Thursday, 29 March 2007


I am not going to start bandying around the word fascist, it’s used far too much about things that aren’t nearly as terrible, but am I the only one to be slightly unnerved by the title “Ministry of Justice”.
Such is the power of Orwell’s fiction that most New Labour phrases sound like Newspeak. The “Ministry of Justice” just sounds un-British. Whatever the pros and cons of the new system, one suspects there will more taxes wasted, more mangled language and less freedom and of course less justice.

In fact the first character that sprung to mind wasn’t Winston Smith but Judge Dredd. Although nominally set in a post nuclear war America, Mega city one is a very British creation. Like all good pop culture it carried deep truths in A candy coloured wrapper. Perceptive and well written Judge Dredd, whose central character is a cloned quasi-totalitarian policemen, has been an good predicator of our present (rather than some mystical future). Sure we don’t regularly use hover cars or have pills instead of solid food but the list below shows the many areas where “Toothy’s” predication have come true.

So don’t say you weren’t warned when our flat screen digi boxes crackle into life with the beaming face of Chief Judge Blair.

On the spot law enforcement
Riot foam
Banning of sugar

Excessive electronic surveillance
There was a long story on the “get ugly craze” in Judge Dredd that mirrored the whole body piercing tattoo nonsense
Dredd was arresting huge obese “fatties” long before channel 5 BBC3 had nightly programmes about food obsession.
2000 AD even had a celebrity graffiti scrawler, Chopper long before the sad little man that is Banksy was still smearing the contents of his nappy on his playpen. Chopper’s tag was a smiley face funnily enough, just to show Banksy’s lack of originality.

I sure there are plenty more examples putting aside the fact that we have a government that tramples on basic civil liberties, uses armed police and brute force to enforce it’s ill-written, ill-begotten laws.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Aqua con gas!

Saw this in yesterdays' Observer. What truly annoys me about this stuff is the off hand way it's dealt with. All journalistic conventions seem to dissolve when it comes to so called "health" coverage. Dr Briffa is a particular culprit. If half the bold claims he makes are true the Observer , government etc should be investigating them as they are very serious. In one past article he dropped in that tap water had been linked to bowel cancer. I think this is quiet an important claim seeing as 95% of the population comes into contact with tap water every day. But this and many other claims go unchallenged and pass the "green pencil" intact. The following dispatch contains three statements that warrant further explanation .
I appreciate that space is tight so they could always link to a web page with the evidence etc on it. Here is his latest bit of nonsense from the observer food monthly magazine 25Th march 2007 from the "what's in your basket section".
"Sparkling water
There's some evidence that sparkling water can reduce risk of heart disease in women. But it can also cause 'dental erosion' so it's best drunk through a straw"

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Sign of the times

This sign says everything you need to know about the rubbish way private landlords looks after property. I needn't add that there are no security cameras on our estate. What's more depressing is not only have they defaced a tree but probably wasted 5 mins and £30-40 quid putting it up.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

F1 Fumes:update

See link at end for observers response to many similar complaints to mine.
Just a quick one. Firstly smoking is bad for you. Smoking has however been part of culture for almost 500 years. In a slight but absurd way the Observer has re-written this history, in one of the Guardians groups famous wall charts, put out to tie in with the start of the Formula One season they show interesting cars from the sports history. They are all there Maclarens, Ferraris and Tyrells, all with their sleek lines and gaudy paint work covered latterly with sponsor's logos. All except the cars formerly known as Marlboro Maclaren and more simply John player special these have had the names of tobacco sponsors omitted. This bizarre form of censorship is presumably so kids don't put cigarettes firms on their walls. In terms of modern obsessions this is strange as the Parmalat Brabham is shown, Parmalat are Italy's largest processed food producers, one of the cars (another Brabham) also sports a Martini logo and another Bitburger , a brand of beer. So it's OK to show binge drinking pushers and artery cloggers but not the peddlers of gaspers. It's pathetic. I speak from personal experience when I say even though the JPS Lotus was the best scalectrix car we had, looked cool and won loads of grand prixes I was never tempted to have puff. Sadly I can't say the same for cheese and vermouths alcoholic cousins.
All I would say in response is that the Observer should had explained this all in advance. As this is an intersting part of culture rather than blandly censoring their publications. I would like to see if they would omit walter rayleigh from a tudors wallchart as a tobacco sponsor! Not that in this touchy world a wallchart on the tudors would get printed.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

stars in our ears

Woken this morning by a text arriving in (on?) my phone , I should learn that anything arriving that early won't be important but my curiosity dragged me from my pit. The usual bleary eyed hunt for the phone followed only to find that vodaphone had decided the best way to make me buy more phone tat was to wake me up on Sat morning with a multimedia text. I immediately deleted the text, the title line was enough "Paris Hilton's birthday bash". I won't grace PH with any more talk, I'll just make a general comment. This message was the product of 10's of peoples time and effort and the arrow point of one of the countries most successful companies and this is how they want to greet their public. Last Saturday they didn't send me text reminding me of the lunar eclipse, or perhaps a pancake recipe (on shrove Tuesday) or even a corny joke no a bland tedious celebrity. If you go to their boring "walled garden" of an Internet site there's nothing of interest. I had some "free" downloads from my phone package to use but postage stamp sized pictures of z list celeb in "hand bras" was all the had to offer me, I couldn't even pay for a copy of tetris. I'm sure they are missing out on loads of sales from the likes of myself because of their narrow media led obsessions.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Our endless sense of entitlement will hang us all Pt2 Grand designs

Grand Designs is probably one of the most obscene shows on TV. It ranks alongside all the second homes abroad shows as an outstanding niche viewing. Out of the worlds population the number of very rich people is less 1% and the percentage of these who build their home must be low and yet channel 4 and its sister channels dedicate at least 6 hours a week to them. The programme wallows in the immoral wasting of huge sums of money on palaces to vanity to of their creators. Every week the show has the same plot a couple have the idea for some big old house they proceed to overspend, budgets double and treble, plans expand etc. Often perfectly decent houses are knocked down without a hint of recycling anyway. We are invited to ooh and ahh at vastly expensive sinks, acres of the Yorkshire dales are quarried for “impressive wet rooms”. Towards the middle there’s some problem with window that’s too big “oh what will they do?” Then at the end (after they have forked out more cash) it’s all ok, the rich people have a lovely home to swish around in and everyone coos at their dramatic use of space, luxury bedrooms and spectacular living rooms. It is an orgy of spending and waste, where deluded posh people are cast as heroic champions, it’s Ayn Rand gone mad (der). The only good thing about the show is Kevin Mccloud who against my better judgement I quite like, he seems a decent sort (would probably stand his round) but even he can’t redeem this cesspit obscenity
It got so bad that I stopped watching as I found it so annoying but while waiting for something else to come on I flicked through it a few times. This week’s series opener was some architects spending again obscene amounts of money to turn a Yorkshire ruin into an ersatz castle. The witless couple obviously have never heard of the “grandfathers axe” paradox and spent the thick end of £1,000,000 building their own castle with a thin veneer of the original on the outside. The new twist to this bloated hour and half programme (why are channel 4 programmes always so overly long) is that c4 favourite the after show follow up show. In this show “Kevin McCloud is joined by interior design guru Naomi Cleaver and award-winning architect Deborah Saunt” to stir the preceding 1 ½ hours pot of ordure and basically slagging off or praising the builders for their use of stone taste in chairs etc. This witless worship of needlessly expensive housing is truly decadent, they rarely touch on the sorts of housing most people live in (they vaguely justify it all with the formula one trickle down excuse) and just foster an atmosphere where the spending of vast sums of borrowed money is seen as normal and desirable.
Over to Phil and Kristy as they help a picky gay couple buy flats in London and Paris arggggggh!