Posts from 5th May 2005

May 05

Who wants to read about teh worst book ever?

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 232 views

Oh, you do?

WELL, here we go.

The book is the fantastically titled The Corpse Now Arriving by Margaret Hinxman. The front cover features an obviously bleached plastic laboratory skellington clutching a British Rail ticket from [xXx] to London Victoria (via Penge). It’s in those details that idiots like me thrive, and the book was only 50p, so I had to buy it. But oh my word, I have a high tolerance for thin plots but this is ridiculous. The protagonist is a 30something freelance journalist, and one can’t help but think this is an entirely shameless grabbing for positive reviews from harassed hacks desperate for some empathy. Her tedious life and depressing ‘marital trauma’ sideline makes me want to throw a cup of boiling Virgin Rail overbrewed tea in her ‘well dressed Fleet Street style’ face. “We always argued like this, when we were together, she thought, regretfully. Richard glowered at her. Oh, if it wasn’t for her damned pride, she thought”. Unfortunately I can’t quite bring myself to fully channel such dreadful prose but believe you me, consider yourself lucky.

And dear god, the plot, the plot is so thin that wafer thin HAM would be better at stopping a bullet than this flimsy excuse of a narrative. I know who murdered Maisie Butler, but most importantly, I find that I don’t give a tinkers toss, and in the final grappling between Our Heroine and the murderer, I’m voting for HIM just to shut the darned woman from carping on fit to explode. In more rational times, Hinxman would be be firmly restricted to the odd nutloop letter of complaint in the Metro, but obviously things were different back in the 80s.

I blame Thatcher.

Reasons to vote Official Monster Raving Loony

Blog 7Post a comment • 1,189 views

Reasons to vote Official Monster Raving Loony

Knigel Knapp (Knight of the Unknown) is standing in Hackney North. If elected he will:

Ban the bendy bus (they’re too big and too bendy)
Install Stocks instead of Asbos

The rest of it is silly, but I don’t see Diane Abbott sticking up for Routemasters. He also says these promises may be fibs.

Pollwatch – 2.40pm

Blog 7Post a comment • 321 views

Danny Baker has voted, along with his daughter and, I presume, his partner.

An old woman wanted to check that her vote would be valid as she’d put a tick, not a cross. I assured her that as long as it was clear who she’d voted for, it’d be fine.

The Tory candidate is quite young.

No activists from the Tories or Lib-Dems joined me at the Polling Station.

Lots of people really don’t know what to do; they approach the station tentatively, unsure as to whether I was an official part of the process, or some hanger on (answer=somewhere between the two). I wonder whether beneath cynicism there lies fear, or being the ‘weird’ one who doesn’t really understand what they have to do, and hides that behind statements about how politics ‘isn’t for them’ or ‘doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my life’. The ritualistic aspect of voting, something I love, is seemingly dying out, and it need not. It really just needs explaining, and Delia Smith is the woman to do it.

I’m counting people scowling at me in my Labour rosette or point-blank refusing to give me their number as Tories, which means on current evidence, Michael Howard isn’t going to be in Number 10, as he needs to seriously run Labour close in this seat.

Fats the years are past

Do You SeePost a comment • 270 views

Also known as The Edukators. A German film about youthful political activism which skirts many of its issues without ever really grasping them. Beyond a anti-capitalist rhetoric it is difficult to work out the ideology of the leads, and their situationist stunts are a poor mans version of the Angry Brigade at best (without the bombs). The suggestion at the heart of the film that just because this has all been done before does not mean that political radicalism should die, is a persuasive one. As is the nice fact that the fat cat they eventually kidnap actually being an activist himself in the sixties. As a catalogue of disillusionment it works quite well, though takes a pretty long time to get there.

But back to that title. Is it called The Edukators, with a k deliberately, so we realise is a German film? Is it because it has a nice punch ring to it. Certainly the German title Die Fetten Jahre Sind Vorbei (literal translation above, gist translation, Your Days Of Plenty Are Over) is probably not punchy enough. But the film never refers to the leads as “The Edukators” and the characters themselves would probably be unhappy with the sobriquet. Infact having a set of garish posters across town with the phrase “YOUR DAYS OF PLENTY ARE NUMBERED” would please the ideologues of this film much more than “THE EDUKATORS”. The former actually achieves what its lead characters plan to do, destabilise the sense of comfort of the rich.

Lying To Pollsters

Blog 7Post a comment • 399 views

The first thing some people say when I tell them I am in market research is “Oh, opinion polls?”. Well, no, the bulk of MR has nothing to do with them, but it doesn’t stop the wider industry getting the collective jitters when an election comes around. 1992 is etched on every pollster’s soul, even beyond any personal disappointment. The polls fucked up, comprehensively and enormously, with a strong Labour lead – stronger than they’re reporting now, actually – going in to the last day.

Since ’92 polls have been adjusted to take into account people’s apparent reticence to admit voting Tory. But are people lying to pollsters this time? And if so, what are they lying about? The reason people lied in 1992 was – according to the ‘experts’ – that voting for the devil they knew was something a little shameful, or selfish, or lazy. Does that reason still apply to the Tories? Maybe – but it might just as easily fit the Labour vote. My own hunch is that the “don’t know” element has been overstated this time out – a lot of public “don’t know” voters do in fact know where they’re likely to put their X, it’s just they don’t want to confirm it because their vote will be a reluctant one.

In 1997 I watched the election with a Labour-supporting researcher who was convinced that a ghastly polling error had taken place and the majority would be tiny, if it existed at all. As it is the polls still overrated the labour share of vote, as they seem to every time, but they underestimated tactical voting. I’m hoping that this time they’ve finally got the Labour share about right, but I’m still a little worried.

as others see us

Blog 7Post a comment • 371 views

“Despite living there for the better part of four years, there are many things I can?t explain about Britain: the instinct to queue, the bad plumbing, and how a culture with such bland native food can love curry so much. What I can explain are the basics about the British elections held tomorrow”

josh marshall’s talking points memo is a rock-solid democratic centrist pol-blog: kenny baer is a guest contributor who’s some kind of professional “consultant” (when i grow this is what i want to be too! how do you get started??)

the three comedy things kenny “can’t explain” – hoho the brits w.their bad teeth and love of jerry lewis ect ect – are REALLY EASY TO EXPLAIN! hence i have little reason to trust any of his explanations of brit voting which aren’t purely technical, ie that require imagination gumption nous and hunchpower


Blog 7Post a comment • 231 views

there are six polls being tracked by the bbc website: Communicate, ICM, MORI, NOP, Populus and YouGov

as of lunchtime, all but Communicate have updated to TODAY as final day of polling (data gathered last three days). YouGov, which polls interweb users (yeah those clowns), and has called the election closest over the last two weeds, now uncovered a divergence, w.lab pullin ahead. MORI, NOP and Populus – which have all polled lab far ahead for some weeks – now discover a SHARP narrowing of the gap.

stick with the beasts we got plz #6: monster raving loony

Blog 7Post a comment • 356 views

i passed a comical young fellow, all hat and badges and incipient bumfluff not-yet-a-moustache, standing in angel on the way to work – he looked quite stressed and lonely, so i guess the polls look bad for his party this year

yes yes the rich web of democracy, the right to vote = the right to vote stupidly blah blah, when PR arrives the MRLP will at at get their due and their deserts, but i have always detested em for a good solid cultural snob’s reason: ADDING NOTHING TO SOMEONE ELSE’S JOKE!!!

was it funny the first time? possibly
does repetition make jokes funnier? of course, but there is a colin hunt factor also
isn’t colin hunt entitled to vote? yes he is, but when oh when will the Anorak Nation awake and realise who they COULD be?

“like saddoes after slumber in unvanquishable number”

Attention Floating Voters!

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 404 views

OK tonight is the second ever POPTIMISM and here’s what you need to know (some of this you already know)

– It’s at the Polar Bear on Lisle Street Soho between 7 and 2 tonight. Cheap drinks all night.
– It’s an election special.
– Which means a handful of ‘themed’ songs plus the usual great pop.
– Guest DJs are Meg and The Lex, both of whose sets I cannot wait to hear.
– We will have a REAL ACTUAL BALLOT BOX into which you can put your votes for the CABINET OF POP.
– Just as in a real election the Cabinet will contain absolutely nobody you might actually want to vote for, but tough, that’s democracy.
– There will be free CDs for the first 30 or so punters.
– We will have posters and actual cloakroom tickets.
– From 11 there will be a PLASMA SCREEN showing election results. Key marginals sound so much better with Kylie, don’t you think?
– £2 to get in before 11, £4 after.
– If you bring a current or former MP you get in free, though they have to pay.


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 327 views

When you have a remarkably bogstandard piece of adventure fantasy (Mothership agane) where the whole thing seems neatly wrapped up in time for the last twenty pages. And then, all of a sudden, there is a revelation, a character goes missing and the quest starts again: almost the opposite of a Deus Ex Machina – a Genesis Ex Machina? What we have here is the artificial work of an editor to turn a perfectly simple novel into book one of a trilogy. Phooey.