Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Brautigan Book Club

Last night I attended my first Brautigan Book Club evening. It was at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club and there were lots of very cool and friendly people there talking about Richard Brautigan and books and art and drinking. It was a lot of fun and I whole heartedly recommend the whole thing to anyone with even a passing interest in Brautigan's work.

There was a really great quasi-poetic discourse on Kool-Aid and it's function in the American counter-culture from Fuchsia Voremberg, and a song by a man called Stephen Caines who managed to play a ukelele without making me want to destroy my own ears. He sang beautifully as well.

Here is the website for the whole deal....

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Conflict and Interest...

There seems to me to be a fairly obvious and very dangerous dichotomy between the idea of providing services such as health care, justice and basic policing for all and the idea that these services be a platform for profit-making for private companies. And this isn't about the NHS although that is a prime example of an idea under just such a threat. I just cannot understand how this government (ha!) can continue to violently dismantle every institution left available that has yet to be completely transformed from a public body designed to serve the human beings that need it into a market, re-drawing it in the shape of the financial bodies that have so badly failed themselves and everybody else left trapped in this para-existence of their making. Farming out contracts to perform police procedures to a set of shadowy highest bidders at a time when the Met's reputation with the general public is as low as it is is frankly breathtaking.
Nearly a year on from watching while politician after politician irresponsibly and patronizingly refused to address anything approaching an astute or intelligent analysis of the London riots, we are to be faced with a true Orwellian nightmare. What channels would a News International Security Corps™ squad have had to go down to arrest Rebekah Brooks today? I believe there is a simple phrase that applies here, and it is conflict of interest. For a government otherwise obsessed with both these words, I am amazed they have failed to spot either here.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Please Open Your Textbooks...

... on page one, cover drive courtesy of The Wall™.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Horses, Stables, Bolts...

Maybe I am being somewhat naive, but reading the increasingly desperate news concerning Rangers this week, one sentence leapt straight off the (virtual) page at me today - the BBC reporting that the SFA are investigating whether Craig Whyte satisfies their 'fit and proper person' criteria. This information seems to me to be coming at an incredibly late stage. And also seems a little bit pointless now as well. Surely if he is found not to meet the criteria, then the SFA itself must shoulder some of the responsibility for the current situation, in light of not implementing these checks at the time of Whyte's takeover.

A horrible situation for fans of Rangers, and I simply cannot believe those rumblings coming out of Celtic that refuse to admit that their own standing will be diminished courtesy of losing their city rivals as meaningful competition for a number of years, at the very least.

Perhaps the only positives to come are yet to be seen. An end to some of the more pernicious elements of the sectarianism that has dogged the Old Firm as a footballing idea? We'll see...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Caught By The River 5th Birthday...

... It is a huge honour to be reading some poems alongside the other names involved in the Caught By The River Variety Show on May 25th.

More details here.