Friday, 24 February 2012

Rock 'n' Dull

The Brit Awards is the time when the best and the brightest of British music get recognition for their efforts and after watching what was served up during the week, British music is in a bad place.
Not so much the performers, i'm sure Adele and Ed Sheeran are perfectly nice people, it's just their type of music is so safe and boring. Annoyingly for people like me who like their musicians loud and their music louder, the new wave of ballad warbling artists have elbowed anyone with a noisy guitar to the sidelines.
Gone are the days when bad behaviour and band rivalries held sway, today's musicians are all about being in bed by 10 and respecting each other as artists. All very commendable but very, very boring. There have always been nice, polite groups but they seemed to sit alongside the more enthusiastic members of the music industry.
While punk puked its way through the 70's, Abba and The Carpenters catered for the less vomit friendly listeners and in the 80s and 90s bands like Guns n Roses and Nirvana rubbed along with the likes of the much more amiable Roxette and REM. Today it seems that the nice musicians and their pleasant elevator music have taken over but it seems harsh to blame them because they would still be there with their power anthems regardless of who else was around, they just might not be quite so front and centre.
Most of the blame must go to the music companies who obviously worked out that it is much easier to manage an Ed Sheeran than it would be an Axl Rose who was just as likely to turn up late and drunk as he was to give a decent performance.
One chink of light in an otherwise magnolia, bland music landscape is that music is cyclical and we have these uninteresting gaps between the good stuff.
For me the late fifties, the late seventies and then the late 80s and early 90s stand out like sore thumbs in terms of quality, passion and originality so we must be due another period after this boring stage. Please.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Killing In The Name Of

The government indicates it is committed to changing the law to allow same-sex marriage and rather predictably it has not gone down well with the Church who have stomped their feet and gone to sit in the corner in a sulk.
The Church doesn't even try to hide its homophobia, after all, the view of man laying with man is set out clearly in the Bible.
‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable'.
There, God calls it detestable and what the Bible says goes because it is the word of God.
Hang on, what's this bit on the end...'They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads'.
Put to death!! Blimey, the local vicar didn't mention that bit.
So as we are machine gunning down homosexuals with Gods blessing, who else does the bible say we can kill?

People Who Don't Listen to Priests (Deuteronomy 17:12), Witches (Exodus 22:17), Fortunetellers (Leviticus 20:27), anyone who hits their parents (Exodus 21:15), anyone who curses their parents (Leviticus 20:9), adulterers (Leviticus 20:10), anyone who follows another religion (Exodus 22:19), non-believers (2 Chronicles 15:12-13), Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night (Deuteronomy 22:20-21), Blasphemers (Leviticus 24:10-16), and Sunday workers (Exodus 31:12-15)

I thought it was the Koran which had the violent bits in it but it seems the Christian God is the bloodthirsty, murderous maniac. What the hey, follow me Salvation Army, we got some fortunetelling gay witches who work on Sunday to have a quiet word with.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Isn't Regime Change Illegal Anymore?

If you are going to pick a day to support the brave people of a Government uprising, it is probably best not to choose the day when it is announced that those uprisers are the same ones that you have been fighting a war against in the country next door for the past decade.
James Clapper, the Director of US National Intelligence, has told Congress that the people Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, is fighting against are Al-Queada terrorists.
His comments confirmed earlier reports that US officials suspect Al-Queada is behind the Syrian carnage, confirmed by Bin Ladens replacement, Ayman al-Zawahri, who has been posting videos calling on his members to bring their own particular brand of murder and mayhem to Syria.
Not sure how the trio of Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama will spin the news that they are directly supporting Al-Queada but we can be sure that they won't change their aim of regime change in Syria.
Just today, the French and British leaders spoke of the need to find new ways of getting rid of Assad.
Cameron said: 'We have to put all the pressure we can on Bashar al-Assad to make him stand down' which sounds dangerously like regime change to me, and isn't that illegal under International law?
One of the arguments against the military intervention in Iraq focused on the absence of United Nations Security Council authorisation for military action. Tony Blair knew that invasion would be illegal and avoided any mention of regime change when laying the shaky ground for the invasion as did Clinton in Kosovo, both using human rights and humanitarian claims as part of the legitimising factors for intervention.
The NATO invasion of Afghanistan was all about removing the Taliban from power, while the Libyan conflict was always about bringing down the Government headed by Gaddafi even if it was achieved through the sleight of hand that was the UN resolution for a no-fly zone.
Now with Syria, they are not even pretending it is about anything other than regime change and how best to bring it about so what happened to those international laws that states that forcibly removing a head of state is illegal?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states that 'the only legitimate government is one based on the will of the people', which it is safe to assume means the people in that country, not other people from other countries deciding who can and can't be in Government.
Secondly, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognises self-determination as a human right and specifies that 'by virtue of that right all peoples have the right to freely determine their political status'. Again, safe to assume that means another country should not be choosing another countries leaders for them.
Then there is the United Nations Charter, which prohibits the threat or use of force 'against the political independence of another state'.
So violations of these must constitute an international crime but it seems that nobody is going to pull up the Obama's, Sarkozy's and Cameron's who have taken a step on from the Bush, Blair and Aznar era and actually proudly shout their international law violations from the rooftops.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Bad Atheist

The Governments chairwoman Baroness Warsi, has launched an attack on those of us who are not of a religious bent, calling it 'militant secularisation' and complaining that the notion of religion in the UK is being 'sidelined, marginalised and downgraded in the public sphere'.
Fellow Atheists, i think we have been rumbled in our attempt to drive our non-God beliefs on others so i propose we stop burning religious books, stopping people in town centres and knocking on strangers doors and talking about the absence of a God.
We will also have to call a halt to not wanting to kill each other because one group of Atheists don't believe in a different god to another group of Atheists and not oppressing a section of society because of who they choose to fall in love with.
All this will have to stop now because apparently our denying there is a God is causing the religious to not feel good about their chosen faith. Not the lack of evidence, the wars in all of Gods names, the swathe of paedophile priests or the Pope peddling lies about condoms, it is us.
Now stop it because religion is doing a bang up job of downgrading and marginalising itself without our help.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Another Waste

The slow, downward spiral of Whitney Houston will have to go down as one of the greatest tales of how someone took an immense talent and squandered it all away.
If there was ever an advert for steering away from drugs it is Whitney Houston who was arguably one of the greatest female talents of our generation, but drink and drug left her a pathetic, broken and ravaged shell of the woman who had sold over 170 million albums in the 80s and 90s.
It was the millions that came with Houston's success which enabling her to maintain a cocaine habit that led to her shambles of a comeback in 2010 and the jaw dropping appearance on X-Factor where it was proved that the once velvet voice was destroyed and the sight of the shuffling, stuttering woman was painful to those who admired her back in her heyday.
Her fortune went on drink and drugs and the low light came in 2007 with the humiliating auction of her stage outfits as she could no longer afford the storage fees and the repossession of her home.
The now imminent release of her biggest singles and albums will undoubtedly bring her new, younger fans who only knew the drug addled junkie that she became and we have to be careful to get the balance right which is something that never happened with the likes of Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson.
Praise the beautiful voice and immense talent that she was but forever link it with the drug-riddled, self-obsessed lifestyle which resulted in her premature death.
Don't make her into some sort of role model who lost her brave battle with her demons, call her what she was, a crackhead that died penniless in a hotel room and use it as a lesson to show that no matter who or what you are, drugs will destroy you.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Hating Liverpool FC

I don't have much love for Liverpool Football Club and dislike them even less after today because they are responsible for me cheering for a Manchester United victory. Scouse b******d's!!!
The reason for my unprecedented support for the reds of Manchester was the behaviour of the racist Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and his manager, Kenny Dalglish, bizarrely whining over how they are actually the victims of Suarez racially abusing the black Manchester left back.
Kenny Dalglish may have been a great player but he has had a nightmare couple of months ever since Suarez decided to 'use insulting words about the colour of defender Patrice Evra' in a match at the end of last year.
First the t-shirts supporting Suarez then the statement that they were 'disappointed with the extraordinary decision' to find Suarez guily of racial abuse, even though the Uruguayan admitted he had directed it at Evra ten times during the match.
Then Kenny Dalglish, a miserable bugger at the best of times, moaned that Suarez should never had been banned in the first place when he came back after his 8 match ban and now continuing to support Suarez over his refusal to shake hands with Evra before the league game today.
Liverpool FC and it's supporters do like to cry that it is always someone else's fault when things go wrong rather than just hold their hands up and say sorry.
Suarez had never apologised for being a racist, Dalglish has not apologised for supporting a racist, the team has offered no apology for supporting a racist and neither has whoever runs the show at Liverpool FC now for condoning all of the above.
Finally, there should be a public statement apologising to the many people like me who found themselves in the uncomfortable position of wanting to see a Manchester United win. Again, i repeat, Scouse B******ds!!!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Whole Lotta Nothing

When i was youngster, Top of the pops would use Led Zeppelins 'Whole Lotta Love' as the background music for the chart countdown.
Over and over again that heavy guitar riff while Dave Lee Travis made his way through the Top 40 and pausing occasionally to introduce people like Joe Dolce and his appalling 'Shaddup your face'.
It wasn't until years later that i found out that the Top of the Pops music was actually a full Led Zeppelin song and when i finally got to hear it, what a disappointment. The five seconds of repeated riff was it with Robert Plant shouting 'I'm gonna give you my love' over and over. Love the use of Hedgerow in the Stairway to Heaven song though, so English.
It was the same thing with the Doors. There three classics songs 'Light my fire', 'The End' and 'Riders on the Storm' all sound amazing in short 30 second snippets but all royally suck when heard all the way through.
True 'Light my Fire' does have that great twiddly organ intro but after that initial 10 seconds, it's pretty bland although 'The End' by comparison makes it sound like it's on speed. It would need to improve significantly just to have the label boring and dull attached to it.
'Riders on the Storm' promises much with a name like that but limps along to yet another overblown organ solo and then just seems to give up, probably through boredom.
Maybe it is not so much the Doors songs, as insipid as they are, as the sound of the organ which as a musical instrument i hold in the same low esteem as the evil Hawaiian guitar.
As i am ranting about bands and songs that i bizarrely feel disappointed in, I never really got the attraction of reggae. Just the same tune with different lyrics isn't it? I know it is the style but most of the songs are the same pace, if it wasn't for the bits where the songs fade out at the end to warn the listener, you could mistake any UB40 album for one long song.
In short, for any budding musicians, less organ solos, Hawaiian guitars and reggae and more use of the word Hedgerow in song lyrics please.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Tell Us Something We Didn't Know #2

I do love a good bit of scientific research that proves once and for all what we suspected all along. Recently a study proved that the male of the species are responsible for almost every conflict and act like monkeys. This stunning piece of science has been followed up with another one which we could entitle 'We could have told you that and saved your time'.
Now it could be considered wrong to point out that the right wing is less intelligent than the left, but here it is in black and white from men in white coats and i am more inclined to believe them saying the right are morons rather than a right winger saying they aren't not no morons who don't know their backsides from that hingey thing in the middle of each arm. Probably while dribbling.
The Ontario University have published their paper called Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology which revealed that people with conservative beliefs are likely to be of low intelligence.
Empirical proof then that right wing ideologies attract people of low intelligence so next time someones tries to argue that climate change is not man-made, the banking system is fine as it is or that capital punishment should be reintroduced, remember, they are probably a right winger and therefore a bit simple.
Joking aside, are socialists really more intelligent than conservatives?
On the panel tonight to disprove that right wing people are of low intelligence, we have Sarah Palin, George W Bush, Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone, Britney Spears and Chachi from Happy Days.
That's it George, turn your chair around the other way. No, that's upside down. Oh Britney, now we are going to have to get you another crayon, try not to get this one stuck in your ear. No Sarah, that isn't Russia over there, it's the car park.
I give up but scientific proof if it was needed, that men with their chimpanzee, warlike tendencies and now anyone with a right wing thought in their head should not be allowed anywhere near a position of power. Don't you just love science!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sharing & Caring London Olympics

The helpful Olympic Games countdown website is showing 1642 days to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 but if you can't wait that long to see sweaty people get medals for running and throwing things, it is only 172 days to the London Olympics.
It will be a delightful time in the height of summer, all dressed in our summer clothes and with picnics in the Olympic parks.
Hang on, the terms and conditions published by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) states quite clearly that food is banned.
Oh well, at least we can have a refreshing drink in the warmth of the lazy summer days as we watch the Worlds finest run around in circles and jump over things. What? Drink, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are banned also?
They will be telling me I can't wear my new designer t-shirt next. Really? Anything bearing trademarks or other kinds of promotional signs on hats, T-shirts and bags will also be confiscated?
Can i text my friends to tell them how we are not allowed to anything to eat or drink and to meet me outside with my plain white t-shirt?
Of course not, Mobile phones are banned also, how silly of me.
So if i have to spend hours in a hot venue in the middle of summer with nothing to eat or drink, how am i meant to stop myself from collapsing from starvation or dehydration?
Official sponsors McDonald's and Coca-Cola will be available in all venues you say. Nice.
A gold medal to Locog for exploitation.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

China & Russia Veto Western Warmongering

Watching events in Syria, it is easy for the viewing public to fall into the same trap as they did with Kosovo and Libya where the story was of a Government sending it's troops to slaughter civilians at will.
The result was we went in, dropped our bombs and removed the brutal tyrant before handing over the country to the group of rebels who we had sided with. Turned out the rebels were just as bad, if not worse, then the people we removed and they had successfully played the game of tweaking the tail of the government and then screaming loudly at the retaliation and gaining NATO support.
Now the Syrian rebels are playing the very same game and once again we are willingly falling for it.
The rebels beckoning us over this time are called the Free Syrian Army and are by no means a rag-bag mob of civilians, rather they are heavily armed and shelling pro-Government towns anc cities of Syria.
In December, two suicide bombers killed over 30 civilians in Damascus, another 26 people were victims of a January car bombing in al-Midan and a mortar attack on a pro-government rally in Homs days later killed a French journalist amongst seven others.
The Arab League observers reported on attacks carried out by opposition forces including: 'the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free Syrian Army and some by other armed opposition groups.'
Now a resolution condemning the violent crackdown in Syria has been vetoed at the UN Security Council by Russia and China, a move that the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, called 'shameful'.
Russia and China will be painted as the bad guys but if we wheel back a few months we see the whole story of this UN resolution.
It was Russia and China who proposed the initial resolution, condemning the violence 'by all parties, including disproportionate use of force by Syrian authorities' and offered to hold talks in Moscow between the Syrian authorities and the opposition which the Syrian Government agree to but was dismissed out of hand by the opposition.
Western diplomats then drafted a competing resolution which only condemned violence by the Government, stated that Assad must step down from power and did not rule out military intervention. Russia indicated that it would not agree to the draft in its current form, citing Libya as a case where western powers perverted the agreed UN resolution, and said that it would continue to promote its own resolution in the Security Council.
China said that the western resolution 'will not help resolve the Syrian issue' and Russia called the resolution 'unbalanced' and 'undermines the opportunity for a political settlement'.
The argument that Russia is only looking after it's own interests is a valid one, it has a naval base in Syria for its Mediterranean fleet, but as America has shown many times before, they have no problem vetoing resolutions when it is Palestinian bodies piling up courtesy of Israeli brutality.
The truth is this is a civil war between heavily armed Government troops and heavily armed rebels and Russia and China are offering a political solution while America, the UK and France are offering a military one and yet another bout of regime change and i know which one is preferable and Russia and China should be commended for bringing a halt to a decade of western propaganda, warmongering and meddling in the Middle East.

Friday, 3 February 2012

A Good Week

It's been quite a good week for those of us who like to see the rich and powerful bought crashing back down to earth.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is caught perverting the course of justice and resigned, John Terry has had his England captaincy whipped away from him, the Queen made it so Fred Goodwin has to scribble out the Sir bit in front of his name on all his stationary after withdrawing his knighthood and the head of the Royal Bank of Scotland was pressured into refusing the million pound bonus courtesy of our taxes.
Yep, i would call that a good week.