Posts from 13th October 2005

Oct 05


Proven By SciencePost a comment • 477 views

So God is no good, mainly cos our authors don’t believe in God and this is THEIR BALL. Meaning, the second option. ALIEUMS.

This chapter wonders exactly why Aliums would build the moon and why would they do it so long ago. Yet again this bizarre stipulation that the moon is a message and humans have ten fingers is underlined. Which is unfortunate because without them, the alien hypothesis makes the most sense. It is almost as if they have a favourite theory that all their work up to now builds up to. How unscientific of them.

(These chapters keep banging on about how unscientific science is: putting the boot in to Karl popper is always fun, but doing it just so their “open mind theories” don’t get shot down is rubbish.) There is some suggestion of a hyper-intelligence trying to seed the Universe, which starts drifting into the God angle again. In the end, after all this build up, this theory is given much less shift than you would expect. Come on, this is a crazy conspiracy theory book, bring on the Aliums.

“i’m not a hobbit, i just have TINY BONES”

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 371 views

update on the OTHER Best. Science. Story. Ever…

Photograph © Peter Brown/Nature


TMFDPost a comment • 1,006 views

I was not really watching the football last night in the Ship and Shovell, I was there to spend time with a friend on his birthday. Nevertheless this tiny pub under Charing Cross Station, with its one tiny TV, seemed a large central gathering point for a large bunch of Polish fans. Lots of pubs have a “No Football Colours” rule. I wonder how said pubs would deal with a man wandering around draped in the Polish flag?

So the game started and a few rousing choruses of “Polska! Polska!” boomed around the pub. No-one felt threatened. It was a bit noisy, but not as noisy as the fire alarm keeping going off. With the exception of the couple sucking their faces of each other, the whole place seemed to be in good spirits. England scored, there was a slight murmur. Poland scored, the place erupted.

Of course the match barely signified anything. Both teams had qualified, and whilst Poland have often been slight bugbears on the football field, England and Poland, especially London and Poland are very friendly. And it continued that way, the Poles being loud, and England eventually scoring. Carsmile even discovered a Polish Exeter fan.

This reminded me of
a) How much fun watching football with a raucous crowd in a pub can be
b) That noisy fans are nothing to be scared of
c) That I actually want to see games like this in the real World Cup, with loud crowds in their London homes.

Roll on Deustchland 2006.
(And not a mention of my Polish heritage. That for a later post I think.)

Day 50: Australia

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 383 views

“And this is for XTC.” I said, throwing a saucepan at Branson.
“And this is for Phil Collins,” a saucer.
“And this is for Genesis,” the cup, full of tea.
Branson was skipping and a bouncing on the surf where he had been dragged for the last twenty hours. In the meantime I had made it clear tot he captain of the boat that I did not want him to deviate or to stop, and that instead I was an an avenging angel here to punish Dickie Branson for all the evil he had done. Much of the back catalogue and most of the contents of the cabin had been thrown at him in the meantime.
“And this is for the Sex Pistols. EMI had the right idea.” The microwave. It was important.
“Land ‘Hoy,” the captain said the first thing he had said since he reminded me two hours before that Culture Club were on Virgin.
“Well Richard, I do hope you will mend your ways.”
He could not reply, concussed and with a mouth full of salt water, but I think he got the gist, as I walked off the boat on to Sydney Harbour.


There is a school of thought which firmly considers the Manics as two bands. One the self styled rock gods with tricksy lyrics for which read non-rhyming) lyrics when Richie Edwards was in the band. The other the rubbish, boring, Travis template post-Ritchie “deathappearnce”.

This school of though is sadly mistaken. Both versions were god-awful, its just that one used longer words. Australia comes from Everything Must Go, the transition album (from rubbish band a – to rubbish band b – and so is doubly rubbish, where they still used long words but did not have to put up with Ritchie’s rubbish guitar playing. Basically in transition from rubbish band A – to rubbish band B they had all the flaws of both versions so were doubly rubbish.

Lyrically it is not clear what this is about, but does not spout any crypto-Marxist bollocks so its a safe bet that it is probably just about surfing or something. And at least it does not have trumpet on it played by fatso, like Kenneth Connor on the same album.

It’s probably about Home and Away.

Best. Science. Story. Ever.

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 346 views


“It’s great to be able to help grant Paul’s wish. Had he not had access to the computer he would not have been able to tell us what he wanted to do. Moments like this make it all worthwhile.”

This might provide some context for our overseas readers…

“it’s his subversion that’s interesting”

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 1,357 views

i like banksy’s work a lot, for good sentimental-personal reasons — there’s a lot of it dotting the grim reaches round old street, which i often used to have to pass through on the way to work, before i knew who he was, and at the time it just seemed good to see SOMEONE was enjoyin themselves

i HATE the lazy, fatuous, self-pleased and self-pleasuring way some of his fans enthuse about him: viz the claim that he’s HACKING the system — the entire “culture-jamming” meme is so fucked and up itself, this complacent assumption that while the SHEEP-LIKE MASSES gawp SLACK-JAWED before EMPTY ESTABLISHMENT ART, only a SELECT CLEVER FEW see THROUGH ALL THAT to REALITY (tickets now on sale…) (or records in the case of smug parasitic twats like NEGATIVLAND). Admittedly the tame art-critic that Channel 4 News roped in last night to “explain” Banksy’s new Notting Show (complete with live rats) only had a single sentence to sum the show up before he wz cut off, and we went back to the studio, but if he wz actually any good at his job (=knowin abt culture) he ALREADY KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN and shd have chosen his single sentence accordingly, for maximum effect (in the event we got the headline above, and sighed or slept on)

so, some pointers

i. “subversion” is a FUNDAMENTALLY DEFENSIVE and DESPAIRING (hence REACTIONARY) concept: it entails a hermetic elite, unable to declare themselves honestly to the world at large, let alone convincingly propose their own alternative, pimping in secret off the enemy’s achieved system in the pomp of its alleged monolithic power — thus matrix-style terrorism doesn’t challenge but instead AFFIRMS (and indeed amplifies) state violence; thus baudrilloid-style pol-economy-of-the-sign “criticism” doesn’t REVEAL cultural emptiness, it generates and then revels in it…: both sneer at and in effect shut down ANY ordinary-language responses* to the churned-up, layered, baked-in-a-pie-contradictory complexity of ordinary information, leaving the rest of us at the v.suspect limited mercy of closed-order talibans of “alternative” reading (translation: monolith-worship)

by contrast banksy’s work could hardly be MORE CLEAR or STRAIGHTFORWARD, no second-guessing needed
ii. it derives its POWER from the openness of his appeal to shared sentiment — which is to say, the straightforward utopianism ALREADY PRESENT (if muffled by context, commodification, mystification etc) in a million items of (yes yes sometimes a bit lame) popular art

iii. it derives its STRENGTH from his manifestly obvious pleasure in established technique (the jokes unleash everything that casual repetition has locked INTO the original: détournement isn’t mockery, it’s acknowledgment of temporal priority plus declaration of cultural equality — everyone’s cultural equality — and banksy’s détournement show he’s at LEAST as much a celebrant of REAL ACTUAL PROPER PAINTING as the fkn STUCKISTS)

(ok this above is a bit of a poor example of the proper-painted-gallery-art he adores, seeing as i don’t know who the original wz by: however the new exhib’n loves and re-enshrines a MONET, a HOPPER, a VETTRIANO and naturally several warhols, inc.K.Moss-as-Marilyn) (and lots of rats) (which is a homage to my kitchen, which is since recently full of HORRIBLE MICE bah)

*(MAIN UNSTATED ARGT ALERT: specialist and/or technical jargon, useful as it is, is WAY MORE prey to commodification-repetition and the vagaries of intellectual fetish-fashion than what i’m admittedly rather vaguely callin “ordinary language” here)

An Opportunity Missed

Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 383 views

The Head of Steam is a strange old place. Part of the concrete Euston complex built controversially in the 60s (John Betjeman famously campaigned against the demolition of the previous, Victorian, Euston station, and particularly its large Doric arch). It’s concretey on the outside, but the inside manages to maintain a whiff of the Smegthorpe Railwaymans Club, despite the fact that very few railwaypersons seem to drink there. I imagine they have an actual club of their own. I like Euston to look at, but it does so often seem a bit glum.

Anyway the Head of Steam has generally managed to achieve an excellent friendly-but-not-too-friendly local atmosphere, even in the face of the fact that it’s a station pub and obviously lacks many actual locals. It’s true that the range of ales attracts fatbelly beer bores, but we’re a relatively harmless bunch as long as you can put up with the conversations about – and the faint smell of – yeast. It’s one of the very few places in London where you can get a decent pint of cider. (NB The Publog cannot recommend such foolishness for the untrained).

The other obvious feature is The Code. Ask behind the bar for The Code and make sure you remember it, because you require The Code to get you through the locked doors to the downstairs toilets. It seems there exists a certain constituency who crave access to these facilities without purchasing goods from the bar, which offends natural justice, and it may be that these people are intent on other unnamed mischief. Anyway, they are apparently repelled by The Code, so all is well.

So what, you ask? Well, the Head of Steam has been sold. Its new Fullers overlords intend to maintain its current character, which is probably a good thing and will be even better if they give the food a sympathetic, cheap and cheerful brush-up. They’re changing its name, though: it’s to be called The Doric Arch. It’s a shame Fullers haven’t cottoned on to the recent fashion for concrete buildings. Instead of commemorating the neo-classical pile which the current building rather gleelessly stomped all over, they might have done better to celebrate what’s there now. The Block of Concrete seems a good name, or The Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, to commemorate Betjeman’s architectural enemy. Or maybe The Brutalist’s Arms. That’d be nice.