Monthly Archives: March 2009

The answer is…

Doorstopped MP gets irate with Evening Standard reporters asking about her allowances and retorts:

“I totally resent you coming to my private home. Have some respect. How dare you.”

To which the only response must surely be:

“Because we fucking bought it, love.”

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Coke, is it?

Amy ponders what could have been

Amy ponders what could have been

“We’re rock stars who do Pepsi Cola commercials.”

“Gnorr. Suck Satan’s cock. Put that big scaly pecker down your gullet. Drink that black worm jizzum. Drink it! Fill your little bellies.”

And, whatever you do, don’t worry your daft little head about the trade unionists in Coke’s franchised Columbian bottling plants, who were intimidated or killed by paramilitaries for daring to proclaim their “right to be free“.

Billboard courtesy of Dr. D.

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Ramping up the hate a notch

You hate old friends; they remind you of where you have come from.  New friends don’t possess the background knowledge to justify and excuse you for the way you have behaved, so with them there is no need to bear the burden of being forgiven.  People who are useful to you or who make you look good get your unswerving allegiance while those who are merely loyal receive only your disdain.

You cracked up and came back, so even a hint of irrationality scares you, lest it lead to the asylum gates.  You are running away so hard from that suburb you used to call home that you do not notice when you recreate it daily.  You wear unconventionality like a brand label while everything from your rare-trainer-clad feet to your artfully dishevelled hair screams trend.

You disparage others for their lightness of touch while your own profundity vanishes up a sphincter.  Nothing pleases you, not ‘boozing or puffing, or your first taste of fucking’.  Instead, you retreat into a cesspit of your own making, denying that you notice the stench.  You will never stand behind what you create, claiming exacting standards for yourself that you will never attempt to reach; for that allows you the freedom to critique all comers, while avoiding such censure yourself.

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Last one to Cable Street

Uncharacteristically, snow fell in London last October, for the first time since 1934.  It wasn’t the only harbinger of a return to Depression-era doom and gloom as the credit crunch™ began to bite.  The Observer ran an article claiming that eco-terrorists were plotting outrages, no doubt the precursor for the passing of yet more draconian laws, essential if even the tree huggers have a fundamentalist wing now.  The publication of the BNP membership list also seemed like a quaint reminder of a bygone age (oh, look, Fascists!) and made it much easier to organise a fight by text message, so, quick,

…last one to Cable Street’s a wanker

The halcyon days at the dawn of the new century seemed so far away as the flakes fell, the days when we had money to burn, lighting our cigarettes with rolled up twenties, floating on a tide of vintage champagne and ever more ludicrously distilled premium vodka and above all spend, spend, spending, gorging on STUFF like a WAG let loose in Liverpool’s Cricket boutique with her boyfriend’s plastic, nothing too trivial a frippery for us to splash the cash on.

‘Your more simplified life is in your hands.  YSL bag, $1,895.’

Despite the example of bubbles from time immemorial, the South Sea one, the Roaring Twenties, even the Dot Com one of recent living memory, we were confident that this one was going to be different.  Doped with the promised end to boom and bust, out of our gourds with the need to consume, high on the guarantee that we were worth it, damn it.  House prices were going up and up and up and you were an idiot if you didn’t agree to hand over most of your income in return for the keys to a former crack house in Dalston now an exclusive des res worth just shy of a mill.  If forking out that much of your folding each month left you without the necessary pocket money for the other trinkets so essential to your sense of self, well, hey, the banks could help you out there too.  Pay it back later, when the house trebled in value and you could borrow more from Peter to pay back Paul.  Simple.

The whole economy rested on it, people felt good because of it and they liked Labour because they were claiming responsibility for it.  There were no losers.

Lest we get nervous, the party of the workers famously declared itself ‘intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich, as long as they pay their taxes.’  Utilising the Whaaat? communal fag packet, we ran some numbers.  If this writer has been paying roughly 300 quid a month to the government over a decade of full time employment that makes £36,000.  And if there are 28 million people employed in the UK paying the same, then, gosh, that adds up to £1,008 billion.  An unreal number.  As are the numbers being bandied around for how much fixing this mess will cost.  And still, the sneaking suspicion that, for all the good it has done us, we should have spunked the lot on 500 million YSL handbags.

The Titanic analogy that keeps cropping up in the cartoons and op-eds is a good one.  We built the boat, paid our fares, counted the number of lifeboats and sailed off into the icy currents.  We knew enough to know what we were getting into.  So here we are, with nothing left to do but see who will sink and who will swim.  Got savings, low rate credit cards and a job that won’t easily transfer to the sub-Continent?  Lucky you.  Up to your arse in loans and the rest, needing to remortgage, with a boss that hates you?  That water’s going to feel pretty chilly.

What exactly have we achieved since the Thirties?

We are still as in hock to the never-never in the form of credit cards, still dreaming of the big win on the lottery that replaced the pools as a chance to save ourselves from the drudgery, still fearful of showing a spark of anything that might lead to us being given our cards, so we keep our heads down, mind our ps and qs, lest the bosses ship the whole concern out to India or China and leave us back where our grandparents started from.

With a little luck, though, that won’t be you; and as Polly Toynbee, friend to the poor, points out, 3 million could be out of work and 90% of us won’t even notice.  It will be unknowable, until some bold social warrior takes the Road to Wigan Pier to report back on the squalor and the shattered dreams while others stand wringing their hands over the failure of somebody, somewhere to do something.

So maybe that somebody should be us.  Maybe it is time to recognise that worshipping the market is a collective delusion.  To realise that money is as nebulous a concept as God.  Let’s wake up to the fact that ignoring the beauty of the world to sit staring at a computer screen all day to pay taxes for the government to hand over to the banks for them to lend back to us (or not) at 7% interest to be spent on yet more consumer goods is a Sisyphean endeavour.  We were meant for better than a life of ceaseless toil.

Bill Hicks was right, it is ‘just a ride’ and it only has one outcome, whether you smoke or not, eat your greens or not, go for a run or slob in front of the telly, it is going to end with your death.  Market conditions, consumer confidence, the value of your house can go up as well as down, no matter: it is all a figment of your imagination.  Recessions present opportunities other than cheap shares for those not too browbeaten to seize them; this one offers the prospect of reimagining and reclaiming our future from the greed heads and lifestyle peddlers, if only we dare.  So, ignore the adverts, put down the credit card and get on with it; throw yourself into life, stare into the face of death and laugh.

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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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