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Press Freedom 1, Pampered Millionaires 0

All publicity is... what now?It is possible that you are reaching the stage of having no further interest in any of the details of just how appallingly John Terry can behave towards the women daft enough to sleep with him. You may be struggling to see how such knowledge can be considered ‘in the public interest’ rather than ‘stuff I’d rather not know about, cheers’.

However, it is important not to be overly distracted by the finer points of ‘he say, she say’ in this sad case and to recognise that putting tougher conditions on the ‘super-injunctions’, used to spare celebrities’ blushes as well as to point attention away from scandals we really ought to hear about, is something to be applauded.

The same laws that keep us from knowing about the damage caused by the illegal dumping of toxic waste are then called into play by the great and the good to protect their liberty to behave as complete sex-pests. If Judge Tugendhat is rolling back some of the Eady craziness (and that’s by no means assured, he has out-eadied Judge Eady in other judgments) this should be roundly perceived as a 24-carat good thing.

Tabloids being tabloids, they will always care more about the salubrious than the sublime. The News of the Screws didn’t earn that nickname from Private Eye by carrying out numerous investigations into corruption in local government, after all.

So, if you need to, hold your noses over Terry’s sad and tawdry affairs. What matters less is him being caught out: instead it is the lifting of a particularly onerous legal measure, that he was pushing his luck to try and hide behind, which is the important factor.

Even if you won’t see that splashed across the NotW’s front page.
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A blog is for life…

…not just for Christmas.  Right?  Right.

So, it is two weeks to Christmas and you are bored of work.  In a short time you have to spend enforced periods with your nearest and dearest convincing them that you have more to offer than tales of a boring job and an embryonic drinking problem.  With that in mind, let ten minutes hate help by offering a slew of great writing and opinion pieces that you can shamelessly pass off as your own over the turkey this festive season. 

So you got very angry about the Daily Mail, Jan Moir thing.  You emailed everyone you knew to tell them to do something and then, like most sensible people, you moved on.  Unlike the writer of the Enemies of Reason, who instead dives headfirst each day into the immense ocean of shit that is the Mail and the Express and their comment pages, to provide superlative source material for the winding up of Daily Hate-reading relatives, like this post.  

 Then there is markwoff, navel-gazing in the warm surroundings of The Mortal Bath and pondering if responsibility for climate change can, after all, be pinned on ocelots.

Hop out of the bath and head to The Flying Rodent for gems such as this on why right wing-nuttery is a good thing:

Veiled nastiness is devilishly difficult to combat, but open idiocy and naked meanness defeat themselves. The Labour Party have proved that one single-handedly.

On the day I write something so good on here, I will probably close down the site and have it immortalised in bronze for future generations.  Unlikely though. 

If all this political commentary is sitting on your tummy like a million over-cooked sprouts, you should check out Neil’s songs of the year at The Bleeding Heart Show.  Alternatively, if you long for more politics like you long for extra helpings of Christmas pud, check out his explanation of the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend culture of UK political blogging and be astounded.

Or you could try to demonstrate that you have been surviving in the big city on more than Pret sandwiches and late night kebab shop forays by memorising some of DeboraJane‘s recipies and hitting the kitchen when everyone has had enough of turkey.  Only you might want to tell your mum that this one is called something else…

Finally, for commentary on Tiger Wood’s dalliences which doesn’t fall into the temptation of referring to the women involved as ‘birdies’, read Alex Song’s Cultured Right Foot.  Sport journalism so insightful, you could almost forgive him for being a Gunner.  I said almost.

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Teenage kicks

mileycandiestee81009khintz33080PCN_Momsen

There has been a further outcry about teenage strumpets this week. Someone close to Miley Cyrus decided it would be a good idea for her to make her debut as a pole-dancer at the Teen Choice Awards, of all places, Taylor Momsett was photographed on the Gossip Girl set looking like a streetwalking storyline was being introduced for her character Jenny Humphrey, while just to add to the bewilderment an abstinence charity in the US attempted to promote a t-shirt reading ‘I’m sexy enough to keep you waiting’. Only in America, as they say…

There is a certain amount of silly season hysteria to all of these stories and there is also not much that is new about middle-aged journalists getting all hot under the collar over jail bait celebrities. Witness how the OUTRAGE over these young girls and their behaviour allows certain family-orientated tabloids to splash the offending pictures all over their pages. So let ten minutes hate attempt to redress the balance, by attempting to explain why you should feel misused, misled and slightly cheapened by all this, as should the disgraceful young floozies in the pictures.

Madonna casts a long shadow here. Her career has provided a twenty-year master class in using your sexuality and people’s implied fear of the strong woman to shift tons of records so it should come as no surprise that the pretenders to her throne would attempt to borrow some of the magic. That said, her age at her first single release being 25, it is safe to assume that she had actually had some experience of the fantasies she was acting out. The song ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ also offered her young fans some clues as to what life might turn out like if they followed her lead before they were ready.

As most parents of a teenage girl can testify, your average 16 year old’s idea of sexiness lacks any attempt at subtlety – it’s the shortest skirt Primark can supply, the reddest lips, the blackest mascara and the highest heels – the Pamela Anderson, pneumatic blonde version of a man’s fantasy of a sexy woman. With age and experience comes the knowledge that putting it all out there is rarely that sexy and that a bare shoulder, neck or back can contain more allure than acres of leg or cleavage. What is really shocking is that these stars’ handlers, often members of their own families, aren’t helping to guide them towards this, instead happy to let them gyrate on T.V. in clothes that would bring an agonised ‘you’re not going out in that!’ from any sensible parent.

Where the abstainers and their supposed opponents Britney, Christina and the other Disney poppets have erred is in seeking to have the sexiness without the sex. They want to have their chaps and their chastity rings too. Cyrus is a particularly cynical example, while she probably acts no better or worse than any other girl her age, including this writer way back when, to do so while attempting to flog a billion lunchboxes on the back of your wholesome image is distasteful to say the least. As Madonna knew, true sexiness comes from knowing and understanding your own pleasure and taking control of it, rather than claiming that you ‘couldn’t say no’ to Vanity Fair and Annie Leibovitz as soon as the moral majority show up.

Another point the teen stars seem to miss is that pole-dancing, stripping and otherwise turning yourself into a sex object rarely allow a woman in the real world any chance at the ‘empowerment’ that they claim for themselves. Watch the girls at the Griffin pub, wandering around in plastic pants collecting pound coins from the beered up City boys and attempt to cast them as strong female role models. I wonder if you can?

I appreciate that this is a lot to expect a teenager to take in. But maybe those responsible for them should and should also take a look to see where it ends:liloforelleLindsay Lohan’s whacked out eyes in this month’s Elle magazine shoot are far from ‘fierce’, instead conjuring up the glazed expression of Jennifer Connolly’s crack-addicted prostitute from Requiem for a Dream. It’s a look. But not one that any strong woman should feel she needs to copy, whatever her age.

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News review

a right pea-souper

a right pea-souper

In other news this week, the Labour Party continued its efforts to ensure that the Conservatives win the next three General Elections.  A Party spokesman was quoted as saying:

“whatever you do, for fuck’s sake don’t vote for us”

As the number of jobs evaporating into thin air continued its inexorable rise, the Prime Minister and his closest advisors were caught taking tips on political strategy from the film ‘Mean Girls’, the Westminster press corps was otherwise occupied in trying to locate one single solitary spine amongst its members and the sound of fiddles being played drowned out all attempts at meaningful debate in the House of Commons.

A nation looked on in disbelief and incredulity, before managing to grab the remote control back and switch over from ten minutes hate to ‘Britain’s Got Talent‘.

Picture of London in the fog from the rather excellent Encyclopedia Sherlockia.

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Bastards

You can look back to the thirties and forties and think how much easier it was then, when the bad guys wore the hooked cross so lusted over by the toffs and the good guys were the ones who were against those guys, by whatever means were available to them.

Yet a look beneath the surface shows a time that was as conflicted as our own.  For instance, Orwell thought he could tell the difference between friend and foe when he headed to the front in  Spain – by the time he made the return journey in an ambulance he had been taught by events not to assume that his own ‘side’ were any less dangerous than the nominal enemy across the valley.  Naturally sympathetic to the causes of the left after his experiences in the pits around Wigan and the kitchens of Paris, he came to despise both the be sandalled socialists and the jackbooted communists who suppressed with enthusiastic ruthlessness the anarchist militias he fought with against the fascists.  He was no respecter of the adage that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, recognising that the enemy of your enemy is just the next arsehole on the list to be dealt with once you have finished kicking the main pig.

‘He may be a bastard, but he’s OUR bastard’

is not a thought that ever crossed Orwell’s mind, or so I think.  Nor would he have enjoyed the sight of tracksuit wearing secret police on our streets, imported from China like knock off Gucci handbags.  Or the vision of the Labour party walking around on two legs trying to convince us that they are the autocratic masters, while the Tories trot around on four, snuggling up to hoodies, trees, Shami Chakrabati and anything else that looks like it needs a hug.

What the people of this land should realise is that if we stop shooting, knifing, cheating and dragging each other onto the Jeremy Kyle show for a good shout, stop paying any attention whatsoever to Kerry Katona and the latest skid in her car crash of a life and instead, say, started taking out Cabinet Ministers in hand-to-hand combat, we would pathetically quickly gain the upper hand.  Those Kevlar vests they wear still leave a few major arteries open to the imagination.  Imagine Harriet Harman taking a Hummer trip around her constituency because she cannot be protected from us any other way.  Imagine Ed Balls fleeing from the kids’ playground because those same kids are chasing him off their turf, intent on pounding him with baseball bats.  I wonder if you can?

Let’s make them fear us for a change, Britain.
Let’s give them sleepless nights instead

Don’t lie there worrying about your mortgage payments; ponder which one of Brown’s bull-shitting bastards you would like to take out first.  Let them see that power brings consequences other than a shed-load of free John Lewis furnishings, great responsibility other than making sure your kids have a job for life.  Well, you can keep the £4,000 a-roll wallpaper, Lord Chancellor, but with it comes a free Battle Royale style death match involving both Houses on Canvey Island. Last wo/man standing gets to rule.  Perhaps it would also follow that seeing their backbench colleagues brutally massacred by feral teens would make them less keen on creating carnage in other people’s backyards?

Instead of Gladiators, let’s see Brown and Cameron really battle it out: just how bad do you want it, fella?  Dave, want to see a wind turbine on every roof so much that you will gouge out Gordon’s other eye to triumph?  Come on, Ken, now that there’s nothing to lose, let’s see how much of a class warrior you really are. I hear the argument that the landed gentry fight dirty and have been doing so for generations, but have always felt that in a street fight Red Ken would be naturally adept at the no-holds-barred style – after all, you can’t be that close to Stalin and Castro without picking up a few tricks.  Boris pleading, claiming to be a lover not a fighter, while the newt-fancier stomps on the usurper’s crown jewels might be the best, most crowd pleasing way to decide a future Mayoral contest since Dick Whittington started talking to his cat.

I for one am sick of a no-choice vote deciding between competing mediocrities

I think it is possible that you, my fellow electors, are with me on this.  Dwindling turnouts cannot only be blamed on a clash with a crucial episode of Eastenders.  What is the point of getting off the couch to mark an X if all it serves to do is duck out of taking responsibility for another few years?  Where is the incentive when 862,415 Irish voters can say they don’t want something and their rulers decide that actually, in fact, they do?  Whaaat? is never happy advocating violence and I am sure there will be a lengthy editorial disclaimer somewhere about leaving minister’s arteries alone (Eh?  Oh, yes.  Very bad.  Absolutely – Ed) but perhaps, just this once, it is time to act with aggression.  Our marching taught them nothing.  They need to be shown that they can no longer rely on the passivity of our implied goodwill.

Four hundred years after the last one, Britain needs to reclaim the brand of civil war she has been exporting in recent years and set it free to run amok on her own streets.  Violence is a game we are playing from Basra to Kandahar – why should Basingstoke and Kensington miss out?  Except that we are not going to turn brother against brother, putting fellow victims up against the wall: it is going to be strictly US v. THEM – the ones who presume to rule us based on flimsy margins, taken out by an electorate that have taken enough.  They have squandered the peace our grandparents bought for them and in return given us nothing but penury, cronyism and state interference.

We have been complacent for too long; it is time to discover if there is sand underneath the cobble stones after all…

First published September 2008 in issue two of whaaat?

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Everywhere you look

Everywhere you look, on all fronts, the cunts appear to be winning.  We, the right thinking people of this land, are being out manoeuvred and out gunned at every turn.

It used to be the case that you could rely on a core of people in the world to instinctively know the right side of an argument, who you could use as a litmus test to demonstrate that all was well.  I think here of Hunter S. Thompson and George Orwell, there are other examples, about whom it could easily be said: ‘if he/she agrees/disagrees with it, it must be correct’ as you went about your daily business.  Now all you can rely on is that everybody with a voice today uses it to come out with statements that no one in their right mind could hold to be correct.  The well publicised ‘death of ideology’ at the end of the Cold War seems to have mutated into a less well publicised murder of dissent.  To the extent that you have to ask…

“Where are the punks?”

Punk is the same age as me, but only one of us survived to celebrate our 30th.  The aesthetic got co opted; the ethos lost in a cloud of hepatitis-infected spit, safety pins and Sex Pistols reunions.  The hip young gunslingers now move closer to their first hip replacements, jostling the Zimmers for position in the establishment they once deluded themselves could be eviscerated with nothing more than razor sharp wit and a razor trimmed haircut.  The past is eating itself, as drama school rejects compete to replace the easy listening singers that the Beatles kicked out of the charts; The Kinks inspired Blur are replaced by the Blur inspired Kaiser Chiefs, in an ever decreasing circle of hell populated by careerist knock off merchants and rampant self-publicists.  Mika, Lily Allen and Kate Nash are not only allowed to live but to describe themselves as ‘musicians’ and be hailed as some kind of dynamic new voice in rock because their publicists set up MySpace pages.

Where is the anger?  Where is the outrage?
Why should you care?

Get another round of tequilas in.  Fight for your right to party, duuuuuuude.  The old battles have been fought and lost, you’re free to get on with your true vocation: drinking, shopping and fucking, all to a soundtrack of bland ooooohs and aaaaahs, hits of Soma provided by our sponsor for when the screaming in your brain becomes too loud….

Because it is not cool to care.  The last youth movement with a touch of the small ‘p’ politics about it was the loose gathering of nut jars that came together to try to fight the Criminal Justice Bill.  Once that motley crew of Loadsamoney style entrepreneurs, Do-It-Yourself-ers and Spiral Tribesmen had been overcome by surveillance, brutality and trumped up charges, it was understandable that few others would try to stick their heads above the parapet.  So we left the fields that should have been ours to party and protest in whenever we fancied and headed back to legality.  The baggy trousered philanthropists allowed themselves to be meekly herded into club nights with door policies more exclusive than Garden Parties at Buck House, where the big name, millionaire DJs turned the booths into altars for their own ego worship.  Music events became ‘brand dissemination opportunities’, sponsored by beer makers, a fantastic entrée to the youth market for the breweries who were starting to worry that their wares were going to appear like yesterday’s news next to the bright shiny ecstasy pills that the kids seemed so keen on.

They need not have worried.  For this is now a generation drunk on hedonism itself, not caring if the poison that it imbibes to get to that location has been bought in a wrap or over a bar.  Just get trashed, wasted, battered, fucked up.  This is the only goal worth pursuing.  The age old need to prove how much liquor you could hold has been surpassed by the urge to globally publicise pictures of you laying in the gutter in a pool of vomit.  Your politics is something you show with a coloured wristband, not something you FEEL.  Feelings themselves are messy things that can be treated with a kind of emotional Domestos, that kills all original thought dead.

God, how 70s, didn’t we leave all that embarrassing posturing behind with the three day week and footballer’s perms?  Just keep dancing, snorting, screwing – poking and preening at each other like a heaving mass of baby mice in a testing laboratory’s cage.  No need for any of that scary commitment stuff – why commit to an opinion when another one will come along in a minute?  How shameful to take a position when opinions are reduced to the status of a trend, something that can quickly become out of date.  Could you really be seen dead in last season’s trousers…?

Orwell believed with The Lion and the Unicorn that if he could speak over the heads of the self appointed intelligentsia, the ordinary men and women of Britain would hear his call to arms and right would prevail.  Joe Strummer tried the same thing: ‘London Calling… to the far away towns… war is declared and battle come down…’  And I would do the same, attempt to reach some mythical, silent majority if I had any faith in their existence.  But how can I have when I know, deep down, that they have been killed off by a real majority who voted for Hitler, loved Thatcher and who encourage their daughters to read Jordan’s ‘auto’ biographies because fucking a footballer is the best career path open to them?  The only thing that truly moves England’s dreamers is the relative upward or downward movement of the value of the pile of bricks that they rot their lives away in, drowning the regret in a vat of cheap wine, abdicating responsibility for righting the ills they created by delegating all control to a focus group version of benign fascism that rules us.

First published March 2008 in issue one of whaaat?

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