative momentum again, but usually I find that once jump-started like this, the creativity keeps flowing. Well, there you are - I've written a post after all!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Root of All Evil

Standards of news reporting really do seem to be declining at an alarmingly rapid rate. On Sunday I was watching the BBC News Channel and was startled to hear the newsreader declare that "the Occupy London protesters had forced church authorities to close St Paul's Cathedral to the public". An astounding statement, considering that the protesters had done nothing but set up a camp near the cathedral, they certainly hadn't forced anyone to do anything. The church authorities decided to close the cathedral (a complete volte face from their position the previous weekend), using vague health and safety concerns surrounding the camp as a flimsy pretext. Shamefully, their real concern is that the cathedral shop could be losing custom because of the camp's presence. God and Mammon, together at last, eh?

Now, I don't want to get into the game of 'what would Jesus do?', and I'm not a religious person, but, based upon my, admittedly limited, biblical knowledge, I can't help but feel that he'd be outside St Paul's with the protesters. I do seem to recall hum saying something along the lines of the pursuit of money being the root of all evil. Not to mention that business about camels, rich men and eyes of needles. Oh, and he threw the money lenders out of the temple. Now, bearing in mind that these 'Occupy' protests are about holding bankers and their ilk to account for their part in the global financial crisis, (whilst all the time lining their own pockets), I don't think it is much of a stretch to believe that their Saviour would be unlikely to approve of the church authorities' actions and rhetoric on the issue. Bearing in mind that the current Archbishop of Canterbury is fond of telling everyone that he's some kind of hairy hippie leftie, I'd like to know what he proposes doing about the situation? Can we look forward to seeing him sack the Dean of St Paul's and reopen the cathedral? I'm not holding my breath.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't Worry, They're The Good Guys...

Picking up from where we left off last time - the new regime in Libya. Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm no fan of Gaddafi and I don't intend acting as an apologist for his regime - although, I can't deny the simple fact that David Cameron was opposed to him made me feel a certain sympathy for the late colonel - but the rush to endorse his opponents during the civil war smacked of naivety. Either that, or simple opportunism. As the aftermath of Gaddafi's defeat has shown, the rebels conduct also leaves something to be desired, with massacres of Gaddafi supporters and the destruction of their homes and the rounding up and shooting of black African mercenaries just the tip of the iceberg, I suspect. But never mind, they're the good guys, our leaders keep telling us, as if that makes human rights abuses of the sort we condemned Gaddafi for, OK. Personally, I blame Star Wars for this moral confusion.

You see, these guys in Libya were originally referred to as 'the rebels' and, as everyone knows, in Star Wars the rebels are the good guys. Luke Skywalker was a rebel and he was heroic - it therefore follows that the Libyan rebels must be heroic as well. Otherwise they wouldn't call themselves rebels, would they? Besides, the rebels in Star Wars had no qualms about inflicting a bit of collateral damage, did they? What about all those civilian workers constructing the incomplete 'Death Star' in the third film, eh? I'm sure most of them were blown to bits when they destroyed it. Hell, there are probably deleted scenes in Return of The Jedi which show the victorious rebels destroying the defeated Emperor's home planet - the entire population had supported the bastard, so they deserved it, didn't they? Not to mention the lost sequences where Chewbacca rounds up those green-skinned plant mercenaries from Arcturus IV the Emperor had been employing. The raping bastards deserved it, going around and sticking their tubers into innocent cacti on Tatooine, injecting them with their filthy chlorophyll...

The point I'm trying to make, (if, indeed, there is a point to all this), is that it is very naive to assume that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Just because one horrible dictator has been deposed, it's no guarantee that the regime replacing him will be any better. We really need to be very careful as to exactly who we boost into power in places like Libya. Sadly, I suspect that opportunism and self interest are the main criteria, rather than considerations about human rights and commitments to democracy and political tolerance. I strongly suspect that the Libyan rebels' main credentials when it came to getting Western support was simply to be pro-multinational oil companies.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Death in the Desert

Well, that's a great start for the new, supposedly democratic and non-repressive regime in Libya - "We captured Gaddafi alive, but then we shot him". Failed the commitment to human rights test at the first attempt with that, I'm afraid. But then, I'm one of those bleeding heart liberal types who, unlike the current Home Secretary, believes that such commitments are an intrinsic part of any society which wants to claim to be fair and free. I really get fed up with the morons who bleat on about how the only 'human rights' that get observed as those of criminals, ("What about the rights of Gaddafi's victims?" they'll doubtless cry in response to this post). It's one of the tests of a truly civilised society that it is prepared to protect the rights of even its most reviled and repugnant members. Doing so is one of things which differentiates us from them. Moreover, by protecting their rights, we also guarantee our own.

However, we're in danger of losing sight of the original point of this post - Gaddafi and Libya. I can't deny that these Libyan rebels (now government) have always left me a bit cold. Apart from not being Colonel Gaddafi, it has never really been clear what they are. I suppose I first had my doubts when I saw that rebel on the news, after some battle against Gaddafi's forces, triumphantly waving a pair of boxer shorts, presumably a trophy of the battle. Unfortunately, such buffoonery doesn't seem to have been an isolated incident. Recently, during the siege of Sirte, I saw footage of a bloke driving up to the rebel front line in his people mover, leaping out and lighting the fuse on what appeared to be a firework rocket strapped to the roof of his vehicle, firing it toward the besieged city. Then there was the interview with the rebel military leader, who complained that many of the Gaddafi loyalists weren't wearing uniforms - this coming from a man wearing a check shirt, something not commented on by the interviewer. All in all, it doesn't bode well - they seem to have exchanged one clown for a whole bunch of them.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Offensive Language?

So, does the use of the word 'mong' offend you? Or is it just Ricky Gervais who causes offence? It's difficult to tell which in the current 'debate' over the comic's use of the term on Twitter as a term of mild, 'friendly' abuse. Gervais' contention is that the word - which has, in the past, been used as a derogatory term for people with Downs Syndrome - has changed meaning, rather like 'gay' has, to a less offensive usage. I must admit, that I hadn't heard the term 'mong' until last year, and then it was being employed in the same manner as Gervais uses it now, so he might well have a point. However, whilst he is quite right that popular usage can change the meaning of words over time, I have to say that 'gay', for instance, was never used as a derogatory term for anything, as far as I'm aware. Clearly, Gervais has set out to cause controversy and he's certainly succeeded.

Perhaps the main lesson to be learned from this is that maybe Gervais was right in his initial assessment and abandonment of Twitter. As I recall, one of the things he disliked was its use by celebrities to talk to each other in public. I wholeheartedly agree with him on this one. Celebrities are one of the most irritating things about Twitter. In fact, they're one of the most irritating things about the web generally. As a rule of thumb, you can always tell when a neighbourhood is going downhill when the celebrities move in - it's the same with web applications. Once those publicity hungry bastards start using something like Twitter, it becomes far less interesting, as they reduce it to yet another tool for massaging their egos. They rarely have anything worthwhile or interesting to say and most certainly aren't interested in actually communicating with anyone but their showbiz friends. Just use your phones for your inane conversations, like everyone else! The only thing worse than a celebrity infestation are marketers - they'll really destroy any networking application or community with their tired sales patter and snake oil sales pitches. Mongs.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Youth of Today...

Sometimes you see something which is clearly well-intentioned but which, nonetheless, leaves you asking: 'what's the bloody point?' Which is precisely my reaction to the BBC's current strand on youth unemployment. It is perfectly reasonable to ask questions about the attitudes of the 'youth of today' toward employment, whether their expectations are too high, whether they have too much sense of entitlement or whether too much exposure to reality TV and TV talent shows has left them believing that you can go straight to the top, without all that career progression nonsense. However, the obvious fact is that the reason youth unemployment is currently so high, is simply because there aren't sufficient jobs of any description out there. Which rather renders the earnest discussions on the BBC's current programming utterly irrelevant.

From what I've seen of the TV segments of the strand, it also seems to be falling into the tired old cliches of graduates seeing non-graduate positions as 'beneath' them, and various 'self made' business people lecturing young unemployed people on how they should take any jobs going, and how doing even menial work is a valuable experience and 'character forming'. Again, the trouble with all of this is that when there are no jobs available, it is all academic. Moreover, it's largely bollocks. I'm a graduate, and like most graduates, I've done all manner of crappy low paid jobs for which I have no aptitude at various times, in order to make ends meet. Indeed, I'm pretty much doing such a job now. You do what you have to do in order to pay the bills. That said, I can't say I've found any of these work experiences particularly valuable or 'character forming'. That's a myth perpetuated by unscrupulous employers to justify poor conditions and low pay. The only lesson I've learned from any of these jobs is the shocking degree to which employers will exploit people, particularly those from the lower end of the social scale.

These programmes fall into the trap of believing that people have 'ideal jobs' that they should aspire to, and that anything else is just a stepping stone to this. Unfortunately, this implies that if you don't ever achieve this ideal. you've somehow failed. The reality is that most people have little choice in the kind of work they do, or much hope of 'progression'. I stopped believing in this employment 'Shangri La' a long time ago - I've come to the conclusion that the ancient Greeks had it right, that all work is disutility, a punishment placed on man by the gods. As a result, I've stopped worrying about what I do to earn a living - my job doesn't define me, it is merely something I do, rather than being a reflection of who I actually am.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Back in The Forest

Another film from my holidays back in August/September. We're back in the New Forest for this one. Basically, it's three episodes. or vignettes, filmed on the same day, at different locations, in the forest. The only linking theme is that they all feature running water. I'd toyed with the idea of editing them into three separate films, but eventually decided to compile them into one lengthy (by my standards) film. A bit like one of those Amicus anthology horror films from the seventies, I suppose. Albeit with better production values. Anyway, here it is:

This film features music from a new source: The tracks on offer there vary in quality, but there's a pretty wide range to choose from and, hell, it's free! What more do you want?

The middle section - 'The Bridge' - illustrates, once more, my belief that the right music can fundamentally alter the viewer's perception of a scene. Here, the creepy music gives the whole sequence an air of menace and unease. Which is completely at odds with the reality of the situation - it was filmed on a beautiful warm and sunny afternoon, with no sense of threat whatsoever. Indeed, despite the impression of remoteness the music helps to create, the bridge itself was only a few hundred yards from the road in one direction, and a cottage in the other. Likewise, the other two locations were only a matter of yards from car parks and other visitors.

One last point, it isn't the same stream in all three episodes. The first stream (seen close to its source in the film) eventually flows into the river Avon. The second waterway eventually joins the Highland Water, which is featured in the third episode, before joining the Lymington River and flowing into the Solent.


Friday, October 14, 2011

A Dump in the Park

Another day, another ministerial scandal. This time it is Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin dumping in a public park in London. I know that government ministers, drunk on their new found power, often develop strange fetishes, like shagging blokes on Clapham Common, but really - taking a dump in a park? To make it worse, he was apparently using his official correspondence to wipe his arse. At least, that's what I initially thought, having misread another headline. Actually, I think a story about a Tory minister burying a quaker in Regent's Park would have been far more interesting - especially if accompanied by a few pictures of Letwin straining in the shrubs, his trousers and underwear around his ankles, and an armed bodyguard keeping watch.

The papers could then have followed the pictures up with an interview with a grossly offended constituent, who had been shown the letter they had sent Letwin, now crumpled up and covered in skid marks, which reporters had recovered from the park. The tabloids could have had tales of parties of school children left traumatised by having seen a government minister taking a shit in a public place, whilst Radio Four could have run a story about how the stench from his public crappings was killing the wildlife in the park. But sadly, Letwin instead decided to be a common or garden idiot, and just dispose of his ministerial correspondence in waste bins in public parks. I know the government's spending cuts are even being felt in Whitehall, but you'd think they could still afford a shredder for ministerial offices, wouldn't you?


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pulp Fiction

I've just received a couple of DVDs I recently ordered from Amazon, (thankfully, they sent them by Royal Mail, rather than HDNL or Yodel, or whatever they're calling themselves this week, so they were delivered promptly), X - The Unknown and The Abominable Snowman, both from the days when Hammer were still shooting their films in monochrome. I'm still awaiting the arrival of a double DVD of The Vampire Lovers and Lust For a Vampire, from Hammer's lesbian vampire period, and a mid-sixties AIP pulp horror/science fiction concoction filmed in the UK and inspired by an H P Lovecraft story: Die, Monster, Die. It occurred to me that these titles are fairly typical of my DVD collection - B-Movies, exploitation and the like, predominantly from the 1960s and 1970s. Now, the fact is that I don't mistake these for cinematic high art - I enjoy them for what they are: escapist entertainment. Before you write me off as a cinematic philistine, the fact is that I've watched, and enjoyed, plenty of high brow movies and art house pictures. However, the fact is that, given the choice of watching one of those again, or viewing Quatermass and The Pit, (the 1967 Hammer feature film version), for the thirty third time, I'm afraid that the good Professor and that crashed Martian spaceship win every time.

But why is this? What is the attraction of these low-rent potboilers? In part, it is their sheer watchability, (if that's a real word). That said, not all low-budget films are watchable - I've seen plenty that aren't due to threadbare production values, non-direction and woefully bad actors. These don't stand repeated viewings. The sort of product I like is the classier end of exploitation, which successfully disguise their lack of budget with good art direction, imaginative cinematography and clever direction. Indeed, it is those aspects which make them fascinating to watch - through necessity, they often show far more ingenuity and imagination in their story-telling than most big budget epics. Moreover, like their pulp-magazine ancestors, they often contain far more genuine 'ideas', (albeit frequently poorly developed), than most serious works. All these things combine to give the best of these films a strange and compelling ambience, a kind of surreal feel - they create their own weird world with its own rules and logic, which all make sense, providing you are prepared to suspend your disbelief for the duration, and just go with the flow. Most of all though, they are designed to be enjoyed, whereas more 'worthy' movies, with their technical brilliance. literate scripts and mannered acting performances, seem designed to be admired, engaging our intellect rather than our emotions. Pulp by-passes the intellect and instead appeals to our basest fears , recognising that film isn't about rationality, rather it is about raw feelings and imagery. So, bring on those lesbian vampires!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Steal, or No Steal?

So, here's an idea for a new TV game show with a contemporary feel. You get two teams - one made up of rioters, the other of city-types and bankers - and set them loose on two identical streets. They both have an hour to see how much they can loot, rip-off and generally steal, each using their unique skills. You know something, I can guarantee which team will win hands down - there's no doubt that the stockbrokers and bankers will end up several million quid better off as the result of persuading shopkeepers and customers into various dodgy investment schemes, share deals and futures trading. Whereas the rioters will end up with a few hundred quids worth of plasma TVs, trainers, mobile phone chargers and bottled water.

I'm also pretty sure that the same team will win the second round, where they have to face a real judge for sentencing, hands down as well. Whilst the rioters will undoubtedly all get custodial sentences, the city slickers will walk free. If they're really unlucky, they might get community service or a suspended sentence. But no jail time. Anyway, I think this one could be a real ratings winner. I mean, it's got everything - broadcasters could sell it as serious social commentary, whilst guaranteeing middle class viewers the chance to sneer at a bunch of chavs and enjoy some authentic street violence, whilst simultaneously condemning it. A shoe-in for Channel Four, surely?

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Out Foxed?

Well, all I can say is - what do you expect if you employ an ex-Capital FM DJ as Defence Secretary? As soon as I saw that Cameron had appointed 'Doctor' Fox to a cabinet post, I just knew that trouble would inevitably follow. It didn't help that he only took the job because Capital had passed him over for the breakfast slot after Chris Tarrant left, and he wanted to show them what a bad mistake they'd made. But the fact is that playing mediocre middle of the road pop to mediocre middle-aged listeners, interspersed with some inane egotistical chat, isn't a good preparation for running a major government department. I mean, his attempts to answer difficult questions in the Commons by playing a jingle were woeful, as was his constant use of a musical 'bed' behind all his statements. And the less said about his countdown of the 'Top Ten Defence Spending Cuts', the better.

So, we shouldn't really be surprised that he's been letting one of his mates sit in on meetings and the like. It's standard practice for radio DJs - they all have sidekicks, don't they? Chris Moyles has Comedy Dave, Mark Radcliffe has got Stuart Maconie, Colin had Edith, Geoff had Pete and so on, so it's only natural that Foxy should have this Adam guy. I daresay that he performed the usual sidekick functions of simultaneously being a foil for Foxy's 'hilarious' insults, whilst also sycophantically boosting Foxy's ego by constantly pointing out how brilliant he was. After all, Foxy needed all the support he could get, faced with all those military types and civil servants who seem to think that just because you've been doing a job for years, it means that you know what you are doing. Still, even if Dave is forced to sack him, it isn't necessarily the end of he road - there's bound to be a breakfast slot at some local radio station available. Either that or a Defence brief in the government of some tinpot banana republic somewhere...


Friday, October 07, 2011

Naked Fear

I saw another of those misleading headlines the other day. This time it was on Ceefax: 'Family rescued from nudist beach'. For me, it conjured up nightmare visions of a party of lost holidaymakers, standing atop a sand dune, trying to fend off hordes of ferocious naturists. In my mind's eye I could see the terrified expressions on the children's faces, as their mother desperately tries to shield them from the depredations of a pack of naked penises, whilst their father attempts to hold some bared breasts at bay with a piece of driftwood. Just in the nick of time, I imagined, they were hoisted to safety by a rescue helicopter, nude hairy arses snapping at their heels. Sadly, of course, the actual story, when I read it, was mundane - a family's boat had run aground and been beached on a remote naturist beach, and they had to be taken off by a lifeboat.

However, the title fascinates, conveying a clear sub-text that nudist beaches, and by extension unclothed human bodies, are somehow a threat. Why else, after all, would anyone need to be 'rescued' from them? I find it astounding that, in this supposedly permissive era, the popular press in the UK still finds the very concept of nudity intimidating. Apparently, it's OK to have topless models on Page Three and bared breasts, bums and simulated sex in TV dramas, but the idea of normal people getting their wangs out it still repulsive. As regular readers know, I'm not a great fan of naturism - I'm firmly of the belief that, for aesthetic reasons if nothing else, most human bodies (mine included) should be kept covered up. That said, I really don't find the concept of naked genitalia offensive, per se. I just think there's a time and a place for it - nudist beaches being one of them. Consequently, being shipwrecked on one shouldn't be treated as being akin to being washed up on a cannibal-infested uncharted island!

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Tory Bastards

Flee the country. It's the only solution, as far as I can see. A week of the Tory Party conference has left me even more depressed and despairing than Google's ongoing trashing of the web, (the number of small site owners giving up in the face of Google's capping of their traffic is shocking). Anyone who still doubted that the Tories were evil bastards must surely have had their eyes opened after the last few days. Don't try and delude yourself that the likes of Theresa May and her hatred of the very concept of human rights is an aberration. Sadly, she represents the mainstream of Tory 'thought'. You only had to listen to 'Gorgeous' George Osborne's speech to realise that - this is the man whose prescription for economic recovery involves stripping away yet more of workers' rights, particularly those to do with unfair dismissal.

You see, these bastards don't believe in the concept of 'human rights - that is, that there should be certain basic rights which the simple fact of being human confers upon us, and that these should be enshrined in law so as to govern the way we treat each other and the way the state treats us. These are people who see themselves as an elite, the natural ruling class. As far as they are concerned, the only rights you can have are those they allow you to have. And you should be grateful for those. It is a throwback to the days when monarchs claimed to rule by divine right and, consequently, were able to wield their power arbitrarily. People think I'm joking or exaggerating when I say that this government wants to take us back to that kind of feudal society, where workers are effectively chattels, their livelihoods dependent upon the whims of the rich. But the evidence was all there at the Tory conference, embodied in attitudes towards rights displayed by the likes of May and Osborne. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Another Castle (Part Two)

Finally, the second part of my visit to a second coastal castle a few weeks ago. Whilst the previous part focused on the keep. this bit concentrates on the ramparts, (I think that's the right term), and the small exhibition of the site's days as a seaplane/flying boat base.

Toward the end there are several pictures and models of the ill-fated Saunders Roe Princess flying boats on display. This huge aircraft was developed in the early 1950s, when flying boats were already anachronistic. Only three were ever built, and of these. only a single example ever flew. Without any buyers, either military or civil, the three aircraft were eventually cocooned in plastic and put into storage. The two incomplete examples were hauled out of the water and stored just below the castle for more than a decade before being scrapped. A sad end for a beautiful, if redundant, piece of engineering.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Right Turn

I don't know about you, but I spent a large part of yesterday shouting abuse at TV coverage of the Tory party conference. Seeing all those horrible bastards gathered together in one place I was left lamenting the absence of a modern day Claus von Stauffenberg - someone prepared to risk his own life by taking an explosive-filled briefcase into Hitler's briefing room in an attempt to assassinate the dictator. I searched the conference coverage in vain for a glimpse of a one-handed man with a black eye patch and wearing a Nazi uniform, carrying a suspicious package into the conference. Whilst Nazi uniforms aren't unusual at Tory conferences, there were no eye patches in evidence. I guess I'll just have to be patient and wait until next year's conference. But what's so bad about these evil corrupt bastards who have seized power in a political coup, that has driven you to advocate their mass assassination, (even if only in jest - once again, for the benefit of law-enforcement and other morons who might be reading, I'm not really suggesting anyone blow up the Tory conference, it's merely a satirical conceit), I hear you ask.

To be honest, it isn't any one thing. Rather it is the cumulative effect of being exposed to the lunatic proclamations of various right-wing nutters as they desperately try to cling to power. Take that cock-end of a Transport Secretary, Phil Hammond, for instance. as if his moronic utterings about rail travel - apparently it's now just the preserve of the relatively wealthy, and that's OK - the other day, now we have him promising to raise the speed limit to 80mph om motorways. Now, I have no intention of rehashing all the environmental and road safety arguments against this, others can do that better, what appalled me was the 'reasoning' behind this 'policy'. His first response to criticism was to try and claim that the existing speed limit was out of date - apparently it was devised 'in the 1960s, when the speed dial only went up to 70mph'. What the fuck kind of argument is that? Leaving aside the fact that, even in the 1960s, there plenty of production cars in the UK that not only had speedometers which went well above 100mph, they could also actually achieve those speeds. By that same logic, we shouldn't be setting the new speed limit at 80mph, surely? I mean, the speedo in my car goes up to 140mph, (the car can't achieve that speed, it's just the standard instrument that Ford installs in UK Mondeos), many go higher, so any new speed limit should reflect that, by Hammond's logic.

However, better was to come. He followed that piece of reasoning up with the truly astounding observation that as many people were habitually breaking the existing limit, then a change in the law would simply bring them back into legality! Why I'm surprised by this cavalier disregard for the entire concept of actually enforcing laws on the part of a Tory minister, I really don't know. After all, it is the guided by the same logic 'Gorgeous' George Osborne has already used to justify the possible abolition of the top tax rate - so many people are evading it, so we might as well just drop it. Clearly, the new orthodoxy is law making by consensus - if you don't like a law, just ignore it, as nobody in government will support its enforcement. Obviously, this is the approach that supporters of the decriminalisation of drugs should be using - so many people are shooting up, smoking spliffs, snorting coke and the like, on a regular basis, we might just as well change the drug laws to make their activities legal. Of course, it will help if you can show that a significant proportion of these law-breakers are high-earning city types. which shouldn't be too difficult when it comes to cocaine abuse. Getting back to the speed limit, I'm not sure which group of voters the Tories think they can woo with this 'policy' - I mean, Jeremy Clarkson and the other Top Gear cunts are all Tory shits already, aren't they?

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