No – to whatever it is!

March 31, 2009

I have done no reading around the subject, I know nothing about the aims of the loose coalition of anarchists, enviromentalists, anti-capitalists, families, Tony Robinson, communists, socialist workers, neo-cons, and anti-war protesters, so what follows might be very unfair. 

But it does remind me of this:

“Careful now” /  “Down with this sort of thing”

What exactly are people protesting against? Is it some woolly idea of the ‘modern world’ that’s the problem? Are they protesting about the fact that the leaders of the biggest economies are getting together to try and figure out a solution to the current economic situation so that as many people as possible keep their jobs, homes, etc, and countries to find a better way of trading with each other?

And if they feel so strongly as to march the streets of London (and put some turf on a statue of Winston Churchill no doubt) where were these protesters where when the economy was booming?

Do these learned global financial strategists  have any suggestions about a better  system could be implemented – or are they just marching for ‘better financial regulation’ and a law to get ‘Sir Fred’s money off him?

And should I perhaps not come into work wearing my pinstripe, bowler hat and walking cane?

Just wondering!


The Apprentice – Sralan’s opening speech (annotated)

March 26, 2009

Good morning ladies and gentleman, welcome to my boardroom.

Morning Sralan!

Now then, the astute ones amongst you will have noticed that the chaps are one man short. There are eight girls and only seven boys and that’s because someone’s already bottled it. Believe it or not.

That someone is clearly a loser, but no back up contestant available?

You can’t even blame me, cos I’ve never met him

Embarrassing sycophantic laughter from the mass of Apprenti.

Pressure. That’s what business is all about. Pressure. Simple as that.

Um, this is where the central premise falls down a bit. Business is not ‘about’ pressure, it’s generally about running, or working for, an organisation that provides services or goods in the expectation of making money. This money is then used by the organisation to allow it to invest in it’s activities, pay shareholders, employees and cover it’s running costs. Depending on your industry (and seniority) the pressure levels can certainly be high, but it’s not business’ raison d’etre, and most businesses function better if people aren’t over-stressed. Stress causes bad decision making and illness.

Are you tough enough to put up with it? Cos matey wasn’t.

Yeah – what a loser! Ha ha.

This job interview is like one you’ve never had before.

This is very true. I can’t think of many job interviews that require relentless arguing with 15 other dimwits for 12 whole weeks in the full glare of television and other mainstream media to get an unspecified job position within a business whose main activity these days is not clear.

I’m gonna find out if you’re the real deal or just a bunch of empty designer suits and dresses.

Sralan, Sralan, they are exactly empty designer suits and dresses!! I thought that was the point, and fun, of the programme. Bit unfair to surprise them with this revelation now.

It could be, of course, that you’re here because you’re good with words, you know the right thing to say at the right time.

Like Sralan, I hate people who are good with words and are able to use them to express their thoughts at the appropriate time. Those people are wankers and Sralan should keep a beady eye for anyone who knows how to string a sentence together that suits a particular situation. Fuckers.

I mean I know the words to Candle in the Wind, don’t make me Elton John, right?

(nervous sycophantic laughter). A superb and funny…meaningless non sequitor.

I don’t care where you’re from, what you’re last job was.

Hear hear! Past experience of work should have absolutely no bearing on matters when being assessed for a new role.

Don’t tell me you’re a ‘Global Strategist’, cos all that means to me is that you’re talking a load of balls.

Bit tortured and only mildly amusing.

You think you can second guess or play me? Well, let me tell you I’m as hard to play as a Stradivarius.

Ha ha, now this was a great joke! I laughed very loudly and rolled around on the floor a bit.

And you lot, I can assure you, are as easy to play as bongo drums.

Hey now – referee! That is out of order! Bongos are as difficult to play as any other Western instrument you care to mention. This comment just harks back to unlovely ideas of primitive foreign cultures. We’ve moved on a bit since then, Sralan, get with the times – you should have said swanee whistle or kazoo.

All I care about is how you perform in the next 12 weeks. It’ll be the hardest job interview you’ve ever had.

True dat.

But for one of you, it might be the last one you ever need.

But what are all the past winners doing??? They never give us proper follow ups – it’s as bad as Dragon’s Den in this respect.

So, what am I looking for? Simple: a diamond. And remember a diamond started out as a lump of coal, but came good under extreme pressure.

Splendid rhetorical flourish, but not at all true. Diamonds and coal are both indeed created from carbon-bearing materials, but one is not created from the other. Coal is made from living matter relatively recently (400m years), but diamonds are created from non-organic carbon deep in the mantle and are much much older (2.5bn years). Shut up, this stuff is both interesting and important.

And trust me, you are going be under extreme pressure over the next twelve weeks.

Mos def.

So, it’s straight down to business…

Yey! I love this programme!!!

Disappointing catty arguments at the end of this first episode. Haven’t any of the contestants watched the programme before?

Anita – shut your mouth before he…oh, too late. Bye then!

The Apprentice on BBC iPlayer

The Charm of Squirrel

March 25, 2009


…and with a coat made of Giraffe kid, you too can obey Fashion’s Slimness Decree this spring.

Oh – this is from 1927, before all you young gals dash down to Selfridges for the sale of the century.  What a swizz!

Is Roger Scruton Beautiful?

March 22, 2009


I gather Mr Scruton & David Starkey convincingly lost the debate on Thursday “Has Britain become indifferent to beauty?”

I further gather that Germaine Greer & Stephen Bayley knocked them into a cocked hat. Would have been quite fun to see. I last saw Mr Scruton being knocked into a cocked hat at the debate “Would we be better off without religion?’. With Christopher Hitchins, Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling on the one side and R. Scruton,  Nigel Spivey and the  Rabbi Julia Neuberger on the other, the motion didn’t stand much chance. Good knock about fun, and here’s a write up of it from someone on the losing side:

Anyway, is Britain indifferent to beauty? The question is very badly phrased because to agree with it would be to say that no one in Britain ever thinks about beauty or would like more of it. That would be nonsense of course, so the motion was quashed. A better question might have been “Is there too much ugliness around” (probably yes), “could Britain afford to spend a bit more time thkning about beauty and making it a higher priority?”. Again, yes, hard to disagree with.

However, Screwballs and co seem to just dislike everything about the modern world and everything it stands for. This is a bit pathetic…as annoying as Hollyoaks, advertising hoardings and Lada GaGa are, you can’t just give up and dismiss everything, as there is also Punch Drunk, Arthur Ganson and On Rails out there.

You just got to look a bit harder Screwy, and widen your perspective beyond the late 19th century, yeah?

Guardian article

Bravo Stewart Lee

March 18, 2009

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. BBC 2 Monday

Is it is me, or is there a sea change? Are people finally getting bored with crap telly, books and music?

One can only dream.

Stewart Lee’s opening salvo in his new BBC series ‘Comedy Vehicle’, however, was a breath of fresh air.

He laid into Harry Potter ‘and the crock of shit’ / ‘and the pot of paint’ / ‘and the tree of nothing’, explaining out that if anyone ever asked him if he’d read the lastest Potter, he would say, ‘Of course not, fuck off – it’s a children’s book’. Adding that he had read the entire works of the mystic and poet William Blake, but no, had not read Harry Crappy Potter. Because it’s a book for CHILDREN.

Even more spendidly he gave Asher D, the ex-rapping man from the So Solid Crew, ‘maximum disrespect’ as he tore his celebratory hardback into metaphorical shreds. In fact, he looked straight at the camera and said ‘Asher D – if you’re watching – I am giving you disrespect. Maximum disrespect.’

The man’s a dude. He doesn’t quite have Bill Hicks’ level of fury at the human race, but seems to come from a similar place of anger and irritation at much of commerical culture. It’s an overdue attack on the mediocre dross of popular culture – let’s hope people like Lee, and others, make it unpopular culture and move us to a higher level of human ambition.


(this clip not from his current series:):

Stereogrammatical (& drumming)

March 10, 2009

During the recording session on Saturday in which I recorded some drums for Cassette, I inadvertently created my favourite visual stereo effect:

Yey – even with a 2d screen, there is a strong stereo vision effect, simply by alternating two slightly different viewpoints. I am determined to make a pop video one day exploiting this effect. (The Flippers had a quick go a while back: &

Here’s proof that I was recording real drums with the splendid and talented Martin of Moeker:

I expect some ‘people’ might think it ‘amusing’ that I had an article published in Sound on Sound slamming the use of drums in electro, and here I am now recording drums for electro. Those people are of course right to be amused, I just like the taste of my own hats, that’s all.

Geeking and Popping

March 7, 2009

Armed with only some sinewaves, a vintage valve oscilloscope, the Flippers and an incurable fascination with visualising sound a thing has been produced. It is a sort of musical thing with a sort of visual thing.

It’s been accepted into the virtual festival GeekPop.

It’s like an amazing rock video without the rock. You’ll love it because it’s lovely.