Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image


Wolford, we have a problem…

I once heard it opined (forget where) that the Apollo Program cost over it’s lifetime pretty much the same as US Citizens spent over the same time period on lipstick and potato crisps put together.

An odd statistic from the House of Odd Statistics.

So, just to odd it up a bit more where do bras come into this?

Bacon Panties

Just read the whole thing. It is beyond parody. I don’t eat pork products since finding -out pigs are so smart and my wife is vegan so… Not on my Crimble list. It does though demonstrate a level of decadence beyond belief.

Android – I have no Desire for thee

A signal a signal my kingdom for a signalFurther to NickM’s post on his Android woes (of the current technology telecommunications variety rather than the future technology anthropomorphic electronic servant one), I was just going to post a comment, but it turned into a bit of a middle-aged-bloke-techno-rant.

Android vs Androids

However, since that is a perfectly valid perspective with a reasonable market share in the blogosphere, I thought I would upgrade it to a full-on blog post. I mean what the hell, it’s only electrons being shoved about isn’t it? – it’s not like they’ve got anything better to do – like holding together the structure of the universe…

So first-things-first, Sorry Nick, but I can’t help you with your problem, but it’s not because I don’t understand either the technology or your perspective (not that my knowledge of either necessarily helps your current predicament), because I have played a very, very minor role in developing the technology that you are currently afflicted with.

In between building hoppers for surface-to-air missile systems that couldn’t hit a barn door if they were holding the handle, I also worked on some of the 2G and 3G mobile phone technology at Marconi Electronic Systems as part of their military communications portfolio. I also sold part of a company based upon WAP and SMS-based message notification, so I’m not exactly clueless or even old-fashioned as far as both analogue and digital phone technology goes.

The problem is that the Motorola RAZRi you are holding in your hands is not really a mobile phone in the accepted sense. You might think it is, it might even be advertised as a mobile phone, but it fundamentally isn’t. What you are coveting in your palm is a piece of “Convergent Digital Technology

It is certainly the way of the future, along with James Tiberius Kirk , his toupée and the Tribbles, but it ain’t a part of the here-and-now.

Now don’t get be wrong, in actual fact it is a wonderful example of technological development, but it has been developed without any fundamental understanding of where it, or indeed the whole field of mobile communications is actually going.

Put simply, Nick’s Motorola RAZRi is about as close to a mobile phone as a Leopard 2A7+ tank is to the Trojan Horse.

One of these is not a Trojan horse

Now I may well be a cynical old sod, harking back to a technological antediluvian era which never really existed, but I tried out some of the 2nd generation Android technology with my last corporate mobile phone (an HTC Desire), back in 2011 and although it was very flashy in everything else, e-mail, contacts, storing data, mobile internet, games consoles, emulators, blah, blah, blah – it was fundamentally a shit mobile phone.

Half the time the call would either never pick up when I pressed “Accept” or if it did pick-up I couldn’t hear what the other party was saying anyway, or I got disconnected or it ran out of power or it just plain froze up on me or etc, etc, etc. You get the picture (unless its by MMS)

Now, I’m sure the technology and the reliability have moved on since 2011, but I was so fucked off with my initial experience of Android (and I expect iPhone’s are no better), that I decided there-and-then that my next phone would be a phone, not one of these fancy multimedia MTC gadgets, but just a phone – i.e. a 10-number keypad and two buttons, one to dial and one to hangup.

Since then I’ve been happy as Larry with a cheap, SIM-only, no contract, dual-SIM (Malaysian and European), battery-life-of-a-week Nokia 108 that I picked up in Penang for a groat (well 140 RM to be honest, but never-the-less cheap enough for me). It has a camera I’ve never used  and about the only accessory I have used on it is the Alarm Clock.

It works perfectly in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Europe and I’ve never (to my knowledge) lost a call or misheard an address.

Maybe the technology has moved on since my failed experience in 2011, but I as a customer, certainly have. When Motorola invent a working teleportation device, let me know – but someone else can be the guinea pig – after all, I’ve read Stephen King’s “The Jaunt”.

Style Cycle

This is the first widely available electronic calculator. It’s a Sinclair Executive and at GBP 79.95 in 1972 you would need to be an executive.

An expensive, stylish and very pocketable gadget which had the “vision thing” of a maverick computer pioneer. Remind you of anything?

Now, I was about to wind-up with a Götterdämmerung of gotcha! There is a theory that fashion operates on a sort of 25-30 year cycle (you may have noticed some rather ’80s influenced clothes on the street recently) but the iPhone dates from 2007 so that’s 35 years. Is that pushing it? Or is the clothing cycle operating slightly faster than the ‘tronics one maybe? Any thoughts?

How the other 0.001% live…

David and Victoria Beckham have named their long-awaited first daughter Harper Seven.

Seven of course was Dave’s shirt number for Man Utd and England. That’s class that is. He was 23 at Real Madrid because local lad and star striker Raul had the 7 shirt and there would have been blood in the Bernabéu before that shifted. Of course that wasn’t the only thing that went Pete Tong for the Beckhams in Madrid. There was the Rebbeca Loos affair which was at least partially kicked-off by Victoria Beckham’s steadfast refusal to move away from her native Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire, if you ask me, is Essex with pretensions of being Surrey. Rebbeca Loos of course went onto greater fame manually masturbating a pig to ejaculation on Five. Madrid of course is abroad and they talk funny and have tapas rather than snacks. And Real Madrid had only located David in a villa in the same street as some dodgy old geezer called Juan Carlos… Yeah, too “posh” to share an address with the King of Spain. Of course Victoria’s unbelievable fondness for staying at home was one of the reasons for David’s initial falling out with Sir Alex. She resolutely stuck to the mansion in Hertfordshire (close to her mum apparently) and David had to commute to Manchester for training until Sir Alex laid down the law. Even then she wasn’t happy with his “crash-pad” in Alderley Edge. You ever been to Alderley Edge? I have. Deposit the motor in the car park and it’s BMW, Merc, another Merc, Porsche, Audi A-8, Corsa, Ferrari, Bentley, yet another Merc. Yeah the Corsa was ours. And the 4x4s (in Cheshire which is flat). I have never seen as many BMW X-5s in my entire puff. In Alderley the only means of transportation commoner is shoes and they probably cost more than the Corsa did. I have also been to Madrid and one of Victoria’s beefs against the gaff was that she needed to be close to the fashion hub of London which is rot. Madrid is a city where fashion is taken very seriously.

The “delighted” couple broke the news of her birth last night and later issued a ­statement revealing her name.

Why the scare quotes?

David Beckham’s Facebook post announcing the birth of his daughter

“It is a whole new thing for us – to have so much pink in the house, lilac in the house, and dresses.

I sincerely hope Harper grows up to be the second coming of Tank Girl in rebellion. Christ that sounds like living in Jordan (not the country).

“The clothes are ready, the room is ready, so we are all ready for it.” The couple, who married in 1999 and have three sons, Brooklyn, 12, Romeo, eight and Cruz, six, first announced news of Victoria’s pregnancy in January.

Former England captain David, 36, said at the time: “I’ve got some great news to tell you all. Victoria and I are expecting our fourth child this summer.

“The boys are very excited about the arrival of a new brother or sister.”

After planning for a British birth near their Hertfordshire home, the couple had a last-minute change of heart and opted to welcome their new arrival in Los Angeles.

Victoria, 37, enjoyed a pink-themed baby shower with pals in May, where guests included Eva Longoria, Tana Ramsay and Demi Moore.

I am an Ameriphile. We have much to thank the USA for but the baby shower is not one of them. Anyway, where was Elton John? Sounds exactly his kind of caper. Or maybe not…

The former Spice Girl even abandoned her trademark pout and broke into a smile as she and her A-list friends wrapped one another in toilet roll and posted pics on her Twitter page.

I dunno about A-list but they certainly ought to be on a list. A list of people I never want to invite to my home.

Would you Adam and Eve it!

World’s first carbon neutral bra.

The world’s first carbon neutral bra, made in a factory run on solar panels, has been launched onto the fashion market with hopes that all clothing will be more environmentally friendly in future.

The Marks and Spencer (M&S) lingerie set, that will be available online, was made in an ‘eco factory’ in Sri Lanka where energy has been reduced a third through measures like making sure all lighting is from the sun or low energy light bulbs.

It is powered by hydroelectricity produced on a nearby river and solar panels on the roof.

The rest of the carbon dioxide produced in making the bra will be offset by planting 6,000 trees in the community every year. Most of the trees will be native to Sri Lanka, therefore boosting wildlife. A quarter will be fruit trees that can generate money for the local community.

The Carbon Trust Footprinting Certification Company has calculated the carbon used in making the bra and will monitor the project to ensure emissions are cut.

Jesus fucking wept.

The scheme will also help wildlife. Sri Lanka’s forests are home to approximately 90 per cent of the country’s endemic species but are disappearing at a rate of 1.6 per cent per year.

M&S are working with the Conservation Carbon Company to help local farmers replant trees so that what is left of the rainforest in southern Sri Lanka can be reconnected again via ‘green corridors’. This allows wildlife such as the slender loris and green vine snake to move around. The local farmers are helped to develop sustainable agriculture harvesting fruit and timber.

Mike Barry, Head of Sustainable Business at M&S, said the retailer will be trying to make more clothing carbon neutral in future and expecting other companies to follow suite.

“We don’t want green, eco-friendly products to be in a ghetto in the corner, we should be making all products more environmentally friendly,” he said.

I honestly don’t know where to start. OK, start simple Nick and work up to the Götterdämmerung. First off the lass on the right – that don’t work. She’s way too buxom for a strapless number. OK, got that off my er… chest. The sad truth I was trying to avoid is that it will find buyers.

How do I know that? Because I’ve met the sort of people who would buy that sort of thing. I once had a flatmate called Martin. Martin was a twat. Sorry, Mart but there is no other way of putting it. He was very Green. He was so Green that he sent off for the Green party manifesto and then didn’t read it. I did. So did the rest of our flat and we concluded (this was c.1996) that whilst hitherto we’d regarded Greens as lentil boiling socks’n'sandals cranks they were actually extremely nasty. As I said Mart didn’t read it and in the end it was recycled which is fitting in a sense.

Now Mart wasn’t a hit with the ladies. I once saw him come out of the bathroom starkers but for a towel wrapped around his organs of generation and elimination. Another of my flatmates said, “Oi, Sabu the elephant-boy!” He was the spitting double of Mowgli despite being white British and from near Sheffield (which is nothing to be proud about). Anyway we must now enter stage-left a Canadian. Jamie was a nice guy. He was from Vancouver. He had a cavalcade of Canucks dossing on his floor. First was The Noah and then The Gayle. For some reason these West Coast Canucks felt the need to address each other using the definite article – a night on the Stella with The Jamie was a most excellent adventure if you catch my drift. The Noah was a sound chap who stood his round and could usually be found, “Watching the game (it didn’t matter what) having a beer” but The Gayle was something else…

I have no idea what form of financial support the friends of Jamie had. In short I basically have no freaking idea what they did or where the money came from. The Noah was a sort of force of nature. The Gayle was nature. Shortly before pitching-up in London she had spent six months living in a treehouse in British Columbia protesting about something. Anyway Green Mart was smitten from first sight. Utterly. He got nowhere of course despite cooking her a vegan curry to general derision. Now don’t get me wrong here. My wife is vegan but veganism is not the point. It was the procession of the vegetables that caused the derision. These involved a “baby aubergine”. Apparently The Gayle said, “Oh isn’t it so cute, can I hold it?” (she spoke entirely in italics all the fucking time) I wasn’t there but my flattie Sid told me afterwards. I’m glad I wasn’t there because I’d probably have lost control of various bodily functions that are not the done thing to lose control of in company. Certainly not in front of Canadians. I’m English. I have standards.

So, my point is if this silliness from M&S had been on the market back when Mart was trying to seduce The Gayle it is exactly the sort of thing he would have bought her. Maybe then he would have got at least tops and fingers. As it was he got fuck all. Not even a kiss. After having known The Gayle for 48 hours though he did tell me (this was just after the aubergine incident) that she, “Was the most important woman he’d ever met, ever”. You see, he saw life through a different lens. Most don’t pretend sexual attractiveness is something it isn’t but not Mart. He saw attractiveness purely in terms of righteousness rather than the thing in itself. Now show me a picture of Dita von Teese in the nip and I’m like “Yeah!”. Show Mart the same picture and he’d probably mumble something about it being “exploitative” and then shamble off to his room for a wank. But if you made some pony up about how Ms von Teese’s burlesque shows were “carbon-neutral” the likes of Mart would wax lyrical – and then also go off for a wank. But a righteous wank this time.

But forget about Mart! And Dita, alas! I must here air my Unified Field Theory of Frilly Things. Most things are sold as commodities in a sense. A litre of milk costs more than half a litre. This does not apply to underwear. Imagine it’s December 23rd and you are in Central Manchester and you have to buy a Crimble prezzie for the missus. Underwear always works. Now you can spend a lot at Harvey Nicks or Selfridges on “Love, Kylie” or “Elle MacPherson ‘Intimates’” or you can buy five panties for a tenner at Primark. One of those paths is a false economy. One of those will have you kipping on the sofa ’till Easter if you are fucking lucky. My point here is that lingerie is an inverse commodity. The more you pay the less (by mass) you tend to get. It is not at all like pig iron or pork bellies (thank God!). So on the general assumption that in terms of carbon footprint and resource depletion and all that jazz then the more expensive the underwear the better surely? On every count! For the planet, for the prospect of a blow-job, for not sleeping on the sofa for months! And surely getting divorced is a hell of a thing for your carbon footprint.

But that’s my take. Mart probably has a different one. And next Winterval some “lucky” lady will unwrap her carbon neutral knickers and bra and swoon before engaging in deeply unfulfilling sex with the miserable sod. And he was a miserable sod and a hypocrite. The only shag he got that year was with another of my homies – Alison. Subsequently I got to know Alison quite well. After a few drinkies we got to talking about our shag lists. She rated herself as as 3/2*. “A half!” I ejaculated. “Yeah, that was Martin, you couldn’t exactly call that sex!” No, I guess not seeing as he was the sort of bloke who tented his pants over a dimwitted Canuck who wanted to carry a baby aubergine from flat 32 to flat 24.

Last I heard Sid and Alison were happily living together in North London and she was a corporate lawyer and he was an oil engineer. I, inadvertently, almost ended that but the tale of the Canadian ribbed condom can keep. That was yet another Canadian for a start. The gaff was wick with moose-fuckers. We used to play poker and I still find fucking Canadian cents in my penny jar 15 years later.

So how did Mart get to 1/2 Alison? They were both Brahms and Liszt and he chatted her up on the basis purely that she was a vegetarian. He only later found out she also voted Tory… This amused Alison enormously. Mart simply couldn’t get his head around the idea that a vegetarian could be relatively “right wing”. I guess he should have met Hitler – they would have got on like a house on fire. Both being leftie beyond comprehension.

But there is a condom story I have to tell. And it hales from York and not Vancouver. Mart showed me his stash of johnnies (no, not like that – he was straight) but in a spirit of “chappishness”. You know where he got ‘em from? Ensure you are near a toilet now. They were a parting gift from his ex-girlfriend from York. Now I’ve had exs and by and large the parting gift is X-rated lingo both ways and not accessories for your future conquests. Real people break-up with foul language. Mart broke up with condoms. If I live to 113 I will not understand that.

But it is exactly the mentality of the buyer of carbon neutral bras. Exactly. It is about being terribly liberal about sex by not exactly being genuinely liberal but taking the easy route which is thinking it just doesn’t matter. That it is just something us carbon-neutral animals can’t help ourselves from doing.

And that is not the way I look at it. I’m pretty liberal on the shagging but only because I know it can mean more than the world just in and of itself. Things don’t have to be defined to matter. And when I take off my wife’s bra I do not care about the carbon neutrality. I am not Mart. He’d get the righteous horn (though I am told he is hung like a Chinese mouse) if it was a “carbon-neutral bra” but me? Me! I just like tits. And whilst for shopping purposes I know what her technical size is but for groping purposes I think in terms of old money and the utterly “carbon whatever” that is the BSH – The British Standard Handful. I like tits. I’m a non-gay bloke. Do I have to explain? Moreover if I had to think like that I would have the pitiful hit rate of Martin. I have seen (and handled) some beautiful breasts in my time. I have never got my paws on “carbon neutral” ones because a slap in the face generally brings sexual antics to a halt. Clue one is that if you get a girl’s bra off then you have arrived! By definition they gotta be exceptional or you are wasting your time and you wouldn’t want to do that! The same applies to lesbians. I mean real lesbians who like girls and not lezzas who are doing it as a deranged political statement. I like lesbians. I have actually had sex with at least one. She regarded the Guardian as right-wing but she had great tits and really good dope so I forgave her for it.

And she had the tightest cunny parts of any chaos theorist I ever shagged. (Un)fortunately that places her in a set of one.

I guess I now have to go and knit my wife some knickers out of grass and then make up a bed on the sofa.

Rejected post titles include: “Titiful!”, “Titter ye not!” and “Penny Bizarre”.

*I’m a physicist by training so I use vulgar fractions.

Miss Australia

You know the film “This is Spinal Tap”? You know there is a scene where the manager gets annoyed at the interfering of one of the band members girlfriends and describes her as looking like “something from an Australian’s nightmare”. Behold Miss Australia…

Burkha Madness!

There has been much discussion about proposed “burkha bans” (actually bans on veils in public) around the World including the UK.

All the discussions I have seen have concentrated on the civil liberties / freedom angle and I have nothing to add on that score. I think it an obnoxious garment but then so is the mankini. Sorry, that is flippant. The burkha is a politico-religious statement in a way that (God help us if I’m wrong) the mankini isn’t. Having said that it should not be banned purely on the basis of personal freedom. By which I mean that is a necessary condition not to ban by itself.

Now that that is out of the way what about the practicalities and effects of such a ban?

Firstly, despite living in a lot of areas with very high Muslim populations I don’t recall seeing a “classic” burkha. The niqab (veil) is more common but still not that common. This is really a very petty cause. It would be like banning lederhosen in 1940. It really isn’t worth it.

Secondly, Muslims would go ape over it. The most obvious recourse they would have would be to stage massed veiled protests against the ban. Every Muslim woman who wear hijab would be able to quite easily obtain a niqab and that’s it. Frankly, I’d support them doing that. But is that the Muslim way of protesting? Maybe in this case, maybe not. Depends if the firebrand clerics get them into the (all to frequent) skirling rage and this would give them an excellent excuse to do just that. Victim-hood is what firebrand clerics excel at.

Thirdly, almost every case from Salman Rushdie to Geert Wilders of Islamic “pissed-offness” with the West on cultural grounds (I’m leaving war and terrorism out here) has not been the West’s fault. This time it would be over a ridiculous piece of gesture politics. A piece of gesture politics of such piddling utility that if I were an Islamist leader I’d think it made the West look even more weak and ineffectual. The perception of that weakness amongst many Muslims is a significant part of the problem. If we really want to do something about some of the unpleasant aspects of the culture of too many Muslims within our lands then there are far more important causes than something which is (almost literally!) about window dressing. Forced marriages and female genital mutilation are clearly far more important causes.

Finally, it is impossible to deny that dressing how one likes is an example of freedom of expression. By clamping down on Islamic dress we are offering the mullahs a Gotcha!. And they’d be right too. The West (some of it) was right to say, “sod off” over the MoToons of Doom (the UK media disgracefully wasn’t) because freedom of expression is a fight worth fighting. If an item of clothing were banned Muslims would have every right to cast in doubt our true commitment to that principle. It would make our defence of that fundamental principle of our civilization untenable.

PS. It could be argued that on the grounds of taste and decency the mankini ought to be banned but when something is it’s own punishment…


Job ad from Oxfam. Here is the whole thing in readiness for the day when the job is filled and this evidence passes into history.

Sorry, no hat tip, don’t remember where I read this.

Senior Press Officer – Climate Change

Date posted:
15/04/10 00:00
Closing date:

Campaigning for action on climate change is Oxfam’s key priority.  It is already happening and it is the world’s poorest that are already feeling it’s effects, even though they are often the least responsible. By joining our press office you will lead the media work in publicising actions to cut emissions, plus the need for money to help people adapt to the impact of climate change.

The role
Leading two press officers, you will plan and implement new media strategies across television, print, radio and online channels.  A major priority will be establishing friendly, open lines of communication with senior journalists and editors. You will make sure they have all the resources – film, photo and audio – that they need to make the most of each story. As team lead you will also monitor and evaluate our climate-related press coverage, and continually adjust your strategies to improve impact. And as a respected authority in media communications, you’ll also give senior colleagues advice on how to best
maintain our public profile.
What we’re looking for
You should be experienced in media relations with a background in both online and offline media. This role requires an experienced team leader, confident decision maker and a strong verbal and written communicator. You will rally your team to achieve bigger and better coverage, and convince major media players to give our stories significant space. As hands-on as you are strategic, you will also recognise the importance of strong teamwork and a can-do attitude. And with up to eight weeks overseas work forming part of your responsibilities, you will be flexible about working hours and travelling at short notice.
About Oxfam
A simple, inescapable truth underlines everything we do at Oxfam. There is enough wealth in this world to go around. It’s not unfortunate that people live in poverty. It’s unjustifiable. It’s not their problem. It’s ours too. And with the right support, we can beat poverty and injustice. Thousands of people already commit their time and talents to our campaigning, humanitarian and long-term development projects. Now we are looking for yours.
To find out more about this role and to apply, and quote ref: C&P515.

Did you know Oxfam was set up in 1942 to campaign for food to be allowed through the Allied blockade into Axis occupied Greece?

I guess one could argue that from day one they were campaigning against our interests, but that could just be mean on my part. Getting involved in famine relief for the last sixty eight years is on the whole a pretty good thing.

From Oxfam UK website:

Oxfam is a vibrant global movement of dedicated people fighting poverty. Together. Doing amazing work. Together. People power drives everything we do. From saving lives and developing projects that put poor people in charge of their lives and livelihoods, to campaigning for change that lasts. That’s Oxfam in action.


Campaigning for action on climate change is Oxfam’s key priority.

Well, that’s it.

Which do we believe? What they tell the general populace, the source of their funds? Or what they tell their employees? The people at the sharp end.

They don’t just subscribe to this scam, they have internalised it, lock, stock and falsified computer model.

So, what now? For me, for as long as their “key priority” is pissing the generously donated dollars, dinars, shekels and pounds of their dupes into the motley CRU’s fantasy world, not a cent, not a penny, not a sou, not even a single brass razoo, to this claque of wankers.


Update:       Claque of wankers? Enclave of the Righteous maybe? That sound better?

Back to the whenever….

I hadn’t really noticed it before but yesterday in Sainsburys I noted that this year’s female swimwear collection is very ’50s.

I mean I’d noticed it at the high-end but seeing it in Sainsburys shows it has reached the “Taste the Difference” lasagne munching crowds like me.

Here is the interesting thing. I’ve heard a lot in the press about this decade being like the ’80s (I liked the ’80s) and the thing about that decade is that once the New Romantics ran out of mascara the ’80s went very ’50s in terms of style. Who can forget Nick Kamen in his 501s? It just strikes me as curious. If the ’80s ponced on the ’50s and now the 2010s (where’s my jetpack!) are poncing on the ’80s which of course ponced off the ’50s then…

Well, as a serious student of popular culture (I’m just pulling on the communication cord to prevent the arrival at Middle-Age Station), I’m curious. Is there a general re-capitulation of styles every thirty years? I mean is that the product cycle here?

Just call me Marty. I was pondering a big post on decadism but it’s Sunday so the hell with it!

Beyond Thunderdomes

Having agreed with a French feminist I feel the need to cleanse myself with a spot of end of the pier smut.

I was having lunch eating a packet of Rowntrees Fruit Gums and drinking pomegranate juice with carbonated Tesco Value water whilst watching Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes on ITV3 today and I was struck by a commercial…

It was one of those ads for mail-order clothing of the sort bought by side show freaks too ashamed to go into shops. You know the sort of stuff – Sizes 18-30*. Now 18 I can easily picture but 30 is definitely muumuu, wash yourself with a rag on the end of a stick territory. This company also offered lingerie to bra-size 56L! 56L!! 56L!!! That’s not lingerie, that’s… heavy engineering**. I mean that’s the kind of bra that would be commonplace if the bra was the invention of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. You could safely leap out of an aeroplane holding one of those above your head. An entire homeless Haitian family could be accomodated in one cup whilst the clowns of Fred Carno’s Circus could drive their collapsing jallopy to humourless applause around the other. Snow White could feed all seven of the dwarfs with knockers like that and she wouldn’t even need to sit down***. I mean I tend to think of D as busty but L is way past the duggulent. God alone knows what a bra of that size needs to be made of but it’s got to be another one of those technological spin-offs from NASA.

Which only leaves one question really. Who makes such enormous bras? I think I might have an idea though…

*That’s UK dress sizes.
**For some reason whenever I think about it I hear in my head the Imperial March from Star Wars.
***Easter egg scene on the Region 2 Anniversary Special Edition DVD box set.

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Shopping

Not long since I went to the newsagent and bought a pack of cigarettes. For this brief excursion I wore trainers, socks, underwear, a T-shirt, combats and a hooded-top or clothes as they are normally called. It would appear though that actually getting dressed to go out is a dying art (and we are not talking suitable attire for the opera either)…

Elaine Carmody had chosen her “best ones” in which to do the shopping. But not even this was enough to prevent the mother of two from falling foul of the new dress code at a branch of Tesco in South Wales.

Bosses at the St Mellons store in Cardiff have banned customers from shopping in their pyjamas, after members of the public complained that the sight of people pushing trolleys in their nightwear made them feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.

St Mellons! Have I died and been re-incarnated as Sid James?

Those entering the store are now greeted by signs headed Tesco Dress Code Policy. “To avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others, we ask that our customers are appropriately dressed when visiting our store (footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted),” the rules decree.

Footwear must be worn at all times. I mean I know we had a recession but…

Ms Carmody, 24, was one of the first to be escorted from the premises by a security guard yesterday, after choosing the comfortable option to “pop in for a pack of fags”.

Is it just me (and my clearly Victorian values) but why did I feel the need to put on proper clothes (and to have a shower) before going out to buy ciggy-wigs?

“I’ve got lovely pairs of pyjamas, with bears and penguins on them. I’ve worn my best ones today, just so I look tidy,” she said, unhappily. “He said it offends people. But I’ve never seen anyone offended. If you’re allowed to wear jogging bottoms, why aren’t you allowed to wear pyjamas in there, that’s what I don’t understand. It is ridiculous and stupid. I go in other shops in my pyjamas and they don’t say anything.

Dear Mother of God! Why the flying fuckulence would anyone want to be seen wearing pyjamas in public? I mean nothing against them per se – my wife wears them – but my wife wears them in the bedroom, not in the fucking fish aisle of Tesco. And no, love, they are not the same as jogging pants. Jogging pants at least imply some level of physical activity. I have to H/T the missus for this one and she (helpfully/sickfully) pointed out that wearing pyjamas to the supermarket probs means not wearing a bra and that means duggs a swingin’ and (I quote a woman here) “unfetterred minge” and my wife was very insistent that anyone with so little self-respect that they go shopping in their PJs would not be wearing a bra or knickers. It’s a horrible thought but you just know that Ms Carmody is composed primarily of duggulent substances. And it weren’t me that first brought-up the word “duggs” in this context.

But wait… It’s not just the Welsh…

It is not the first time that pyjamas have been banned in public. In May 2007 staff at a GPs’ practice in Ancoats, Greater Manchester, imposed a ban after patients started turning up for appointments in their bedwear. A doctor at the clinic said: “We’ve had complaints. It’s lazy.”

That’s just up the road from moi. Ancoats though is an utter shiteration of a gaff. It has a Currys. I shall give it that which is (to quote my gran) pretty much leaving it with nowt but it’s eyes to weep with.

Also in Belfast, the headmaster of St Matthew’s Primary, in the east of the city, sent a letter to parents asking them to dress properly on the school run after 50 mothers turned up at the school gates in pyjamas. Joe McGuinness said that it was “slovenly and rude”.

In 2008 a Dublin café erected a “no pyjamas” sign, and in 2006 the Gulf emirate of Ras al-Khaimah introduced a dress code to stop people wearing their nightwear to work.

It’s spreading… It’s got to Shanghai.

We is all buggered.

PS written at my wife’s computer whilst wearing very little…

Too Fat?

That’s Lizzie Miller and she’s a model. I think she looks very nice. She apparently can’t get work modelling because she is apparently too fat. OK, maybe she doesn’t exactly have the usual skinny body type for Milan or Paris but calling her fat is somewhat ludicrous and what is even more ludicrous is that she has been dropped from modeling for plus-size clothing-lines!

Geordie Masochism

I am a masochist. I don’t mean that I get turned on by the idea of Dita von Teese making me wear stockings and then getting medieval on my ass turns me on (though it does). That is a simple fetish but alas I am already way beyond that level of perversion. I am a lifelong Newcastle United fan.

Stop laughing at the back. Oh! carry on it’s the only way I can cope as well.

After a dismal season which saw us relegated I recently saw the new away strip for our up-comming campaign in the Championship (say it quickly and it don’t hurt as much). Here it is…

Now I’m no Trinny and Susannah and normally dress like a mildly deranged Korean War fighter pilot but that is fucking ghastly. That knocks into a cocked hat the abysmal Arsenal away strip of the early nineties (also heavy on the yellow) and it makes the Notts Forest away strip of the same era look tasteful. I have seen some dreadful outfits in my time but that new Newcastle strip takes the battenburg and performs an unatural act with it. It is horrid. Is it a cunning plan? I mean are NUFC so devoid of cash or ideas that their only option is to dazzle the opposition so our strikers (whoever they may be – could be me – rail fare every Saturday and a complimentary pie – we are that potless) wearing that garb will cause defenders from sunnier climes to collapse screaming, “My eyes!”. Is that what the Toon Army is reduced to?

Wiser viewers might (if they can cope) have spotted the shirt sponsor. Yup, it’s still Northern Rock. I think that says it all really. A shit team, utterly insolvent, wearing kit that would be rejected by a fairground barker on the grounds of tastelessness playing the likes of West Brom Albion and sponsored by a bankrupt bank…

That’s modern Britain in a nutshell for you.

But I have no choice. I’m a fan. I have lived these last few years in and around Manchester and I could have become a fan of Sir Alex’s Reds or Man City or even (God help me for saying this) Stockport County, or Bolton Wanderers but no. When I pop my cloggs and Quincy gets Sam (ever noticed that Sam actually does all the work whilst Quincy merely grandstands?) to open me up my heart will be striped black and white and therefore probs readable by a Tesco scanner. And Sam will sagely remark that I could have got that Wash And Go on a three for a price of two offer. Not that it will matter because I’m quitting this mortal coil via misadventure and that don’t exactly go along with open casket ceremonies.

Enough of that already!

How the hell can I support a team playing in that? I will though because I’m a Geordie and the fact that they are going to dress like rejects from a Gay Pride march and haven’t won anything since before I was born doesn’t matter. I will support them because they are my team.


The Law Of Sevens

Some time in (I think), the late 80s, I came up with one of those observational laws like Murphy’s Law or Parkinson’s Law, but a bit less… well, less. This was a simple idea that major popular musical movements happen, every decade, around the 7th year. It seemed like a pretty good law-

1957- Rock’n'roll
1967- Summer Of Love, Rock Music “proper” is born
1977- Punk
1987- Acid House/Rave

Now of course there are lots of different musical trends and styles appearing all the time, some become major fads and some don’t. But I felt that the “Law Of Sevens” described moments of defining change in popular culture. Nothing was ever the same again after each of my four examples. They each reverberated far beyond mere music, as part of a cultural revolution. I’m 43, so I don’t remember the 1960s (people say if you can remember them, you weren’t there anyway, haha) but looking at photos from that decade, the massive change between the first few years and the later years is glaring. One only has to look at The Beatles through their career, from smart lads in suits to long haired doped out hippies to see that. Everything changed. There was a culture shock.

Of course having declared my “law” it promptly broke down. There is nothing one can specifically associate with 1997. There was Britpop, but that was earlier, and Grunge, but that was earlier still, and no musical form really presents itself as defining the decade. 2007? Meh, again, no.

We might note that pop music as we know it today is primarily a British and American phenomenon, which might tie us into my anglospheric musings in other posts, since Britain and the USA are the two leaders of the anglospheric cultural hegemony. And we might observe that each of the four cultural moments I listed above rocked and shocked the ruling classes of those nations. Rock’n'roll seems mild today, but outraged the elders of the culture. The Summer Of Love, the filth and the fury of Punk, the moral panic surrounding Acid House- nothing is comparable in the 90s or 00s. In 1997 we didn’t get a music-driven cultural earthquake. We got Tony Blair.

It may just be that music ran out of new things to do. Or it may be that having shocked the world for four successive decades, the world became shockproof. But I wonder if something more unpleasant had happened. Perhaps we might say that Brit/American culture had reeled for four decades from an onslaught of social liberalisms, and by the 1990s that had been stifled. The ruling class had fought back, and won. Or, the revolutionaries of the past had got old and become the ruling class. I dunno. What one can say is that the anti-authoritarian spirit of each of those musical shocks, each in its own way, seemed to have perished. The barely organised chaos of, for instance, 60s rock festivals, 70s punk gigs, or 80s raves is absent now- the festivals are organised, corporatised and sanitised. Glastonbury is a little police state which people pay a great deal of money to enter, patrolled by policemen sporting CCTV cameras to spot the odd social degenerate who managed to get in and tries to smoke a joint. Our ability to mount a cultural revolt seems to have evaporated, or been utterly quashed.

It may well be relevant that the establishment reaction against the last of the sevens- Acid House- was, as Guido Fawkes pointed out in a Libertarian Alliance publication on the matter which I can’t find now, though it’s on the webs somewhere, based around a new tactic of Health And Safety. Raves were proscribed and regimented on the basis that they were not safe and approval by the powers that be must be obtained to safeguard their attendees. It’s very hard to be revolutionary when you’re surrounded by government inspectors and police demanding that everybody form an orderly queue and checking how many WCs per person have been provided. It was a very good tactic (from the point of view of those who dislike people dancing without a licence from the State) and, in retrospect, a foretaste of the social tyranny which now oppresses us all. I wonder how many social conservatives who cheered the health and safety crackdown on raves realised the same ideology would end up banning them from baking cakes for the church social because they aren’t state approved caterers?

I used to think the future was going to be a great place to live. Now it’s here, it seems a bit disappointing, to be honest.

%d bloggers like this: