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May 16, 2007

This is your time, this is your place

This is going to be another one of those long meandering posts with lots of random thoughts, rants and banal and not so banal details from my life. For ease of comprehension I’ll warn you it is roughly written in backwards chronology.

Why is a police operation to stop gun crime in the black community called Trident? It has nothing to do with water. At least our nuclear submarines are submarines. I reckon it’s to deflect people who oppose Trident, to put us off the scent. “you can’t oppose our efforts to reduce gun crime surely you liberal panzys!”.
The press are generally annoying bullshitters with F-ed up priorities. You may soon be able to read Nicola Cutcher’s very interesting article on this topic at: http://www.warwickboar.co.uk/static/about/nicola_cutcher/

Tony Blair’s resignation was effectively used to bury news and they were telling us what we already knew anyway, we’d be under a different brand by the end of the year. I wonder what they were trying to bury? £1 billion?

There’s an interesting looking film on at the arts centre on Saturday the 26th called “Taking Liberties since 1997” which is about New Labour’s erosion of civil liberties (a subject close to my heart), it will also have a talk/Q/A by the director who used to go to warwick, I’m going to try some networking and see if I can get some work experience for the summer and beyond. It’s near my exams (on the 29th and 31st but it seems too good/important to miss).

revision is going alright, I’ve narrowed down what I want to study and it therefore has become quite enjoyable but it is still quite hard to apply myself to revision as it is so much different to the kind of work required for a research essay or play writing or straight up mise-en-scene textual analysis. But I’ve factored in enough time I think and have got a pretty good revision plan in front of me.

I’m currently uploading photos onto facebook, ahh distractions distractions. Revision is going well and I just got back an essay I thought I ballsed up and it came back much better than expected. It take the weight off a little.
Mad excited to have got my MA place: Creative and Media Enterprises! It’ll be a really good way to round off my time here, I want to do a lot to make it feel like a fresh start. When I went for the interview the guy who runs it gave a great talk outlining the course in more detail and in chatting to some current students it became apparent the course was ideal for me, a great lead on from this course and a perfect segue into the creative world.

Summer is shaping up nicely, I’ve got a bunch of Festivals in the works, there’s National Aweisu day in Epping forest which is really exciting, potentially work at Glasto, the biggest festival around, Bex and I are hoping to work a beer tent for the campaign against the arms trade. I’m applying to steward Glade, I’m going to Portugal and there may or may not be a beach rave which would be banter, I’m going to EXIT fest in Serbia which has an excellent line up and a bunch of the bestest lads from uni are going along to party hearty in an old fort on a hill overlooking the city of Novi Sad. Unfortunately it means I’ll be out of the country on my B-day and more importantly on the Planet Angel closest to my B-day but I hope I’ll be around to help out with the August one instead, rigging perhaps or some other role. Hopefully I’ll also be able to get away to France with the parentals where we will be celebrating Bretagne cuisine and tradition, hopefully there will be a nice farmers festival and BBQ and I hope I can get JDubs to come along even though they’re going out just afore his b-day. Either way I’m trying to pack this summer to the brim with friends, music, sun, beaches and banter! It’s pretty much guaranteed banter as Bex will be staying with me in London for around a month whist working with Jane the theatre agents. I too must look into padding out the summer months with some revenue making if I’m to survive the festivals on more than hotdogs and will power and hopefully have some cash stashed for the upcoming MA.


This term has been good so far, odd and unlike any other before which is as it should be. I handed in a 5000 word essay I was pretty happy. I handed in my writing for performance portfolio and we did a rehearsed reading of some bits. I wish we had had stricter deadlines so I could have drafted and redrafted more without leaving some redrafting for the last minute but I was overall pleased with the result and have given it to a mate who has a space in the arts festival but no play. I hope he likes it but we shall see. Before we began lockdown Bex and I went to London for one last rave-up. It was another spectacular night, there were so many cool people there, a glitter fest and great music and dancing throughout. It was sad that a bunch of London people weren’t able to come for various reasons but it had a different flavour and I had a great time with Bex enjoying paradise. It was also cool to meet new people in the Planet family and catch up properly with James man with the magic hands, who I have only really seen tangentially at recent parties.

It was great recently to be at home to welcome my parents back from their long trip. They’re looking really well and I’m sure there’ll be slide show upon slide show and story upon story for me to enjoy over the summer from these intrepid explorers/adventurers. I did a silly thing and watched the ball breakingly bad film Snakes on a Plane with my mumma. It was mega lame, but I finally got to see Borat which to me seemed like quite a watered down version of his TV show, perhaps that is why it was championed by so many middle of the road critics.

The new series of Doc who has been the best one yet of this new start of series. It’s been full on excitement and variety and spectacle. And it’s not over yet. Perhaps if boredom takes me I’ll do some fuller reviews of the eps, but so far Gridlock has proven yet again why Russell T Davies was the perfect man to revive the series, and not just because of The Macra!

Becky’s 21st was totally awesome, full of fun people, great music and a plenty glowsticks. The day after was equally banterful with a lovely BBQ in the back garden and a good number of people out enjoying the sun and chicken (especially Nadim’s mum’s recipe tandoori). It was a pity that we were too tired from the night before to go out and enjoy the London nightlife but it only made sense to chill out, which is never a bad thing to do of an evening.
The day before Be’x party we went to Whipsnade together and had the most awesome day with the Lemurs and big snakes and monkies etc. it was a perfect day and we had a nice walk around, a fab picnic, and got to see some really cute things in nice spaces (a particular fave was the red tree pandas!)

When I was in London I managed to go and see Taylor Mac the drag act at the Soho theatre with JW, it was totally awesome and I urge you to search his name on YouTube or something. It’s great!

I haven’t posted about Norfolk (chilled, lovely and awesome) or the camp reunion in Edinburgh (another wicked gang of people) or the Drama Ball (really good thespy night) or a million and one other happenings and thoughts, but that’s because although I want to I have to let those slide temporarily. I need to get my head buried in some books and keep all my various bits and bobs of admin and planning ticking over. Look woe is me, not! This is a great time, the sun sometimes shines and when it doesn’t we erect a tarp and have a BBQ anyway ;o)

Keep well everybody, much love and as a small thing to fill the time between reading this and catching up properly here are a few little webby time waster things I found on other blogs:

Google Game:
Go to Google and type in quotation marks your name and then “likes to” (ex. “Steve likes to”). Type in the first ten things that come up and repost in your own note.

Alastair likes to be active and have as many new experiences as possible

Alastair likes to cook and sample fine wines – often at the same time.

Alastair likes to use stgCast instead of C syntax. He claims it’s easier to write and easier to grep for.

Alastair likes to be… efficient in his communications, so here is his jambalaya recipe in full:. Chorizo, red onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, celery

Considering Alastair likes to run when he takes to the Heath, you would expect him to take it for some muddy jaunts.

Alastair likes to use a limited palette without blacks or browns.

I already can tell that Alastair likes to be with other children and I would not want to deprive him of going to school so he can make lots of friends and play.

Alastair likes to pretend he’s a whore, but when he’s really hungry he isn’t actually willing to put his ass on the market.


Alastair likes to surf this spot but you have to hike up and over the ridge with your board and most of his friends aren’t too keen with that.

(Surprisingly a lot of that matches me ;o) )

Here’s another procrastination game I’ve nicked from my mate Gomes, if you feel to fill it out in the comments area and I may return the favour if you copy the questions into a note of your own, unless I can’t be arsed or finals fear really takes over:

1. Who are you?
2. Are we friends?
3. When and how did we meet?
4. Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.
5. Describe me in one word.
6. What was your first impression?
7. Do you still think that way about me now?
8. What reminds you of me?
9. If you could give me anything what would it be?
10. How well do you know me?
11. When’s the last time you saw me?
12. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn’t?
13. Are you going to post this in your notes and see what I say about you?

April 22, 2007

the skins are the same colour as the shirts

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
or Saigon?
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

April 18, 2007

Quote of the day

A day comes when we understand that tomorrow will be no different from today since of today will it be made.
~ Proust

March 17, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

This is an amazing shot of the lunar eclipse that occurred on 3rd march. It shows each phase of the eclipse as seen from the eiffel tower…NICE.

March 04, 2007

A "found" joke

Reading Incoherant Empire by Michael Mann and I came across this…have a chuckle:

Palestinians tell of an apocryphal UN world survey containing the question “What is your opinion about the food shortage in the rest of the world?” They say the survey failed because in Africa no one knew what “food” meant, in Wester Europe no one knew what “shortage” meant, in dictatorships no one knew what “opinion” meant, and in the United States no one knew wht “the rest of the world” meant.

February 28, 2007

Rageh Inside Iran

A few people have asked me about what Iran is like recently, especially as it’s in the news so much these days what with the nuclear crap. This is a great documentary by Rageh Omaar, BBC journalist, who spent some time in Tehran (Iranian capital) to find out more about the lives of ordinary, and extraordinary, Iranians.
I highly recommend it. Enjoy!


December 08, 2006

Complicated melody

I’m listening to India Arie’s song ‘Complicated Melody’. It’s beautiful. It’s also a good title for the past three months; it’s been chaotic, structured by the cycle of each week, evolving, sometimes repeating in fugic cycles, ending, beginning afresh and et cetera. I haven’t been blogging any of it, though, and it’s about time I got this old clock ticking again. The christmas holidays have just begun so I’ll have time to really give it a shot…


It’s Christmas


October 31, 2006

State your peace (cheers for voting for me for union council! success)

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.

To learn more and to take action:

September 27, 2006

Fragile Things????

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.
children of menMicheal Caine
(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

little bits and bobs of campaigning


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

Also today on the first day of the Labour party conference NO2ID put out this ad full page on the back of the guardian. Oooh controversial.
Guardian Ad

I’ll get back to you on my day to day happenings as soon as (it isn’t the middle of the night).
Love Al

September 23, 2006


Political humour – do US news channels ever say things their happy to admit to?

Question Marks on News Shows Are CNN and Fox just asking innocent questions?
<-- END: Question Marks on News Shows -->

September 19, 2006

If you're not pissed off you're not paying attention. Turning my back on the sun

Loose Change 911 cover up documentary

The pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen – the X Files- spin off basically encapsulates this film. As did the recent series opener for the BBC show Spooks. Hey to me it makes sense. You can try and enrage whatever religious sect you like (by being religious they have shown some dedication to a belief so supplanting their spiritual belief with a political one to your own end may seem simple enough). But I just don’t buy the whole, extremist muslims are the root of all evil and international terrorism (which gets proportionately too much coverage when compared with the real crisises that face us such as global warming and global poverty and an erosion of our civil liberties and public services). When you look at who has most to gain (and who has profitted most) from these acts, and cross reference that with those who have the power and equipment to carry out these acts with military precision, you realise that we (who create global public opinion – which according to Chomsky is the worlds other superpower) are under a psychological attack and PR campaign to beat us into submission, this attack comes from our corporate overlords and as has always been the case we must fight it and them.
The only thing worth fighting for is peace and we must realise who the hypocrites are who take that holy word (peace) in vain as they slaughter and allow slaughter.

Just got back from Leamington where I finally moved out of my last year’s room and into a fresh bigger one. I hoovered and moved all my shit and made a big mess of boxes in the hall. I had a lovely night in with Lou and we caught some top tv and made use of the on demand feature on our telly. Hey it beats fern and phil however good they are.
brucie bonus
I’m toying with the idea of doing a video diary, but i want to play with the format, perhaps make it a puppet show. I’ll think on’t.

I was over at Becky’s for a few days which was lovely. It’s hard to spend time apart, especially after living together for a month. We had a great time and ate well even doing a roast and dessert. We hung out with the Harpenden posse and I got to meet Jade which was delightful. We drank in St Albans and in the regular joint the inn on the green. I even went on a Waltzer with Adam and Alison. It is my favourite ride and we managed to avoid any violent chavs although my phone almost fell out of my pocket on the spins.Bex & SamSexy up the skirt shotme prone, taking the up the skirt shot
Bex and I watched the final 5/6 episodes of Bleak House, it was well involving, a great show well made and well acted.
We also had banter on the local park’s skate park and we did a time trial in which i hurt my knee (see pic above) but still got the to time.

I’ve been reading Robinson Crusoe but i’m only like 50 pages in, I’ve gotta get it read before the start of term.
foxy in tent
I had a lovely time at Foxy’s the other day, i was a bit sleepy and crotchety but i think that often adds to my charm, like the 1st doctor, not like the 6th colin baker tho my dress sense i probably more akin with his. We were constructing a tent type thang for Foxy who wanted a little more privacy as he sleeps in the living room of the delightful Canary Wharf apartment. It turned out splendidly with a little help from Karim who solved our anchorage issue with some hemp string and some Bamboo (I capitalised that so you could fully appreciate the sound of that word. Bamboo, i love it). It was cool to hang out unfortunately i had to run mid way through pizza for…

...for a meeting with a producer I met at the TV carreers seminar to discuss possible researching for her show, but I think I’ll only do a little of it because I’d like to get a headstart on this term’s work and on my own projects (lots of editing, film making, writing etc to do) and the subject although all dryness is removed from the show the research could be a bit dusty, and it’s not a new challange so much, having done researching for tv before.

I’m going to try and get on a coach to the demo on saturday in Manchester. It should be a big one and hopefully we’ll start being listened to now King Tony’s position is weakened by his massive failure as a human being and might I say as an impartial observer as a Christian.

so i passed my driving test which was a relief. I only got 3 minors so i’m proud of myself. I don’t reckon it’s very viable getting a veichle straight away but we’ll see, if it turns out I can get a cheap run around at auction or something and perhaps cheapish insurance it might be worth trying to accrue some no claims bonus. But what I really want is a VW so I’ma have to focus on it for that to come to me clearly and easily as they seem pretty steep right now and all of the other issues (like the amount i should focus on my last year at uni rather than running around the country camping and running errands;-P)

I’m worried for my pappy as he’s up late at night avoiding sleep looking at right-wing websites such as www.tkb.org (thats terrorism knowledge database to you and me) fueling paranoia without any of the perks paranoia usually brings like cannabis induced mirth. I can’t talk really. I’m the same, although I avoid forray’s into gambling websites (tho I am far too often checking e-bay to see if they’ve reduced the price of the cyberman voice changer helmet so I guess each to their own vices huh?).
He’s also been doing his lone gunman bit on old mi6 murders and on bits of the uk countryside that shouldn’t be there but are clearly visible on google earth. He’s convinced there’s drilling and a whole military underground city. It’s getting all a bit Dr Strangelove but hey I like it. I’m more convinced by the J G Ballard consumerist, st George’s flag brandishing, distraction dystopia.
I’m just about to read an extract from his new book “Kingdom Come” and i caught an interview with Melvin Bragg last night which seemed interesting.

I’m also worried about my mammy as she seems to only want to engage me in baby language. this can make conversation difficult and perplexing. I can understand it to some extent as she still calls her dad dadarh and he is a big one for talking like a 5 year old to “dear little doggies”- that’s a direct quote from a lord of the realm. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, they can’t understand a fucking thing eitherway i suppose. I think it might be some strange aristocratic hangover, i mean i can’t imagine anyone talking to prince charles like he’s a sane, adult, human-being but then again I reckon our genes might be a bit more diverse. I think this obsession with family might account for her intense jealousy of time I spend away from home. Or perhaps it’s an unspoken desire to have someone to talk to who isn’t asleep during the day due to hours of night time conspiracy theory research (in part my fault granted, i kick started it with spooks and Loose Change – see above) but there’s only so much of the puppy dog look I can handle.
I think we’ll both try and act as tho it’s solely due to her motherly desire to cook and clean for me, and when I’m not here there’s simply nothing to do, nothing to iron. Either that or as Becky pointed out we’re all changing, learning all the time and when you spend time apart that continues but you’re not around to observe it. So it can be a little jarring.
p.s. I don’t iron. I specifically buy clothes (usually from charity shops) that require no extra work. Ironing is the opiate of the eastenders watcher. God I’m getting pretensious. What to you mean “Getting?” in that incredulous tone!?!
I’ll totally miss them when they’re gone… NO I don’t mean when they kick the bucket I mean when they go travelling for half a year odd. They’re much better 20 something’s than I’ll ever be. I’ve already skipped to the old man ranting stage.

Today i went into Leamington town with Lou and looked for some course books (plays which i subsequently ordered from the Amazon marketplace) i found none but Lou got Robinson Crusoe so not a failure. I picked up a book by Pete Seeger which has photo’s and sheet music concerning the people who worked to build America. I can’t wait to get into it.

sorry for the disjointed nature of this entry. I don’t give a fuck. Ooh look at me Rebel without a cause you may say.

I;ve been reading a good book for our aesthetics module (well the first chapter with a nap in the middle of it during my train down) called But is it Art? It’s very interesting and accessible (and a small book too, woot!). That’s all on that for now.

there’s not enough hours in the day for facebook and there’s not enough people on Skype. Perhaps I’ll start a facebook group encouraging people to join Skype. I mean i could call them but I’m more friendly with my computer than i am with my phone. Odd that.

My gorgeous Becky is ill. I hate it. If I lived near her I’d be over there with chicken soup and strokes. It’s partly my fault, I encouraged her drinking when on antibiotics, well i say i encouraged it infact i think i was trying to keep up with her.Bex B/W
She told me today that when she’s in this state she’d appreciate it if i wasnt witty. I wasn’t being witty I was putting my foot in my mouth time and time again so if she thought it was me being witty then surely it’s her fault for being stupid. wait I’ve gotta stop. But when faced with bad shit you’ve gotta laugh. Like a Ron Howard movie. If you took off the heart plucking strings, doubled the speed of the film and put on the Benny Hill music, that would be hilarious shit. But hey I didn’t direct it and there’s probably a reason for that. The project would have come in horribly overbudget after we secured the rights to the music when we could have used any old violin and 2 bit composer. Benny Hill music is GENIUS!!
I’ve diverted from topic but I’m allowed safe in the knowledge that I love that girl with every fibre of my being (so that’s my hair?...STOP IT!)

I haven’t gotten my brother anything for his birthday yet. I feel stupid getting him something from his Amazon wishlist (a staple in recent present buying, everyone’s made happy) as now he works from them he could get the items at a silly discount. Perhaps I’ll get him horribly distasteful 9/11 memoribilia as that’s his birthdate. Someone must have made a commemorative plate by now, there were plenty for Diana. why do they choose plates for these tasteless money grabbing pieces of shit? Why not a diana memorial watering can? or diana memorial pair of old boots.

just to repeat some links:
http://www.no2id.net/ www.stopwar.org.uk www.liftshare.org http://democracynow.org/ www.geniuscatalyst.com www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/news/radiophonatron.shtml www.cnduk.org/

and here’s an animated music video for Less than Jake’s song The Science of Selling Yourself Short.
Check it out

here’s some random photo’s some from events which i believe I’ve mentioned. e.g. the excellent Planet Angel and the excellent Titus Andronicus (which was brillo in seeing James and I scored the Dr Who Quadrupile which if i havent explained it and you care, ask me to explain in the comments below and I shall).
There is also a pic there of kids on a zebra crossing I’d like to open that up to a caption competition.

Planet PixieNO2ID Badges for baggingGaiaThe GlobeHUNGER HUNGER HUNGER HUNGER HUNGER HUNGER HUNGER HUNGER at kidirises god ICaption anyone?

September 12, 2006

Want to know?

Writing about web page http://www.wanttoknow.info/index.shtml

In preparation for my module STATES OF DAMAGE: Us writing and culture post 9/11, I’ve begun to browse the internet in search of documentaries to brush up on my conspiracy theory knowledge of 9/11 and the current Western “politics of fear”. Bit late in starting you may think? Well, yes. I can’t believe I haven’t been more proactive in finding out more earlier…I think it was taking up this course, and being reminded by the 9/11 anniversary yesterday, that I don’t know enough about the history and scandal of 9/11 and the subsequence events of the current “war on terror”. It is truly a fascinating world of speculation, and quite addictive too. There is SO much stuff out there that you can easily spend days hopping from one documentary to the next, one site to the next, one book to the next.

On particularly good site I’ve stumbled across is Want To Know and the best short film so far, in terms of engagement and atmospheric filmmaking, has been this one about the plane that allegedly crashed into the Pentagon

I also began reading 9/11 Stranger than Fiction, which you can get read aloud to you on google video by a monotone computerised American voice. Annoying as hell, but worth it for the article if you’re too lazy to read the book/to poor to buy it ;)

You’ve probably all seen/read these before…but they’ll be interesting for anyone else doing the course or wanting to follow up 9/11. I guess I’m a latecomer huh? I’ve just suddenly been hit by this extremely urgent need, more so than usual, to understand better the political situation that we’re faced with today, and the only way to understand it better is to begin with the tragic event that kicked it all of in recent years, 9/11.

September 08, 2006

Mukhtar Mai

Writing about web page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukhtaran_Bibi

I was driving home just now, listening to radio four and one particular news story hooked my attention: that of Mukhtar Mai, an internationally successful figure in the fight for women’s rights in Pakistan. She’s been in the news lot over the past few years so you may already have heard about her, but I felt compelled to share my enthusiasm for this powerful woman.
Mukhtar was gang-raped on the orders of a rival clan in her native village of Meerwala, Pakistan. Backed by the government, she managed to recieve compensation and won a court hearing that ended with the prosecution of some of her rapists, a feat acheived by only a miniscule minority of Pakistani women who suffer the same fate.
The part of the story that really held me was how she used her compensation to establish two school is her home province, one for girls and one for boys, in order to combat the negative treatment of women with education. She believes this is the only way to create a lasting impression and ethos of respect between men and women in the next generation. She never recieved education as a young girl – there was no school for girls in her village – so she has created the opportunity for young girls to have what she never experience, and what she believed would have made a significant difference. What an enlightened and truly inspiring individual; to use her experience constructively to combat a taboo, but extremely important issue within her native environment.
Her latest progression has been to set up a weblog! I’ve tried to find it but failed…Mukhta is illiterate herself, but she dictates issues and debates about the unacceptable treatment of women in rural Pakistan, which are typed up on her weblog by a local bbc journalist. She is spreading the word and creating an awareness of abuse that has passed us by silently until recently. Good on her.

September 04, 2006

Moussu T e lei jouvents

Writing about web page http://moussut.ohaime.com/

Not rated

This is my find of the week: Moussu T e lei jouvents (Moussu T and the Yougsters). I first heard about them from the independent arts and books review, susequently found them on myspace music (wherein I became their first, and only, fan – but let that not be a reflection of their talent by any means), and am now particularly taken with the last track of the album, ‘Soulumi’.
The band are a meeting ground for the cultural diversity and vivacity of Marseille port, and their music sees the integration of Brazillian, Jamaican, African, French, and the “Mississippi Delta” to a wonderfully colourful, blusey effect. The album is categorised as blues, and most of the songs fit that mould in rhythm and melodic prominance of the blues guitar, but there are pleantly of reggae beats and barimba twangs in there to add multinational spice to the flavour of Moussu’s music.
What does this music sound like? Why, like Marseille of course! Literally…the cosmopolitain sounds of its many co-existing people, the creak of ships, the rough friction of ropes, the strumming repetetiveness of waves crashing. Simple, raw and laid back, yet exciting music…kind of like a curry – full of different flavours that blend perfectly together.
Have a listen to the full version of Soulumi, or get a broader perspective on the whole album here.

August 28, 2006

A Way.

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5292102.stm

It's been a while since I last posted, but I've begun writing regularly again, and here is a poem that was inspired by the news story given in the bbc link. Obviously, it isn't an acurate account, only inspired by how the story moved me. Enjoy.

  • * *

And there is always a way. A way in, a way out. A way.
Away – I flew from there like a swallow urged onward by the wind,
my feet pounding the pavement harder than necessary,
attempting to ground myself and prevent my weak knees from buckling.
I’d never
run so far
so fast
in all my life.

Master. It was his way of hoisting my white flag, allowing him victory:
“Master”, I call, tears automatically coursing down my cheeks at him command;
“Master”, the slow strangulation of will, the hard iron cuffs about my skinny
wrists, carving his mark: “Master” into the bark of my bone.
Every night
was yet

He found me on the way to school. It was as simple as “Hello”, as simple as
a handshake. A How–Do–You–Do. Simple, yet, as is the way with fate, that hand–
shake sealed a contract (I was not old enough to know about small–print)
and hand–in–hand his grip tightened and off he walked, trailing me behind, my
feet tripping
one another.
And the tears.

Ten years. Those words mean not a thing to me. What is eight years?
It is not 365 times eight. It is not twelve times eight. It is not measurable for me
except by the childhood I lost, how much I missed my mother, and the memories
I’ll never have; high school boys, the parties and a sweet sixteen. Sixteen was never

But there is always a way, a way in, a way out. There is a way to condense eight years
into an acorn, and

July 14, 2006

Platforms Magazine

Quick note from Florence – I'm alive and it is HOT out here! (weatherwise)
More soon about the travels…its been wonderful…but first check out my first (second) published work, thanks to Roy :)
A few of my poems can be read in issue IV of Platforms Magazine

The magazine is general very cool so check out the other sections too, and while you're at it browse the back issues ;)

Enjoy :)

June 15, 2006

Yet another year…

Two down…a life–time to follow…

Does time speed up as one grows older? Kris was trying to explain the physics behind the possibility of time travel: basically (and I'm sure there's a lot more to it than this) if we manage somehow to travel faster than the speed of light, we will begin doing backwards in time. Blows my mind.

Apparently, the faster we move, physically, the more time slows down – does this mean that time's going by so fast because I'm too stationary? Maybe I should try doing more? Yes. Do more. But what? Writing – DUH! And music too. Write faster, read faster, sing faster (higher?) and you'll have more time? I'm sure one of you Warwick physicists out there my want to correct me, I'm just using this as some extended metaphor for my sudden motivation to write write write sing sing sing and do as much of it as possible in the time that I have to myself this summer!

Time Travel - Alpha Andrews

This year's been manic in many ways. I'm not sure I even want to try and sum it up, I feel like I've already moved into the next phase of things. Grounded as a feather swept away in a fresh breeze. I'm sure there's a lot more in store. This summer is panning out to be interesting – Europe (if Vahid gets his visa), Ireland, London film festival and then wherever the wind blows me, maybe even new york. Watch this space.

June 08, 2006

Eating Figs

Soft. Ajar and inviting: split me.
So I do, peeling back the bruised skin, slightly wrinkled like a wisened face, to reveal a colony of seeds. Two perfectly equal halves. I brush the entrails of one with my tongue, the tip exploring populations of tiny pods, like a hand emersed in a bag of kernels. They ripple beneath taste–buds, greeting them with the pleasure of reunited lovers.

Eagre teeth sink slowly into the mustard hyde and crunch the stiff seeds, cracking so many shells and severing fibre sinews.

I eat one half at a time.

One of them is held in the pergatory of my plam, resisting the temptation to squeeze and spill the entrails over the lip of the halved skin. The half in my mouth is sugared kalamari, a bag of magic beans, a Romantic's heart, all swilled around and inbetween each tooth. What carniverous pleasure. I cannot wait to eat the vulnerable Other.


I found this in my notebook. It's not great, definately needs redrafting but I thought I'd post it all the same...

sunlight fades and night
crawls into bed
beneath the covers
wraps a gloved hand a–
round my pupil
and darkness dissolves
into that non–space between
sleep and trying
too hard to

in which I toss
and turn
and turn
pin pricks
of elves who have discovered a new
these irritated limbs
a mirror
for twisting thoughts
– a flutter –
butterfly beside my ear
each frantic wing–beat
come close
come closer

I see the spider's web that's latched you on
take me
let me
I’ll ease into your fragile frame
and flap,
flap and
set you free

she flies
(or is it he?)
and heavy whisps of thought
push through my ears
slide along my hair
and out,
and out into the air;
I spin my mind throughout the room, around
my bed
releasing slaves of memory
who’s chains I wove with this same
pseudo–spider craft;
upon each strand,
a single tear is thread.

a salty river flows
glazing webs that grow
throughout the room
now glistening
as if they wear
the morning's dew—

clever butterfly
turned these self–indulgencies
into a natural work of art

June 04, 2006

Middle Eastern influences in Romantic and Victorian Poetry

Three days 'til my Poery and Society exam and I have begun to wish I'd taken an interest in it earlier. Due to various reasons, mostly my attitude towards the course, I haven't worked as hard as I could have this year and now that I am beginning to read the poets of the Romantic and Victorian eras in more depth, I am finding myself enjoying them more and more.

What I really wanted to blog now, is my discovery of Middle Eastern influences in Poetry of this period. Two examples:

Shelley's The Revolt of Islam, a poem in twelve cantos. The revolutionary radicalism in this poem was too much for Shelley's publishers and he was forced to revise it considerably and publish it under another title.

Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustam. Rustam is the epic hero of one of the greatest works in Persian literature, The Shahname and Sohrab was his son. I haven't had the chance to read the poem thoroughly, but it may be Arnold's version of one of The Shahname's many stories concerning Rustam and Sohrab's lives.