All 6 entries tagged No2Id
March 10, 2008
Check this out (click the image for larger)
I got a message on my Facebook on Thursday the 6th while I was finishing an essay on creativity for a guy at the Evening Standard asking me to write a letter giving a student perspective on Jacqui Smith's regiged ID card scheme. I boshed out these three paragraphs and gave the guy a call who suggested a few grammatical/syntax tweaks here and there and it became the lead letter on Friday the 7th's copy!
Well Chuffed you might say! Anyway back to business please check out the national website: http://www.no2id.net/
and if you're a Warwick student and want to get involved please conact me directly as I'd really like to start up a preemptive NO2ID society on campus to fight a system that's got us in its sights. We're first up against the wall, let's fight back!
On the topic of fighting back, Everyone should get their asses down to London on the 15th of this month to protest 5 years since we began on the illegal escapade that is the Iraq "War". Read occupation. This is a protest for peace. For a real, urgent, lasting peace in Iraq, Afganistan, Palestine and to show that we won't support the risk of military action in Iran that would endanger our troops and so many civilans.
Prince Harry has just returned from Afganistan and the armed forces appear to me to be recruiting harder than ever. Let's sort this country out first before we embark on projects in god forsaken deserts simply to bolster our flagging arms industry.
BBC coverage of the March 5 years ago:
(I'll catch up on the more "mundane" [read; fantastically exciting] posts about my life as a student, a creative, a party person and any other complimentary adjectives one might use to describe me & what I get up to; feck it is my blog is it not?)
April 22, 2007
I’ll try and be back with proper updates to my blog soon (after finals fear filter out) but until then,
This is a poem I’ve written in response to the stop the BNP campaign and a chat I had with my dad (who’s been involved in combating discrimination for many years):
The black man
What have you done for the black man lately?
Given him your change for a freshen up?
Or bet on him to win you a symbolic cup?
A black man is a non-white
made anonymous when you can’t look him in the eye,
Or say hi,
Or nod to him without guilt,
Or a smile.
We all came from Africa,
But some moved willingly
and others were just dragged along;
To the Caribbean via London
In the West, I’m told; ‘we reward the best’,
We throw parties to enjoy our wealth
of tokens we just want to be rid.
Hitler didn’t know how to party.
Prince certainly did.
I’d never go to a Nazi Party,
Except to perform subtle subterfuge:
Like saying that “I hate how the Brazilians wear pink socks”,
Or over nibbles make a slur about how Hebridean chicks are bigger than their cocks.
What have you done for the black man lately?
Cast him as your God?
Made him the star of your latest play?
Eaten some of his cuisine?
Told him how; ‘many of your best-friends are gay’?
Some of my favourite black men are women.
It’s so hard to know who the brown team is
when the skins are the same colour as the shirts.
At my next dinner party I want lamb not beef.
In my mind only prison food really hits them where it hurts.
The thief man
October 31, 2006
So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, it’s a good sign it means I’ve been busy at uni making the most of it. So I’m going to try and give a swift and exhaustive account of some of the cool shit that I’ve made part of my sphere of experience, if you’ll excuse the poncey phraseology.
The No2ID comedy event was a total ball. I had such a great time, it was also cool to catch up with childhood buddies Jermaine and Shenin and have a swift drink in a wicked bar next to the Empire. I also had a lock in with a bunch of the comedians which we pretty fun indeed.
Just before the gig I went to Devon with Alan for a couple of days. It was lovely to catch up with all the rellies and to get a last taste of summery Devon for the year. We really raced back for this comedy gig, although we saw a record number of crashes on the road back.
Term began and as usual was total banter. There have been a lot of nice parties (Jake, Spatz and Rob’s house, Spohie’s 21st, Kim’s monster party etc) and there’s plenty more to come. As usual we hit the ground running on the work front. I went to a wicked screening of Double Indemnity which also had a talk about Raymond Chandler. I also went to a talk about identity in French and German cinema although it was a bit lame and boring but it filled time before meeting Becky & Cags to go The Magic Numbers in Birmingham (wicked secret gig swung our way by the wonderful James Howard).
I’ve been doing my bit at WTV outputting my filmed version of To the End of the World on the website (also it is often screened on repeat on the Union screens). I’ve been holding meetings for my film and fiction which are pretty productive so far, there’s some cool fresh blood and lots of good material for output. I’m sorting out a home edit suite so I can start hacking up the 6 odd hours of Schoolgirl Nightmare footage and then film the bits I need to fill the gaps. I want to get our first year projects online just to show off basically. I filmed ex-CLS’er Nickesh in a great production of Dr Faustus so I’ve now got to get someone to edit it, I think the newbie who filmed it with me was quite keen on doing some, I reckon it’d be a good idea also to divide the edit between 2 people as 2 hours is a long stint to sit though especially if you’ve already seen the play.
I went to see a Rapid Eye Movement free event which was basically a showcase for local filmmaking at the arts centre, there were only 3 of us there, 4 once I texted Becky to come along. We saw a really good short starring Ray Winstone and Shaun Parkes so that was a nice highlight of the day (Tuesday the 10th of oct).
Module wise: I love writing for performance but it is hard, we’ve got a great writer in residence who cuts to the point and sometimes the bone. M.Armstrong and I were thinking of directing one of his plays for One World Week, which could be banter.
Aesthetics is a bit of a joke, it’s got good films and ideas but the lectures are poor. The seminars are better the seminar tutor is good at judging our level and working to that.
Culture Identity Text is a reasonably interesting module but it’s a bit dry.
Special Topic is a joy. So far we’ve just been watching excellent Renoir films and the Viper who runs the module is a legend and I always feel like I’m learning a lot. I did the first presentation on Boudu saved from drowning and it went well, he said that he was amazed I did as much work/research as I did during a week but that my presentation style was a bit poor, too much info too fast and not totally clear, but I’m glad others will have learned from my not major mistakes and it is really good to get some straight up feedback on presentations like that.
I wrote an article for my student newspaper on NO2ID which they unceremoniously butchered to make way for a page of advertising without a word of by your leave. The complete text will follow below. Fred is up for a Guardian Student Media award for best columnist, I hope he wins.
I’ve been to an art gallery opening which was good, I was also involved in a debate on the student radio station. I’d like to do more so long as they have good topics and debaters.
I caught the first 2 episodes of Torchwood which were pretty cool. I’m reserving judgement but the set up is good and it’s full of inventive ideas but it seems a bit too shiny and has too many helicopter shots of Cardiff.
I’m part of the Arts Centre’s student publicity team, we stage stunts to let people know what’s going on there, we had a social, with free wine and we went to see Watership Down which was an amazing piece of physical theatre. The next day I did an hour of advertising for it going around the union and jumping around the piazza demonstrating the kickboxing in the show and explaing how cool the student discount and psychic bunny was.
On Thursday we went to the Union to see Drum and Bass outfit pendulum. It was a pretty good night with nice bass to groove on and everyone there being up for a good night. But although we had bought tickets the queue to get in was a shambles. It became a huge bundle at one point and we were diverted under some steps that was well crampt. Also a fire alarm went off half way through the set so we all went out side and waited to come back in. Apart from that it was cool and nice to see what there were doing with the union these days; they did deck it out very prettily.
The other day I got a drastic haircut. I think I wouldn’t be happy about the length if it wasn’t such a good cut and one which everyone has said suits me.
I built a full scale cybersuit to accompany my cyber voice changer helmet, it’s all the bomb. I want a mannequin now so I can stand him in front of my door as a guard.
I’m going to be doing publicity design and costume building for a student devised production: “Clockheart boy” assuming their submission goes to plan.
Ben and Spatz are working on a music video project filming in week 6 in Birmingham to accompany a portishead track which all in all is pretty exciting. I designed some posters to advertise the auditions which were well attended so I assume I’m pretty good at this publicity design.
Mary-Kate Puddle from halls in the first year wants me to star in her adaptation of the comic book 100 bullets over xmas methinks. I think my new haircut might preclude me from the film, it seems like it’s not long enough anymore.
It’s great being in a new bigger room and having Becky live only around the corner. It’s been really fun and I love the people I live with so much, we’ve had plenty of banter on top of the usual uni stuff, seeing movies, the art gallery opening, eating together, playing house of the dead and soul calibur.
Here’s the No2ID article I wrote in full:
“If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to hide.
I like ID cards, they allow me to get served in bars easier.
The Government says it will help stop terrorism, even if there’s a slim chance it will help prevent attack it will be worth it.
Other countries have ID cards why shouldn’t we?”
These are nonsense arguments, and if you don’t think so I implore you to look at some of the facts… in your own time, because I’m going to try and avoid patronising you; instead I’m going to engage in the cathartic act of vomiting my disgust onto the page and pose some of the many questions that puzzle me on a daily basis.
In a world so full of causes I asked myself this summer what would be the best campaign to get involved with. In the end I decided; why decide? Instead I should stand up for as many of the things I believe in as I could. I’m not trying to be all high and mighty; I just had a lot of spare time. I joined several organisations that represented my views on war, arms trade, ocean conservation and nuclear proliferation, I flyered, marched, wrote to my MP, joined mass lone protests against the London “No Protest Zone” but I went a step further with one campaign, by helping out in the central office of NO2ID. So why did I do this?
Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of the Identity Cards Bill (now law) from a very basic (i.e. my) perspective:
Pros: some bureaucrats’ lives will be easier
Cons: it will make me feel icky.
That’s right; my only objection is to this scheme is a woolly, vague distrust and perhaps a certain amount of paranoia. But you know what they say; “it’s not paranoia if they’re really after you”. But with the introduction of the National Identity Register (NIR) they are. Yes the big feck off THEY! The Party, The Man and yes it’s him again, he’s taken a break from running the thoroughly distracting freakshow and coercing outspoken Scottish MP’s into pretending to be cats, and he’s gracing us with is presence; Big Brother. I know all too well how distracting he is, why oh why do they put that show on when I should be revising!!
Am I wrong to place a substantial portion of the blame on the media for leading us astray? Why is it that many people I talk to about this issue have no idea that this legislation, which has been passed in parliament, even exists, let alone that it constitutes a massive shift in the relationship between the citizen and the state? Is it simply political apathy on the part of the general public or have we been sung a sweet lullaby by the press so that we might sleepwalk into a terrifying technocratic future? I guess as with a lot of legislation the problem is one of dryness. For viewing figures perhaps this is just too dry an issue, no blood or other bodily fluids, it’s quite cerebral and yet my reaction is a gut one.
Usually when faced with the arguments for the ID cards that I cited above I simply quote some figures about the cost and cite how it could be better spent (education, scraping top-up fees, free healthcare for the elderly like they have north of the border etc). I use this tactic because most people I’m trying to convince to oppose this New Labour scheme are more or less middle class (like myself) and the only way to reach their minds is via their wallets (look for instance at the debate about cheap flight carbon offsetting). Usually I mention that the cards are likely to cost them around £93 for a combined passport and ID card package with an additional cost of around £200 per taxpayer, and that there is no ceiling on spending on this project, and that currently £95,000 pounds is being spent PER DAY on setting up the scheme, totalling a whopping £46.4 million by the end of May this year, and that is just ‘planning’ not even to mention the impact of arbitrary penalties that will make speed cameras seem trivial by comparison. When I’ve told them this I’m usually out of breath and haven’t got the energy to explain half of the other issues pertaining to the idiocy of this legislation. I don’t think I even have enough space to do that in this article. So I’m going to return to the feeling icky thing.
£46.4 million pounds on planning and yet no one really knows what’s going on? What are the legions of consultants (at a cost to us of around 100,000 pounds a day) doing? What are the press officers getting paid for if they’re not writing press releases? Is the Home Office changing the proposed system (watering it down to come in on budget for instance) and if so why not let us know and if not why don’t they explain in more detail how the scheme will work? (Which might at least enable others to judge whether the costings are realistic)? Paranoia kicks in, I get my free hit of adrenalin and I go on the hunt for malevolent designs. I look to the past for a precedent and I find a book called “IBM and the Holocaust” detailing how IBM’s primitive punch card identity system was used by the Nazis to computerise mass exterminations, funnily enough IBM are on a list of possible consultants for the system, but that’s all in the past.
I find malevolent designs closer to home; I’m in a pub and I get ID’ed. Not unusual you might think? Well I’ve been drinking in pubs since I was 14 I’m currently 6”3 and I never get ID’ed. Then I discover that pubs are being encouraged by the government to ID people who look under 21. Not to get all granddad on you but ‘in my day’ if you could recite a fake date of birth with a straight face you were in. I don’t want to glamorise underage drinking or trivialise alcohol abuse but the way I see it is that the timing of this isn’t based on new public safety concerns as much as it’s based on getting us used to the idea of carrying ID with us at all times. Ok weak argument you may say. Ok prepare to feel icky with me:
Kids are being finger printed in schools. Kids! Ok so it’s part of an empowerment scheme to get kids to be their own librarians, but what was ever wrong with a helpful librarian, face to face and a library card? The real issue here is that parent’s permission wasn’t sought. I’m purely pissed off about this because they didn’t have the balls to try it out on us first. What would have happened if we, with the capacity for informed decision making, were asked on masse to have our fingerprints taken in order to access library services? In a few years time these kids will be in our position and it will be simply commonplace for them. Am I being an old fogey before my time or is this actually compulsion by the backdoor and the manufacture of consent?
Part of being paranoid is seeing connections where they don’t exist; fair enough but to me all of this seems connected and part of a larger sinister picture. Is the change in pub protocol more connected to war on terrorism than to later opening hours? Has the issue of Muslim veils worn in public (sparked by ex Home Secretary Jack Straw) got more to do with problematic photo ID than to initiating an important debate about integration? Perhaps these links are a little tenuous but there are some that strike me as less so, for example the fact that America is introducing biometric ID concurrently with us and the fact that our foreign policies are so aligned. But it really it comes down to a question of trust. I’m more than happy to entrust my personal details to my GP but do I want to hand over all my details to a government who provides no solid evidence that the scheme will deliver on its aims or be value for money? Moreover can we trust the Home Office, probably this government’s most incompetent department, who this year wrongly labelled 1,500 people criminals in CRB checks and refused to apologise even though their mistake cost people jobs and university places, who have had previously presided over costly failed databases? Do we trust ultimate executive power to the likes of John Reid, the man who asked Muslim families to grass on their children if they showed signs of extremism? These cards will be an excuse for further racism as proving you are British becomes more and more important in everyday life; already we know that the statistically police carry out stop and search in a racist manner rather than on a basis of “intelligent profiling”. Dianne Abbot, my Labour MP, is against the cards on the grounds that they will increase racial tensions, and only last week were we told that universities are being asked to keep an eye on ‘Asian looking’ students. Why would we want to hand over such power to the same people who refused to listen to the rightful concerns of war protesters who knew that invading Iraq would only bring chaos & instability to the region and make us less safe at home. Should we give this power to the idiots who can’t tell the difference between an innocent, unarmed Brazilian and an imminent threat, who can’t tell the difference between a health and safety accident and a cold blooded, point-blank murder? Should we give this power to a government who said in their manifesto that the scheme would be voluntary and yet U-turn on that promise to slowly introduce nation wide compulsion?
Only 16 years ago a political protest over an unfair poll tax turned into a violent clash between the people and the police. Labour MP Terry Fields was jailed for 60 days for his refusal to pay. Will Labour now force us back to civil disobedience to get our rightful concerns heard? Now if you want to protest outside parliament you have to apply to the police for a licence, something which had been a right for hundreds of years. This law was widely known as an attack on an individual protester; Brian Haw, proved by the fact that no one could argue that a licence from the police could stop a terrorist attack. Aren’t these draconian policies a similar exploitation of our fears; distracting us from the lack of positive policies that take into account the real wants and needs of a population? How many more rights will be striped from us by tiny little, unnoticed bills of parliament, and what new ways will individuals be stepped over? There are hundreds of problems with the scheme that I haven’t been able to get into, but it still basically boils down to the fact that I for one don’t want iris scanning and finger printing to become the responsibility of all the future children of this land, nor do I want their right to exist to be appropriated by politicians and bureaucrats; that would be a very icky inheritance for the little blighters and they’ve already got climate change, a climate of racism and a whole gang of nuclear material to deal with.
September 27, 2006
just downloaded and watched “Steal this Film” about bittorrent etc. It’s very good and is hopefully going to be the first film to usher in a sea change.
Just had a thought about American imperialist democracy. If the USA wasn’t terrorfied about the dollor being devalued by oil being devalued by being traded with Euros they should encourage extremists to engage with global non violent protest (basically make a real commitment to world peace) and promise to listen to their grievences and have a real debate that isn’t about using force.
I spent a few lovely days at Becky’s we watched “Children of Men” which was excellent. The publicity for the film is good in that it doesn’t give much away but bad in that it places too much emphasis on the infertility of the population, which I think is just the background and impetus for a far more human story, the most human action movie, which therefore makes it more emotional, engaging and hard to watch.
Clive Owen redeems himself from his crap performance in Sin City and is back on “Croupier” form although he does usually play pretty similar characters here they’ve used that fact to great effect.
Micheal Caine’s performance is really his masterclass in screen acting and he steals every scene he’s in.
Julianne moore is fine but you fell she’s in the film to sell it to the American audience a little bit. which is fine and Cuarón makes great use of her.
A great surprise is who I remember as being a bit crap in Serenity but here shines through as a supporting actor really giving a drive to the film with his energy and screen presence.
The special effects constitute some of the best I’ve seen used in modern films perhaps coming second to the effects used in “Mars Attacks”, it’s a real joy to see such a creative and integrated use of effects.
I can’t reccomend this highly enough Cuarón infuses this beautiful British Dystopia with Latin American engery and violence. I’m convinced it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen, but I’d like to see it again to make sure (so I may well do that today with the rents).
When I went to see it in Luton I made a joke about Al-Qiedia as there was a lot of rubble around, building works were a bomb site etc, which Bex thought was insensitive to the Muslim population of Luton but I beg to differ. Only Al-Quiedia members would have been offended as it would have been a poor attempt at chaos as everyone seemed to be getting on with their shiz.
(just back from seeing it with my parents, they seemed to like it but leveled some problems with it. Please don’t read these if you haven’t seen the film as i’ve tried to keep my review spoiler free and free from opinion that would sway an overall assessment of the film: it was unoriginal and not deep. I get the feeling that these criticisms come from the same place that criticisms of the film on the grounds of having too many religious overtones, these appear to me to be clutching at straws to give an emotional and mental barrier to the barrage of images the film presents. The film appears to me to be very tight, balanced, thought provoking and original, and i’ve seen Full metal jacket, soylent green etc. this is a better war film and a better futuristic dystopia, even if simply because of the inclusion of Banksy, which I only properly noticed on a second viewing)
Did i mention the Labour party conference march was great, Bex came along to protest Trident and I tried to do my bit for NO2ID. We caught on the back of some drums, got to see police horses and only one police mand was a wanker, when i looked away from the mobile cctv camera he said something to me so i asked him to repeat himself and he said; “It’s ironic, you got caught on camera down there too”, no mate, frankly not ironic, you dont even seem to have an Alanis Morrisette type grasp of irony, it’s just smegging annoying and pointless and intimidating, thank you very much. The coach was fun, snuggling with Becky over the 3/4 hours each way and texting gorgeous george on his radio show. he totally read it out and mentioned Trident which to that point he hadn’t.
When I arrived in Harps I popped along to the inn on the green which was fun as usual good to see Bex’s friends such as John and Ames and Ads etc, all top banter.
The next night we engaged in a small crawl which provided magical banter.
I’m off to Devon for a couple of days which’ll be relaxing and lovely.
Yesserday I went to Forbidden planet for a signing by Neil Gaiman and I got his new compilation of short stories, I was delighted tho he musta been at it for hours, the queue was fine tho as I was having jokes with Simon and Juliet. Also I finally got to catch up with Toby and hang and chat which was ace. We disbanded after the signing and I came home for a scrumpcious fish pie, then Karim came around and we watched 15 Stories High, episodes 1+2 from the second series and the david bowie extras which was quite funny.
Och well better pack, 4 pairs of pants and the jeans i’m wearing should do the trick.
wishes: an end to violence on every scale. more people to respect animals, children, plants, women and men. A cyber controller helmet. The best year at Uni yet (that’s a hard one, they’ve all been pretty darn tops). A proper scottish breakfast. More love (greedy i know, but i also know the well is infinite) giving and getting, same thing really.
September 26, 2006
This is an animation I’ve made to publicise the NO2ID comedy gig at the end of this week. I’ve also done flyering around Hackney Libraries. I’m heading in on Wednesday to do my final week’s volunteering at the NO2ID office. I’ll try and sort out some campaigning materials for freshers groups (maybe the political parties and people&planet stopwar etc, there isn’t yet the will for a whole society dedicated to it i believe) and I’m going to try to get the union to reaffirm it’s status on it and get the whole issue debated in the boar etc.
I went along to the protest at the Labour party conference, mostly to highlight the NO2ID issue (i reckon i was the only NO2ID placard there) and the argument to not replace Trident. Bex carried a placard for that and on that day a CND ad which I signed appeared in the Guardian. Check out the Big Trident Debate
I’ll get back to you on my day to day happenings as soon as (it isn’t the middle of the night).
September 01, 2006
So been busy busy busy, and loving the crap out of it. Let’s start from where I left off. My first day at the NO2ID office was really good, the bulk of it was just envelope stuffing supporters packs, but I also learned how to send things by parcel force and fill in their forms. It was fun chatting about the scheme and other stuff with the guys there (obv Doc Who came up at least once). But just as with going to Planet I got paranoid about going past MI6. It’s an ugly oppressive building which I intend to photograph to show just how ugly it is, there is one corner that has what looks like a Bauhaus statue surrounded by a fence and a concrete wall with a camera over it. There’s always a security guard outside the gate (why they hire in security instead of using police etc I can’t quite fathom). I love the road name of the office; black prince st. jokes! When I walk there from Vauxhall station I love to play the game Spot the Spy. The object is to look at all the people coming out of the station and guess which are going to turn into the MI6 building, it’s perfect for me to play as they seem to keep pretty much normal office hours. So here’s a tip spy’s look boring, you wouldn’t invite them around for dinner, they usually wear short sleeve white or cream checked office shirts and carry rucksacks and mobile phones. But top of the range mobiles with stunguns I suppose we’re to presume. Anyway to lighten my paranoia there is the amusing sight of the London duck boat’s ramp from the Thames onto the road.
On Wednesday morning I went via Tottenham court road (a little out of my way) to try in at the camping shop that Alan recommended but when I got there (around 9:25) I discovered that they didn’t open until 10:30, lame. So I popped into borders (which I believe has replaced books etc on charring cross road, saddness) and flicked through the dr who comic books they had for sale. I returned after work and before I went to meet Becky from work. I got a sleeping mat and a gas stove. I was a little worried about taking a butane gas canister in my rucksack onto the tube but thought; och well.
I met Becky from work (though I stood in the rain for a while waiting for her) and then I rung the bell and went up to get her, the theatre agent’s office is quite nice (about 3 times the size of the NO2ID office, fair enough), pity about the view but it doesn’t look like the worst place to be of a day. We went to an amazing mule frites place across the road from her that does a cool pre theatre deal. We ate splendid food, a couple of delicious starters (churizos and summint else) and drank tasty beer (mine was a mango beer) and had a great main (I went for chicken wanting to have a hardy meal afore Reading’s makeshift cookery, and Bex had the famed mule frites woo!). After the meal we sauntered over to the Roundhouse theatre to see the AMAZING “Fuerzabruta”. It was an astonishing physical theatre piece from Argentina methinks. If you go to their website and click on the trailers page the lowermost trailer gives you a very accurate idea of what the show was: http://www.fuerzabrutalondon.co.uk/
It was the perfect preparation of a weekend of music dance and partying in every respect except that it meant we got back to do our packing at about 10ish. But pack we did considering every eventuality and then we hit the sack.
On Thursday morning Becky took a minicab to Paddington at 6:30am for her coach ride to Reading. I figured woo, we’ll get a good pitch (and boy was I right, which I discovered as a swanned in well after midday) and I got up around 9 to check the house was in a fit condition to leave (locked up, cat’s cared for etc). Then I went to Southgate tube station by bus and by tube. The journey was wicked as the guys I was driving with were totally jokes. The weather looked promising and I even took a photo just in case it didn’t hold up so I could look at it and remember the blue skys (and perhaps to punish myself for an unknown crime punished with water by god). We listened to some proper tunes on the way there with roots music and some morcheeba to bring out even more sunshine. The guy who was doing the lift part of the liftshare was called Stef and he pitched up right next to us which was wicked as we had a nice little party village going on with plenty of banter knocking about.
The first night was jokes, we wandered down to the action aid tent and had a boogie and signed their petition it was lots of fun and tons quieter than it was on the other nights after the main arena had closed. While hanging around the main drag towards the arena entrance we caught a pillow fight that took place on the bridge at 12 exactly, it looked like a lot of fun. When we got back to the tents we had a fire and it rained a bit I think, but it was light and didn’t last too long, it didn’t even put out the fire although for about 15 mins it did drive us under the cover of the more spacious tents. I’d brought along my wind up radio which gave a consistent background of music but which wasn’t needed when we got up around midday each day as we were near enough to the main stage to hear it perfectly.
Me & Bex indulged in some awesome cooking, with bacon sandwiches on the first 2 days for breakfast and some other delicish stuff. Camping was fun as we weren’t far at all from the long drop toilets (which I like for their fresh air) and we also were pretty close to a river/stream which doubled as a communal urinal. Woop!
So we had plenty of banter in the campsite and it was close enough that when tired or hungry or just wanting to see if we could find people we knew we could easily meander over to it.
But hey the festival is all about the drug of drugs; sweet sweet music and there was plenty of it. Highlights were in no particular order; Muse, Flogging Molly, Pearl Jam, The Arctic Monkeys, Less than Jake, Bedouin Soundclash & the Eagles of Death Metal. These acts were really special and you could really tell (and sometimes they said) that the performers were having the times of their lives or they were really connecting with the audience on some profound levels. The best thing is that they really comprised a great variety of music styles and all have great songs, and man, did I dance it up to each and every one of them, plus all the misc, dancing as we wandered around or at the action aid dance tent etc.
The other great acts I caught (none were bummers) or one’s that I only caught a wee bit of were: Yeah yeah yeahs (totally good fun mixed with good songs), Belle and Sebastian (chilled for a sunny afternoon and one of my CD faves), Panic! at the Disco (lead singer got bottled, I reckon t’were faked), Dashboard Confessional (great songs which I laid back and listened to horizontally), The Streets (I just caught “dry your eyes mate” & “fit but you know it” both good), The Futureheads (good band), Slayer (“war” ace old school metal), Peaches (really fun and grimsy), Goldie Lookin’ Chain (“your mother’s got a penis” nuff said) & Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (really happy shit).
I also got to catch some comedy with Bex and others, Stewart Lee was great doing some stuff I’d seen before (or heard on the radio recently) but still raised a good amount of laughs especially considering the fact he was competing with some very loud stages. I tried to catch him afterward to give him a NO2ID badge as he’s doing the fundraiser on the 1st of October at the Hackney Empire. I sent the badge back to him and handed out a bunch of flyers. Later I got help from some of the guys (Alex, Pat and Adam methinks) handing some flyers out and they discovered how easy and fun it was. EVeryone was really aproachable and it was nice to be able to talk to randoms a phenomenon I’ve enjoyed at other festivals and raves (and occasionally on public transport). I wish I took more flyers along with me, it’ll be a challenge for next year I guess, whatever happens festival wise. There was other good comedy from BBC3’s Ninia Benjamin and a cool Kiwi comic.
Toilets were annoying on beer bladders but the standard of toilet wasn’t what the stories had led me to believe. We often met each other by the red dragon Chinese noodle store, tho I never ate any, all I bought food wise was really some samosas and I think that’s more or less it, no dirty burgers for me.
It was great to hang out with and meet a few more of Bex’s friends; they’re a primo group with plenty of banter to be had all around. They really made the party atmos come alive. They especially helped this lame-o hippy get in the rock & roll mood (& encouraging a good amount of beer drinking to be sure). The time spent at the camp even when music was on was far from wasted (despite however wasted we might have been) and we all saw different stuff so vicarious enjoyment was the order of the weekend too, standard. I really enjoyed constructing our nightly fires, everyone pitched in to buy the wood which was sold at the entrance to the campsite and the fires were a lot of fun, except when stumbling people attempted to dive face first into them. On the last night it began to rain harder than it had before which I partly saw as a godsend as I had heard horror stories about the last night antics at Reading, where people would put gas canisters in fires etc and I assumed the rain was keeping those people away. But to keep the fire and the party going we went and borrowed the gazebo from the neighbouring camp whom all seemed asleep (they had been chanting CHUG, CHUNDER and Octo, Octo-bong at about 11am so burn out on the part of these gin swigging 15 year olds was hardly surprising). We then gathered a good number of people under the gazebo with everyone pretty knackered from the last night’s music and dance, it was a lovely lovely night, and we had the biggest fire to date (fire was selling cheap methinks).
Me and Becky did a good little trip to Waitrose to top up our supplies on the first day, it was fun, hard on the arms by the end but we’re fricking troopers. We got a couple of boxes of wine which was such a good idea, on the last day we snuck in a couple of water bottles of wine (because there was a ban on taking alcohol into the main arena) which was perfect for chilling to good music in the sun, cheap sophistication. We also topped up our food and got some soya milk for teas. I insisted we go into the Help the Aged charity shop. I hadn’t brought a waterproof and I found an excellent one in there for £6 and it was Pierre Cardin, I think I had a suit jacket of the same make which was pretty hardy. I also got my self a pretty Perrón, which features extensively in the Catalan film The Tit and the Moon which we studied last year. On top of those I bought a citronella candle in a can which was great for keeping bugs away (remember the toilet river I mentioned) and for a bit of light and fire lighting, a proper practical bargain for a pound.
On, I believe it was, the second night we bumped into a couple of Warwick people in the action aid tent. We saw a thesp, Cag’s boy Craig and my ex-housemate Katy. It was great, later I caught up with fellow film studier and all round ledge Andrew Shaw, he told me he was having a pretty crap time but we failed to hang out properly, partly because my phone was dead, same happened with Katy but at least we got to hang out for a bit of dancing.
So it was a great weekend, we got so lucky, with weather, beautiful sunny days, good temperatures etc. t’were all good. We also got lucky in other ways, bumping into all these cool people, the fact that I got a liftshare and it was off a totally cool dude, the fact that the other guy we came with dropped out so Bex could come home with me rather than go by coach and have to get to mine from Paddington, and the fact that the music was scheduled really well to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of music tastes. Anyway, I hope that begins to give an impression of how good that weekend was. Nuff said.
When we got back we crashed for bank holiday Monday and then on Tuesday Bex went to work. On Wednesday I went into Vauxhall and did some volunteering at NO2ID. It was mostly filing this time, alphabetising our general correspondence, creating a new file for correspondences with no affiliated organisations and the press. It was a quiet day with not too much to do and I left early to wait for Bex in central London and do some window shopping. I then caught up with Bex and her housemates Cags and Jen and her boyfriend/my ex director on Rebel Jamie Hewitt and we went for what was to be for them pre show drinks (they were going to see our mate Ben Fowler’s play that me and Bex had already seen) but they hadn’t booked so by the time they arrived there it was sold out. I was mad hungry by this point so we wandered down to the Pizza Express café and had some munch. It was lovely, then we went to one of the gay bars there and had another beer, woot!
Yesterday I had my last driving lesson before my test on Monday (wish me luck, not that I need it ;-p) which went pretty well and I’m quite confident. During the day I did some general admin stuff, cooked, had a bath etc and I left out to the mass lone protest in the no protest zone around parliament sq. Big thanks to Karim for sorting me out a licence to protest, he and his mate Sylvia had some cool signs and I was rocking out the NO2ID mask and flyers (which stupidly I printed instead of thinking ahead and getting a bunch from the office). I got a text from a mate of mine Richard who had seen me on BBC London News check it out:
here’s the video, I’m the masked one behind Mark Thomas I appear briefly about a minute in. http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/avdb/news_web/video/9012da680050218/bb/09012da680050270_16×9_bb.asx
After that finished we went straight over to Angel to see A Scanner Darkly which was a pretty good movie, but which didn’t dwell long enough on it’s really good paranoid noir or sci-fi elements, but which had some great performances shine through the rotoscoped animation which gave the film it’s beautiful style but with much less substance than Linklater’s previously rotoscoped film Waking Life. Unfortunately a lot of the enjoyment comes from intertextual references in the castings (such as the fuck up in the opening scene who is the extrapolation of a character from Linklater’s Waking Life) to conspiracy theories (the camouflaged lizard men) and to actor’s personal lives which all might add up to alienate the casual view (like my driving instructor who saw it and didn’t get into it). Keanu Reeves is as wooden as ever but his part as the lead is in many ways the least demanding role. We hit the pub once more and I got the first chance of the summer to catch up with the delightful Albert and meet his firlgriend. All in all good stuff.
Strange thing’s been happening, I’ve been getting a lot of anonymous calls on all lines, home and mobile, I wonder if it’s a network thing or what? I got one just after I invited a bunch of people on facebook to the middle east peace march, and it was number withheld and at 2 o’clock in the morning and was just a bunch of guys chanting “Israel” for about 2 minutes. Bizzare and childish a classic combination, luckily I left my phone downstairs that night do I didn’t hear it ring, but if this is the same person they are obviously chicken-shit scared or they wouldn’t wait to get answer phone or withhold their number. It reminds me of the disgusting tactic used by Israel military to intimidate people out of their homes in Lebanon (obviously on a much smaller & more trivial scale) whereby they sent a blanket of text messages to a vast area of Lebanon basically saying leave your homes or else, pretty stupid as often in these large families the cost of getting all of your children etc away from the bombing area. I do hope these calls aren’t related and I’m simply being paranoid in a very Phillip K. Dickian way. I’d also like to share my anger about the news from the UN that Israel dropped 90% of its cluster bombs in war’s final hours. When ceasefire was in sight they used these inhumane weapons, spitting in the wounds of many innocent Lebanese who will doubtless be killed by unexploded bombs. It makes me feel physically sick and hateful, mostly towards the American government who supply these weapons, and our government who won’t use it’s perceived position as the rational arm of the US’s brand of Western Imperialism to condemn what has happened as a war crime. But how can we expect more from a government that passes off murder as a health and safety issue?!? Apparently there wasn’t enough evidence for a prosecution. What?! HOW MANY BULLETS IN THE HEAD TO COUNT AS EVIDENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!! How many witnesses were there!?! How come I’ve not seen a single piece of cctv footage of DeMenzes running or not running. How come I heard yesterday that one of THOSE firearms officers is now training the new British air marshals!!!!!!! Seriously!
Yesterday I sent my CV to one of the people I saw at the careers in television seminar at the roundhouse and she’s offered me some researching work experience on a show she’s developing for the discovery channel, I’m a little trepidatious about doing researching for TV again but this seems much more interesting and much less tabloid than 100 greatest sexy moments or Mike Tyson Laid Bare, so I might do some of that for a laugh and a reason to get out of bed (yes I can hear you all now, a bit late in the day to start thinking about that, wooo! you just punned yourself out of a point!)
So now to brunch (well after I’ve posted this and inserted a ton of photos etc) and then it’s Renoir time.
Ooh plans for the weekend, I was going to lose Becky to Harpenden as she was going up tonight for a mate’s party who I didn’t know and then hang there only coming back for Monday’s work and for a play (which I was going to tag along to and probably still will) tomorrow. I’ve gotta be back here tomorrow evening you see for my neighbours leaving do, I’m representing the house, I guess now along with Marina so I won’t be such a lemon. But Bex’s party seems off so I’m going to go up for the night. It’s my gran’s b-day tomorrow too but she says she hasn’t any plans but I’ll ring her tonight to check and I’ll make a card whilst watching Renoir, woop! Tomorrow there was also potential for some NO2ID flyering in highbury and Islington, but I reckon I’ll do that another week when we can also advertise their October first comedy fundraiser at the Hackney Empire. There is also a No Trident Replacement conference all day but I’ma have to skip that. To make up for it I’m going to donate a tenner to a big advert to coincide with the Labour party conference (ooh I’ll have my name in the paper) and you should all do the same:
For a minimum donation of £10, your name will be listed on the advert together with eminent individuals from all walks of life. To support this appeal and have your name listed on the advert, please ring Katy on 0207 700 2393 or support the ad campaign via our online shop. You may need to click through to the ‘Donate’ page or scroll down to find the statement donation, depending on your browser.
The deadline for signing on to this statement is Monday 4th September at 5 pm.
SAY NO TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS
TELL THE GOVERNMENT: NO TRIDENT REPLACEMENT