Archive for October, 2005

Friday

Being bogged down with a load of stupid rubbish today so no time to ramble on about stuff unfortunately. Also have a nasty cold coming on and bad headache. Oh well. Why not check out the weird food that’s eaten around the world.

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David Blunkett


As we all know David Blunkett is an evil right-wing cunt-faced fuck, with an ego the size the Jupiter, a total disregard for human rights and the rule of law, and someone who’ll stick his manky dick in anything.

Anyway, here is an amusing link or two concerning the vile scumbag:

http://www.qwghlm.co.uk/toys/blunkett/

http://www.chairmanmoo.co.uk/article.asp?category=politics&id=154&key=10%20facts

Just look at that picture. Scary.

Kool Things: UT


UT are one of the great lost bands of the eighties. No-one mentions them (apart from Le Tigre in Hot Topic, though apparently Huggy Bear also liked them, according to one website anyway), and fewer still have heard of them. When I listen to them today I’m reminded of one of the strange living fossils that managed to live in Antarctica right up till the end of the Cretaceous, when everywhere else on Earth they’d long since died out (weird giant lizards and bugs and stuff). I think this mainly because here was a No-Wave band still going ten years after the fact.

Of the two UT albums still available through Mute (First album, Conviction, Early Live Life, a live compilation, as well as a clutch of singles on the Lust/Unlust are much harder to find) In Gut’s House (the groups second album) is the less commercial. Here we find the band rendering droney post-No Wave noisescapes, that klang and shudder along. The start of Hotel is great, with its highly discordant intro and awkward lyrics sung in a variety of register and pitches. I once had this in my head at the beginning of a shorthand exam – needless to say I didn’t pass. Landscape, the final track on the album also stands out – sinister, jarring and eerie.

Final album, Griller, is a more commercial affair. Produced by Steve Albini te record seems denser and heavier than it’s predecessor and also has more hooks, though thankfully the eerie discordance is till there. The song titles are great (Canker, Scrape, Spore) and a lot of this stuff anticipates the kind of records that Babes In Toyland would later go on to make in the nineties.

UT split up at the end of the nineties and no-one seems to really have considered them all that much since which is a pity. UT were a kind of all-girl Sonic Youth (and, I think both bands played together quite a bit), but somewhere along the line, and despite the renewed interest in the No Wave period this bands legacy hasn’t really been looked at, re-evaluated, or given the attention it really deserves.

Like a boiling kettle…


Felt like a boiling kettle for most of the past two days. Not entirely sure why, perhaps it’s the extra, extra strong coffee I’ve been tanking up on, or maybe it’s down to eating too much sugary junk that’s been left round the office by various people. Partially it’s down to the chapter of Thus spoke Zarathustra that I’ve been poring (pouring?) over recently:
“I call it the state where everyone, good and bad, is a poison-drinker: the state where universal slow suicide is called – life.
Just look at these superfluous people! They steal for themselves the works of inventors and the treasures of the wise: they call there theft culture – and they turn everything to sickness and calamity.”
Partially it was due to the Lydia Lunch interview I read on Babes In Boyland:
“Ovary Action: Don’t you think that the whole Riot Grrlz movement was really important for a whole generation of girls? Especially concerning the politics of the body?
Lydia Lunch: Sure it is, so was what Angela Davis said, so was what Karen Finley does and Wanda Coleman. I think they are much stronger women to turn to… and you holding the book that has radical women in it (I had brought My Angry Women book to have it signed).. and to me, it’s not Kim Gordon, sorry, and that’s not to insult Kim Gordon at all. It’s just like arts and crafts to me, you know. It’s like playing like we are doing something, because we’re doing something, it’s great for anyone to do something, but it’s very easy for the media to pick up on something that is not a threat and then promote it, and then they come out and say “well, you know, we’re doing this to get the message out to more people because then we can do something really radical”…. Do something fucking radical to begin with and then tell me what you’re doing. It’s not radical enough. And it’s fine for little girls, teenage girls. I am happy if teenage girls are at my shows. I am speaking to women. I am 45. It’s great if young people hear the message, but who’s talking to women our age? It’s a few of us out there, I can’t condescend, I can’t make it any prettier, I can’t make it nicer, or easier. I can’t. It’s not like I don’t want to, but especially, I can’t, this is what you get, this is who I am. It’s not about dressing up in matching costumes”
Also, I think it had something to do with Octave Mirbeau’s Torture Garden. When I was doing my GCSE’s back when I was 16 I remember we had to keep reading logs of books we’d read. The teacher said that she wanted everyone to have a new entry by next class. Not having read anything I improvised. In my tape cassette version of The Manic Street Preachers album, The Holy Bible, there was an extract from the Torture Garden. I expounded on this small quote and wrote about what I perceived the book to be about.
I’d completely forgotten about this till I came across the book again on the internet. Needless to say might guess, as a sixteen year old was pretty wide of the mark. What did strike me later on, as I was walking through an empty multi-story car park (don’t know why I’m mentioning this, but it seems relevant for some reason), was that if confronted by the same dilemma today, I’d have just googled the title and come back with a tonne of information in no time and could have made myself sound like some kind of expert on the whole thing.
And it struck me, that though the internet is great in many ways, at the same time what a marvellous bullshit engine it is. You don’t need to read Hegel and Heidegger anymore you can just read the arguments on them at Wikipedia, or wherever and profess that they’re important texts that YOU are intimate with, that have made a real difference to you and has somehow affected your life in a meaningful and radical way. You can profess a love for French New Wave cinema, because you’ve trawled through the entry on Allmovie.com. As for music just visit an mp3 blog and Bob’s your uncle, the musical big game hunters can serve up a whole array of obscure trophies for your ipod; and if your rich you can buy anything ever made off ebay to boost your standing among your peer group. At the end of the day though has any of this been ‘earned’?
This is culture without effort or meaning, it’s meaning is robbed and transfigured into some kind of mirror that reflects pleasingly on the consumer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing that this has never been the case (and neither am I after some neo-luddite society opposed to the dissemination of information), and sure people would much rather buy a book of Bukowski poems and stick it on their bookshelf because, in a consumer society, all that matters is the transaction and signifiers of certain values. What is actually signified is devalued and changed (must read up on detournement here, I think).
People are lazy I guess, and only want instant gratification (or they’ve been taught this by consumerism at any rate), they don’t get that it’s the getting somewhere that is important not the end destination itself. If you want to be admired for having an appreciation of Sade, Beauvior, Camus, Mars or Goddard. Don’t you think you should have actually engaged with the art they’re making rather than just appropriated it as yet another tired prop, because at the end of the day most people can spot a bullshitter a mile off…
Or everyone would like to think so anyway. Terry Eagleton has an interesting view that the more man tamed nature the more neurotic he became. How would one begin to apply this theory to culture? Is culture already a market of neurosis? Does nothing, really mean nothing?
The answer here is probably, yes. It’s probably best not to mistake certain types of cultural-product as counter-culture, because they’re not up to the job; they’re too easily appropriated. In a way valid reactions to the mainstream, things that contest it have been formalised and now are weighed down by their own sense of conventions. But still when looking into the void of existence I’d rather not have my gaze distracted by some idiot reading Genet and listening to whatever’s hip at the moment and dressed in the latest banal fashion.

The Kachepa’s


I originally wrote this for September’s issue of Dogma. www.dogmanet.org

As the government scrambles to deport those like Abu Qatada, it deems ‘preachers of hate’ it seems ironic that the Kachepa family were deported back to Malawi this month to face an uncertain future. With immigration minister, Tony McNulty, rejecting the family’s appeal to stay despite evidence that the family could be in danger from Mrs Kachepa’s former husband.
The irony is that it would seem that the Kachepa’s represent exactly the kind of immigration to the UK that the Government is so keen to champion. The fact that 200 members of the local community, of all ages and backgrounds, were directly opposed to the family’s deportation to Malawi is testament to this. Unfortunately, a myopic fixation on targets and quota levels, as well as an apparent hysterical need to show that the government has not lost control of the asylum system has lead to all pleas for the family to stay falling on deaf ears. The Kachepa’s made an easy target,in that they had submitted their claim to stay in the UK completely by the book, lived open lives in the local community and didn’t attempt to cheat the system.