The Kids Are Alright

Posted: August 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

I keep hearing how the youth of today is apathetic, uneducated and apolitical but watching the news this morning I can’t help but think they’ve got it wrong.

When the people at the top are only looking out for themselves – and let’s face it, the financial meltdown we currently find ourselves in doesn’t seem to have affected the holidays of those in charge of running the country and paying off the banking world’s avarice by putting people out of work with their drastic cuts – the people at the bottom will take matters into their own hands.

If you want to run an economy (and culture) based on a cycle of work into wages into sales into profit and control the minds of your voters with expensive escapism, gadgetry and electronic nic-nacs, don’t be surprised that when the money runs out, the need is still there. Junkies cannot go cold turkey. It’s no surprise to see that, despite all the talk of local business being affected, the only shops I’ve seen on the news are multi-national trainer stores, Curry’s, Mobile phone shops, Apple stores, etc. Does this mean the real local stores aren’t important enough to show on TV?

If you’re going to let looters help themselves to 42″ big screen TV’s for 2 hours before the cops turn up (because the powers that be have cut ‘frontline’ policing numbers) and then show it all over the news the next day, it’s no surprise they’ll be more bargain hunters out the following night.

You see, the kids aren’t as stupid as you think. After all, why head down to the high street with all the other late night shoppers for your free Playstation when you can go straight to the distribution centre in Enfield and help yourself to a box full?

The have’s are busy referring to the riots and looting as ‘thuggery’ and ‘theft’ – they should know, after all it’s they who are still enjoying the spoils while stealing away jobs and telling us if you want an education, you have to pay a prolific price.

If you ask people to be smart and show ingenuity in the face of a downturn – as Cameron has – and then take away their jobs, security, education, livelihoods and hope, this is what you’ll get from the smart kids: they’ll go out and get for themselves.

“Fuck the Average Viewer”

Posted: April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m working on a t-shirt design inspired by something David Simon (creator of ‘The Wire’) once said in an interview.

Mark Kermode asked him what he thought about critics of ‘The Wire’ (there are critics of The Wire?) who said the show alienated the average viewer by not  explaining everything in painfully dumbed down terms; Simon replied quite succinctly (and visibly irritated): “Fuck the Average Viewer”.

What a great response. Not just because it was so visceral and punk rock but because it surmised the whole argument over dumbing down of our culture. I mean, what did pandering to the average idiot ever achieve?

Anything vaguely fun or exciting or dangerous is now illegalized by health and safety. Just because one dumb American doesn’t get the intelligent plot twist, the whole film has to be re-shot so the lowest common denominator gets it. Just because some clergyman somewhere is upset by David Cronenbourg’s ‘Crash’ or Oliver Stone’ s ‘Natural Born Killers’, the rest of us aren’t allowed to see it. Just because some conservative slob at Wall-Mart doesn’t like grown men using bad language to express themselves on THEIR records, they are forced to release ‘clean’ versions with all the anger, offense or indeed, the point edited out of them (it’s OK to stock guns  and promote murder though).

How are we supposed to learn, teach, discover, improve ourselves if every challenge is forbidden, censored, removed from circulation? If our culture is aimed at the average viewer, how are we, as a civilization, to evolve? Surely we will ultimately become an average culture.

I’m a smart guy because I’m aware of guys smarter than me and I want to do what they do. If I’m not challenged or surprised or allowed to discover and learn new stuff, how can I improve myself? I don’t read much modern fiction because it doesn’t teach me anything. Where are the thinkers, poets, great men of yesteryear? The Bukoswki’s, Miller’s, Hemingway’s, Nietzsche’s, Mishima’s? Apart from Stephen Hawking, can you name me one great figure of recent times?

Fuck the average viewer indeed…

Brian Cox vs Piers Morgan

Posted: March 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

I heard on the radio today that Brian Cox (physicist & tv presenter, not the actor) is up against Piers Morgan (insert your own quip here) at some TV awards tonight.

It’ll be interesting to see who gets the award: if Cox wins, does that mean we are entering a new dawn of educational and cultural enlightenment? If Morgan wins, will darkness cover the planet forever?

I’ve heard several critics indicate that the new ‘Wonders of the Universe’ tv series has made physics popular across the nation. Bullshit. It’s all just good PR for the beeb. Do you think the people of the nation are stood round the water dispenser or kids at school are huddled together reeling off the 8 or 9 elements that make up our entire planet and everything in the known universe or banging on about Kanye or Peaches Geldof? Next week it’ll be back to Coronation Street, Jordan and X-Factor.

Whoever gets the award, Piers Morgan is going to be the winner. We’d rather commit the seedy antics of Charlie Sheen to memory than incredible knowledge about our natural world. We’d rather watch one lucky, smarmy, over-privileged toff defending another – Sheen’s only got a media career at this point because his Dad’s played the US president and Morgan is riding high on a wave of British bad guys in Hollywood (most recently Simon Cowell).

Let  him make his money, have his moment and think he’s important in all this. I’ll keep learning, watching Horizon and evolving thanks.

I prefer Emilio Estevez anyway…

A friend of mine told me the other day that him and his wife have concluded that “you can’t tell me anything”.

This rebuke came after he told me that the whole financial meltdown the UK and world finds itself in is down to Bill Clinton announcing that every American had the right to own their own home and this in turn put pressure on the banks to lend to the “sub-prime” market (I wonder which marketing genius came up with that term?).

I didn’t disagree with what he said, merely pointed out that there was a lot more to the current mess than some Bill Clinton speech (incidentally, the thing I do know about Clinton is that he said a lot and did very little). You surely have to factor in rising fuel prices, over-population, growing scarcity of resources, freak weather leading to crop failures, global warming linked to this, political and financial avarice and the fact that rapacious capitalism has been screwing every last penny out of the ‘sub-prime’ for decades now. And of course, if you’ve read your ‘1984’, a good war / depression / economic collapse is great for politicians to do what they do best: fuck everyone else over for their own profit (see privatization of public resources).

Because my friend is a conservative twit with middle class pretensions he thinks all this is lefty, vegetarian, hippy rhetoric. He misses the very obvious point that I am not a vegetarian or a hippy and that my inspirations are drawn universally, not from some dim-witted, close-minded political point of view.

I guess my point is that he was partly right and partly wrong: no, you can’t tell me anything, not if you’re someone who gets their opinions from drinking in Floridian bars. If, however, on the other hand, you are an interesting, free-thinking, inspirational individual or organization who thinks outside of the mainstream then I’m all ears…

So Watcha Want?

Posted: March 15, 2011 in Rants
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I’ve started listening to internet radio thru my mobile after my digital radio packed up last week (luckily the radio has an aux-in socket so I can use it as a sonic amp). Found a couple of good USA stations (181FM) which play mostly 90’s alternative tunes, the kinda stuff I grew up with like Alice in Chains, NIN, Cake, Offspring, Nirvana, etc. No Rollins Band as yet.

The first 2 x tunes on the radio this morning were ‘Love Spreads’ by the The Stone Roses and ‘So Watcha Want’ by the Beastie Boys. What a great couple of tunes to wake up to. You know you’re gonna have a good day no matter what happens after that.

The 90’s was just a magical time for me, the era when music really opened up and suddenly if were a metaller you were allowed to listen to rap, if you were a goth you could be into rave. It’s difficult to think back to the time before that when music was so segmented. You’d get beaten up for being a white kid at an Ice Cube gig or be frowned upon for turning up to a Prodigy gig in a Metallica t-shirt. I remember if you wore a soft-rock t-shirt (like Motley Crue or Poison) to a thrash gig you get stared back out of the front door or much worse.

For a time there the music was just great: Body Count, Rage Against the Machine, Ice Cube’s Predator album, The End of Silence, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Prodigy, Tool, just huge mash-ups of genres and inspirations. The kids today are into everything and genres are just blurred edges rather than closed doors and high walls. With this in mind, I wonder why 99% of modern music is just so fucking shite?

Cousin Stevie

Posted: September 20, 2010 in Reviews
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Okay, so it’s an “adult site” but fans of Porn: A Family Business’ Cousin Stevie should know you can email him directly from here. And when your prize fuck-up’s include hiring a fully equipped transsexual to launch a “straight” website, submitting his holiday snaps to appear on an ‘adult feature’ box cover & a knack for comic vignettes that make Frank Drebin look like a Butlin’s stand up its gotta be worth emailing just to wind him up…

Appeared in Blowback magazine // Reviews p.88 [Issue#10 Sept 2004]

Chomsky is not a man to argue with. As one of the 10 most quoted writers of all time, he has enough well-articulated facts and figures to piss on anyone’s Mr. Chips. Luckily for us he’s been a fierce political gadfly since the 60’s, a godfather figure for modern dissenters like Moore and Palast. His latest opus examines the Bush regime’s war on Iraq, terror and democracy, revealing the alarming shifts in law and ideology that leave us facing a stark choice…

Appeared in Blowback magazine // Book Reviews p.74 [Issue#4 Feb 2004]

What makes me still want to go and see Steven Seagal movies? He hasn’t made a decent one since Under Siege yet here I am, sat in a deserted cinema watching the increasingly immobile has-been struggling with his own slimy ego to deliver the most articulate of martial arts moves with the agility of Johnny Vegas.

Sad as it is, I just can’t ignore a man with a 7th degree black belt in aikido, who’s alleged (by himself) to have worked black-op’s for the CIA. Someone who muscled Arnie out of the box-office and married ‘Weird Science’ teen-fantasy Kelly LeBrock. Granted, the guy’s a prize bullshitter but perhaps that’s his appeal – every man’s boyhood fantasy played out against the contradiction and confusion of adult life. A spiritual soul brother who makes violent action films, an humanitarian regularly accused of sexual harassment, a Buddhist with a bullish reputation. He could snap your neck in the flick of a wrist, exerting the effort required to break a toothpick. And he’s even tried it on with Jenny McCarthy.

Whether decked out in a beret or gold lame sports jacket, I don’t care. With ponytail or without, the slick-backed barnet is always ready to go, like some deluded superhero for the noughties, tackling ruthless oil barons, campaigning for world peace, outing rogue CIA agents, mediating for the people of Tibet and still finding the time to grope chicks.

Who cares if he’s stuck in some awful B-movie surrounded by rappers, he’s still up there, a shining example for lonely 30 year-old adolescents everywhere…

Appeared in Blowback magazine p.9 [Issue#8 June 2004]