Monthly Archives: May 2009

ten minutes hate

When this blog was named (by a very talented writer, if a slacker when it comes to updates) and I was looking to see if anyone else had been similarly inspired, I stumbled across something from the States defining a ten minutes hate as the home straight in a hotly contested election.   So now here we are.  Just five days away from something which we are promised will be a cross between Judgement Night, the Second Coming and Armaggeddon. Does everyone have their popcorn and beers at the ready?

Because there is nothing the people of Britain enjoy more than a little light bear baiting.  Although, given our reputation for loving animals and since Parliament rather stupidly outlawed the use of bears in 1835, these days we have switched to chaining politicians to a stake and poking them with sharpened sticks instead.  Much more humane.

This could be the least optimistic election since records began, since this time we will not be voting FOR anything, especially not the change of government that we would mostly like to see, but simply chucking a well-aimed, ‘NONE OF THE ABOVE’-shaped spanner into the works.  I know what I would like to vote against: expense cheats; fascists; expansions in state control.  Where to find a party that reflects all that?  And so, like many other people, I follow a party like it is a football team: my side, right or wrong, trying not to notice that the old loyalties are as outdated as the ideologies.  Labour don’t want to be the party of the workers any more than the Tories want to be toffs.  The Libbies would love to be the natural alternative, and are happy that people are suddenly thinking of them, but how can you vote for a party that can’t even run a website?

A parliament of individuals, independant and owing nothing to any outside interest, whip or Beloved Leader would be ideal.  A bloody nightmare in practice.  The European model of loose coalitions of like-minded fellow travellers perhaps.  Or instead, what some commentators seem to fear, a Parliament of celebrities coalescing around populist issues like the Gurkha campaign.  For myself, I would need to find a party believing in low taxes, shorter working hours and the right to stay up late.  Find me that party and they can have my ‘X’.

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I had this perfect dream

Camp Nou Match Night

Camp Nou Match Night

The club of the people v the evil hordes from Castle Greyskull?

In the end, only one team turned up to try to win the game.  I thought that the Mancs seemed to have a sense of entitlement, as if it was theirs for the taking: ‘Barcelona were a bit lucky to be there’, said Cristiano Ronaldo afterwards, whereas I would have said that, after the yawnfest of last year’s final (John Terry’s slip being one of the few stand out moments for the ‘neutral’ who was hoping both sides could somehow contrive to lose) it was us who were lucky to have the Catalans there.

They were a joy to watch.  Messi had been given top billing before the game, but it was Iniesta who, to my mind, shone brighter than his team mate.  Alongside Xavi he bossed the midfield, keeping possession in the acres of space allowed to him by the United players.  Given their history it was difficult to write them off even at two goals down, so when Ronaldo had a cast iron chance all I could think was ‘here they go, back in it, the undeserving bastards’ but no, he fluffed his shot and the good guys came through to lift the trophy.

And make no mistake, although football tries very hard to be unloveable these days, Barca are the good guys.  From turning down untold millions offered by potential shirt sponsors in order to give away the space to Unicef, to acting as a rallying point for Catalonia during the darkest days of the region’s history, when attempts were made to supress the language and culture, to refusing to compromise on the silkiness of their pass and move game in favour of something more direct, Barcelona is definitely ‘more than a club’.

Truly, today, football was beautiful.


Filed under The Golden Country


They met on a crowded dance floor, swapped greetings, pretend-clinked their plastic pints.

“What are you doing here?”

“Oh, I heard someone was playing.  Name of Dando?”

“Yeah, it’s Evan Dando!”

“I know.”  He laughed.  “It was a joke.”

She walked off.

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The eternal catwalk of life

The girls cross at the lights, weaving in and out of the cars diagonally over the road.  Their heels are vertiginous, six inches at least; they walk as if en pointe.  Mostly they stride, as if born to walk on tiptoes, but there is one, tripping along after her friends, who already looks sunk.  It is the early part of the evening, the sun has yet to set over the 333 and you can tell that she is feeling them, with every step so conscious of how she places her feet.  The kerb almost catches her adrift as she has to negotiate the change in camber, moving as if the pavement slab was Beecher’s Brook.  The look on her face is trepidation with a dash of terror. 

She is the exception, though; most of the girls strut along the eternal catwalk of life.  They trot, skip, run even, some of the bolder ones, all on heels and platforms that look as if they were never dreamt of for moving any further distance than that between chair and bed.  They are fuck-me-shoes, the modern equivalent of bound feet perhaps, they are ruining their backs and their calves, they look amazing, they give every man within range a concrete hard on.  All the arguments for and against stack up, but it can’t be denied: they do look amazing.

Then I remember, this is an evening of gigs, we are attending, ladies.  Not the Met Gala.  There will be broken glass, discarded bottles and cracked plastic cups under foot within moments.  How will you negotiate darkened dance floors strewn with unloved flyers and trailed loo roll?  How are you going to flit between venues when you can’t feel the blood in your toes?  How much vodka will you need to drink to still be dancing at 2am? 

Which is truly sexier: standing in front of the stage yelling for one more tune because damn it, you aren’t ready to go yet or sending your miserable boyfriend out to find a taxi because damn it, you’re not moving one more step?

Then I look down at my battered, once-white pumps, look back up across the road at the girl limping behind her friends, realise the answer and softly laugh to myself.

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That apology in full

To recap:

We’re sorry we got caught.  We’re sorry the newspapers are full of mindless tedium about what we chose to spend your money on, instead of the usual rehearsed platitudes and rewritten press releases.  We hope we can draw a line under this terrible set of events so that normal business can be resumed without delay.  Please don’t vote for the BNP.

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Anarchy in the UK

From fashion magazine Plastique comes news that:

Ever present bold costume jewellery and statement shoes are paired this season with an anarchic attitude and the desire for change.  Take a stand.  Be counted.

I’m a woman.  A woman who likes clothes.  A woman who sometimes looks good in clothes.  Yet I read the above and, dear me, I shudder.  This season’s anarchic attitude: I hope it will survive until Autumn/Winter and not find itself replaced with something more submissive.  I want it to be more than a case of striking the right pose.  I dare to cheer, to applaud the sentiment, even as I worry that Plastique’s take on this is still to, you know, buy stuff.

And no sooner had I thought that, do I find here:

No one gives a shit about democracy any more,” says Joe Corré when I ask him about his political beliefs. “You vote left or you vote right and you just get the same old crap. The only real choice people have now is where they spend their money. That’s what democracy’s come down to in Britain.

So that seems conclusive.  This season, prove your anarchist credentials with nothing more than some cracking underwear and a studied air of rebellion.  The only direct action you need take is a swipe of the plastic and the entering of your PIN.  To the barricades Oxford Street, comrades!

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