All entries for January 2006

January 29, 2006

It's Late, I Want One


January 26, 2006

No Cruise? You Lose?

It's election time and if it's anything like it was last year then the blogs (free from the censorship that the Boar suffers from (and Raw and WTV keep complaining that they would suffer from if only someone cared enough to make them suffer)) are choked with election propaganda, campaign diaries and waffle. So I'm wading in early to say:

No Cruise? You Lose!

Yes, I am not running for anything and the only people who are losing out are you! Yes, you unlucky people are going to be devoid of my charismatic leadership and devastating good looks, at least in a sexy schmexy sabb role.

Anyway just to rub it in I'm going to publish my campaign posters, hahaha.



You lot will have to cope without my leadership. Oh well, tough shit, eh?


January 24, 2006

It's Back!

I got my blog back again!

Now if only I had something to say…


January 21, 2006

The Best Tabloid Headline Ever

Writing about web page http://www.mailwatch.co.uk/

I saw this at the Mailwatch website and it truly is the ultimate distillation of the tabloids' agendas into one perfect headline.

I love it. It is beautiful. Now quake middle England, quake like the bitches you are!


Brit Awards 2006

The Brit Award 2006 nominations are out. Unfortunately I forgot to change my name to Kate/Katie/KT/Kay-Tea/Kittie/Katherine/Kakakakakakakakapeckpeckpeck so I did not get nominated in the Best British Female category which is once more a tragic loss to music. The categories are decided by a panel of ultra-conservative music industry who-the-hell-are-theys from the most bloody obvious records released every year (or not released in some cases). Since the 1994 Stop Giving Annie Lennox An Award Every Single Bloody Year Act (introduced as a private members bill in parliament by Edwina Currie) the Brits have tried to make more effort to diversify. They usually fail…

Every year the Awards are held in the prestigious setting of Elton John's toilet which is funny cos he never wins. Here celebrities from the X, Y and Z list mingle with narcoleptic government ministers looking for easy cool, radio DJs from Shit/Merde FM in the Channel Islands, and of course Jordan. The country, not the model as Peter Andre, strangely, never gets nominated. Sometimes somthing interesting happens like the year Coldplay threw a bucket of donkey spunk all over deputy prime minister Steven Gerrard. Or when a clearly inebriated Queen Mother ran onstage as Fatboy Slim won Baldest DJ and vomited all over Charlotte Church's shoes starting the War Of Welsh Independence which has resulted in the Democratic Republic of Wales which last year replaced France as the world's sixth largest economy and topped the world rankings for coutries most at a loss about what to moan about now that the English don't bother them anymore. It's worth noting that this was when Charlotte Church was 14, before her industrial goth metal phase.

Anyway below are this year's nomination with commentary from our esteemed music critic Vladimir Putin Holly Cruise. She has kindly noted who she thinks will win, who will actually win, and who should win in the unlikely case that the panel has forgotten to nominate anyone with any talent. Heaven forbid.

Thank you all and I hope to see you in Sir Elton's loo in a few weeks time for what promises to be an evening of death, slaughter and debauchery.
Nicholas Wankshaft-Smythe, Head of the Brit Awards.

Best British Male Solo Artist
Antony and the Johnsons (Should win)
Ian Brown
James Blunt (Will win)
Robbie Williams
Will Young
The winner should be... Antony.

Best British Female Solo Artist
Charlotte Church
Kate Bush (Will win) (Should win)
Katie Melua
KT Tunstall
Natasha Bedingfield
The winner should be... Kate Bush.)

Best British Band
Coldplay (Will win)
Franz Ferdinand (Should win)
Gorillaz
Hard-Fi
Kaiser Chiefs
The winner should be... Bloc Party.

Corporately Sponsored (evil evil evil say the lefty student) Best Album
Coldplay – X&Y (Will win)
Gorillaz – Demon Days
James Blunt – Back To Bedlam
Kaiser Chiefs – Employment (Should win)
Kate Bush – Ariel
The winner should be... Bloc Party - Silent Alarm.

Best British song we all downloaded illegally thus killing the music industry's childhood pets Single
Coldplay – 'Speed Of Sound'
James Blunt – 'You're Beautiful' (Will win unless this is voted for by people who listen to commercial radio in which case it's 50-50 between this and Shayne Ward... god help us all)
Shayne Ward – 'That's My Goal'
Sugababes – 'Push The Button' (Should win)
Tony Christie vs Peter Kay – 'Amarillo'
The winner should be... Bloc Party - 'Pioneers'.

British Breakthrough Act
Arctic Monkeys (If it's still voted for online then they'll win, if not Blunt will get it) (Should win)
James Blunt
Kasier Chiefs
KT Tunstall
The Magic Numbers
The winner is... well my radar is set differently to the Brits, i.e. I've heard some new music in the last billion years so I'll go with a band I heard and liked (though I admit didn't believe would top the charts) at Christmas 2004 - Arctic Monkeys.

British Urban Act
Craig David
Dizzee Rascal
Kano (Should win)
Lemar (Will win)
Miss Dynamite
The winner should be... Kano or Lady Sovreign. Can't decide.

British Rock Act
Franz Ferdinand (Should win)
Hard-Fi
Kaiser Chiefs (Will win)
Kasabian
Oasis
The winner should be... Bloc Party.

British Live Act
Coldplay
Kaiser Chiefs
Franz Ferdinand (Should win)
KT Tunstall
Oasis (Will win)
The winner should be... British Sea Power.

Best Pop Act
James Blunt
Katie Melua
Kelly Clarkson
Madonna (Will win unless there's still a large enough number of teenage girls who still like Westlife despite the evidence of their ears!) (Should win)
Westlife
The winner should be... Girls Aloud. But Madonna's good as well.

International Male Solo Artist
Beck
Bruce Springsteen
Jack Johnson
John Legend
Kanye West (Will win) (Should win)
The winner should be... Kanye West, he knows it.

International Female Solo Artist
Bjork
Kelly Clarkson
Madonna (Will win) (Should win)
Mariah Carey
Missy Elliot
_The winner should be… Madonna.

Funny how there's one non-American in the entire international solo artist set.

International Group
Arcade Fire (Should win every single award. Twice)
Black Eyed Peas
Green Day (Will win)
U2
White Stripes
The winner should be... ARCADE FIRE

Best International Album
Arcade Fire – Funeral (Should win sooooooooo manyyyyyyyyyyyyyy awards!)
Green Day – American Idiot (Will win)
Kanye West – Late Registration
Madonna – Confessions On A Dancefloor
U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
_The winner should be… ARCADE FIRE_

International Breakthrough Act
Arcade Fire (Surely they must give this one to Arcade Fire) (Should win)
Daniel Powter
Jack Johnson
John Legend
Pussycat Dolls
The winner should be... oh what do you think?

I'm nothing if not cynical when the Brits come around but who knows? We might get another Belle and Sebastian sized hilarious upset. I hope so, it's funnier that way.


January 17, 2006

Patriotism Gone Mad?

No, this isn't a political rant (for once). I got stamped on during a tackle in football training today and the result was this beauty.

It doesn't hurt as much as it looks but it was bothering me for some reason. Why did it make me think of something else? So I twisted my leg round and took photos (yes, my leg is as narcissistic as I am) and looked on in realistation.

Oh yes, it's not just a wound, it's an affirmation of the country I grew up in, the nation where my mother was born, the land which gave the world crumpets, moaning and the spaghetti junction. A land of rain, grumbling and mild fog on summer mornings. A land where cows run free until they get BSE or tipped by bored rural children.

A land where taxi drivers have more opinions than government does and where badly written newspapers captivate millions with the simple application of tits. A land where we can all live together in mild distrust and animosity.Our national heros, we salute the great Britons like Sven Goran Eriksson, Terry Wogan, Ross from Friends and Ferne Cotton.

I salute it with my leg, a BRITISH leg, a patriotic leg. Stand up and be counted (cos I can't cos my leg hurts).

Still at least it's not celebrating my Irish roots as an orange and green leg would be a concern...


January 14, 2006

Jaffa

Jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa 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jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa jaffa

I've spent all day either discussing important musical projects with Els and Niamh, reading about Russian workers before the Revolution or DJing at the Union with some of the finest songs written and released by humankind… and throughout all of this I have not been able to take my mind off jaffa cakes.

I think I might actually be addicted…


January 09, 2006

The French Revolution

Colin said it might be a good idea for us to spend this holiday reading up on the causes of the French Revolution so we'd be able to keep up next term. Naturally if I were to read up and leave it then I am quite likely to forget everything. So I've decided this is the best place to put my findings. Avec helpful diagrams of course... This is all largely pilfered sourced from Colin's book.

Part One – Pissed Off.

By 1788 the French were a bit pissed off. Ok, they were very pissed off. The economy was in the dumper, the monarchy was broke and squeezing money out of the populace (but not the nobility or the clergy), and there were a series of poor harvests. The people were broke, hungry and grumpy. Like a student at their last few early morning lectures of term.

Louis XVI was king and he was another of those useless kings who far outnumber the genuinely good ones in history. He was a depressive and a fop. He also had a bunch of ministers who pretty much couldn't agree on what colour grass was, nevermind important decisions of state.

In September 1788 Louis got fed up and summoned Parlement. This was a law court where they passed opinions on the laws of the land but a) couldn't permanently prevent anything the monarch really wanted, because b) they could be exiled, dismissed, recalled and generally abused by the monarch. Not a hugely useful state of affairs. Also they weren't elected like British Parliament.

But by September 1788 they were in a powerful position because Louis was desperate. The people didn't like paying taxes whilst the nobility didn't pay. The Parlement's solution was to ask for an Estates General. This was a meeting of the three estates, the clergy (first estate), the nobility (second estate), and everyone else (third estate). There hadn't been one since 1614. Clearly forward looking solutions weren't fashionable that month.

This wasn't very popular with the people because they thought this meant that the first and second estates (i.e. not the people) would dominate the Estates General. They got angry at Parlement. The people of France got angry a lot in those days. Not like today when they never have massive riots or block entire ports with their lorries.

Anyway, these bolshy people were also publishing a lot of pamphlets and forming clubs to discuss politics, and generally did things which the king didn't like. This was known as thinking for yourself and is not popular with monarchs, especially slightly depressed ones.

The king agreed to the Estates General. Then Parlement changed its mind and decided it didn't want one after all but it was too late as the invitations had been sent out, and the king had ordered in the party hats and it would annoy the people who were very bolshy.

I wouldn't annoy those bolshy people, would you?

Part Two – The Estates General

One problem with the Estates General is illustrated below.

The Third Estate had as many members as the other two Estates put together (and event hen only because it had insisted before Louis XVI called the Estates General) but each Estate had one vote. So they weren't really represented. However the people were, as we have seen, a bit bolshy and Louis was worried, so he changed the rules so that there was per head voting, meaning that the Third Estate had as many votes as the other two put together. This may have been down to the troublesome Parisians or maybe it was the fault of Louis XVI's useless ministers.

The Third Estate were worried about government corruption, and privilege being misused. The people were inspired by this and sent in loads of _cahiers,_ very polite messages to the king to please out their problems, please.

The Third Estate was also letting people come into its sessions and view its working unlike the other two Estates. All of this seems very populist, but it's worth remembering that there were no peasants or workers in the Estates General. Smelly peasants might get mud on the bourgeoisie's clothes and we can't have that now can we?

But there was trouble brewing. The Third Estate were getting pissed off at the lack of progress. So they decided to do something. On 17th June 1789 they declared themselves to be the National Assembly and went it alone with those members of the clergy and nobility who agreed with them.

On 2th June 1789 the National Assembly went along to the chambers as usual only to find them locked by order of Louis XVI! Some people would have sent for the janitor to get it open or taken this as a sign of a day off and then gone shopping. But the National Assembly decided that it meant that Louis XVI was angry and planning to dismiss them or worse. They fled to the nearby tennis courts where they defeated Tim Henman in straight sets swore an oath not to disperse until there was a new constitution. To help future historians remember all this it was called the Tennis Court Oath.

Ironically it turned out that Louis XVI wasn't plotting an attack on the National Assembly, he was just fed up with all the rowing and wanted a day or two of peace and quiet to collect his thoughts, before he addressed the National Assembly in person…

Part Three – Chaos In Paris

On 23rd June 1789, Louis XVI addressed his, by now very bolshy, National Assembly. There was widespread unrest across France and large-scale defections from the First and Second Estates to the National Assembly. Louis XVI offered some reforms, but there was to be very little social change. This wasn't really what the National Assembly wanted to hear. Even when Louis XVI ordered all the remaining clergy and nobles to join the National Assembly there was unease.

For some people at the time this appeared to be a revolution completed. The monarch had been forced to concede and that was as far as revolutions usually went in those days.

Louis XVI then ballsed it up somewhat by sacking his moderate ministers and appointing new ones who were seen as counter-revolutionary. It really didn't help that he then ordered the army to move into Paris. Naturally the Parisians responded by panicking and rioting.

A city council was formed and the bourgeoisie joined a new, revolutionary armed forces. In an attempt to get weapons they stormed the notorious prison, the Bastille. This is a hugely symbolic event in French history, possibly only ruined a little by the fact that there were only seven prisoners in there at the time.

But it was cool enough to get the rest of France to have a few riots and frivolities of its own. This included the towns and the cities as well as the peasants who had practise in revolting before [insert joke about revolting peasants here]. It was united by a feeling of anti-seigneurialism, basically they didn't like the nobles getting all the good stuff in life like no taxes and everyone else getting crapped on from a great height. the National Assembly also called for an end to all this, possibly because they believed it (some did) and possibly because they wanted to gain control of the rioters and stop the rioting.

By the 28th August 1789 had come the Declaration Of The Rights Of Man, which is seen as the end of the Bourbon monarchy's absolute rule. Not that this was the end of the French Revolution. Hell, it was only the start, there was lots of fun to be had with wars, executions, terror and other things which make history quite depressing. But I'm off now to regurgitate all this in a seminar, so have fun!


January 08, 2006

Entry Gone…

I just wrote a long but useful entry which was relevant to my degree and had some pretty pictures in it. But it's gone. I tried to copy and paste but it didn't work and now it's gone and I can't get it back.

I think I'm going to sulk now…


January 05, 2006

Cameron Confuses Me Again

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4583234.stm

Right, so the Tories are going to violate their principles of the state not getting involved in private lives by going further than most leftist governments and forcing the young to do 'voluntary' (nice use of the word there) community service after leaving school? Huh?

Well, all I have to say on that particular matter is I'll do it if all the Tories do it retrospectively. After all, they got the benefit of free and grant maintained universities (as did the Labour government who brought us fees, fees and loans), they got to get rich in the booming 1980s whilst the families of the kids they are now targetting (let's face it, there's every likelihood that nice middle class kids heading for uni will be exempt from this like they used to do with juries before Labour reformed that) got poorer and poorer. Lead by example and all that.

How about they promise to put more money into public projects, buildings, playing fields to give the young something constructive to do of their own free will? The kids round where I lived would amuse themselves by playing football on the local school's pitch until it was fenced off and the kids were forced to hang out in the town square where old people moaned about their presence then NIMBY-ed requests for more playgrouds and pitches in other parts of town. But I don't think Cameron will do that. For all this talk of compassionate conservatism (is that an admission that previous Tory govenments have lacked compassion?) it's concern for the young that smacks of keeping them out of everyone's way. That ain't the answer mate, anyone who can actually remember being young, and is honest about it, can tell you that.

I have said it before and I'm becoming inceasingly sure of this – Cameron is not a good idea for prime minister. He's a trad Tory in trendy shoes. So what if he appears to be moving the Tories to the left? They were so hysteriaclly right that it is really the only way for them to go to simply survive. On the other hand it will hopefully push Labour back a bit to the left which could be the best thing for the party. I know a lot of people would prefer a government a little more to the left and a little less up a certain president's arse.

[Cameron] also spoke of a "new deal" with businesses, enlisting their help to solve social problems and improve the environment… Business could also have "a role to play" in tackling problems such as drug addiction, he added.

Anyone else find this bit wildly optimistic on Cameron's part? And anyone think that's it really the government who should be sorting this out?

And that's my political rant for the month. It's hard being on the left of the current government... although that is where most of its voters are so I'm not alone...


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