Evel Knievel’s Greatest Leap

Evel Knievel - we'll miss you!

Legendary US daredevil Evel Knievel has died at the age of 69, his granddaughter has said.

Knievel had suffered ill-health, including diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis – an incurable lung condition – for several years.

He underwent a liver transplant, after nearly dying of hepatitis C, in 1999.

Knievel gained cult status performing death-defying stunts in the 1960s and 70s, including an attempted motorcycle jump over Snake River Canyon in Idaho.

By the time he retired in 1980 Knievel had broken nearly 40 bones.

(Source: BBC News)

If you were a kid in the ’70s as I was, Evel Knievel was an inspirational figure. He’d regularly be in the news, jumping off things, over things, through things.

I remember getting my own little Evel Knievel, as seen above, when I was around seven or so. I went mad on it. I’d send Evel careering up ramps, through drainpipes. I even tried to light him on fire a couple of times.

In this tiny way, I wanted a bit of the real man’s magic to catch on me. I wanted to be as brave, as inventive, as dashing and, yes, sometimes as foolhardy as Evel Knievel.

He was a real hero.

RIP, mate.

Australia To Withdraw From Iraq

Kevin Rudd
PM-elect, Kevin Rudd

Australia’s prime minister-elect says the country’s 550 combat troops will leave Iraq by the middle of 2008.

Under Mr Howard Australia was a keen supporter of the US-led invasion and made an early troop commitment.

Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd came to power in a landslide election victory on Saturday.

He has previously described the decision to go to war in Iraq as the “single greatest error” of Australian national security and foreign policy decision-making since the Vietnam war.

Until Mr Rudd’s election victory, the US had counted Australia as one of its few allies in the war in Iraq – although due to the small number of Australian troops deployed, their significance was largely symbolic.
(Source: BBC News)

Country by country, Bush’s allies fall away. Politicians, after all, need the votes of the public to stay in power. And an unjust war, a war of aggression by the US against a tiny, hopelessly outclassed enemy, is a tough sell.

Perhaps if the invading forces hadn’t killed over one million Iraqis, the claim of liberation would be more widely believed? Perhaps if they had secured public order and safety before the oil wells, the accusations of a crusade for oil would have been more widely dis-believed?

I mean, put yourself in the average Iraqi’s position. When Hussein was in power, you lived under the boot of a violent, ruthless killer, installed and supported by the US and UK. Oh, here comes the US and UK – they’ve changed their minds, he’s a baddie now! Yaaay, we’re going to be liberated! Hold on – they’ve killed 1.2 million of us, used chemical weapons in Falluja (something they criticised Hussein for) and the country is in absolute chaos. Oh, and they’ve disappeared and tortured scores of innocent civilians too.

Not much of a liberation, is it?

All of which begs the question…

When will the UK withdraw its support for Bush’s murder spree?

Morrissey = BNP

Racist Morrissey

Morrissey is to sue the NME after it failed to apologise for an article focusing on his views on immigration. The magazine criticised the former Smiths star for allegedly telling a reporter Britain had lost its identity due to high levels of immigration.

The magazine quoted Morrissey allegedly saying: “Although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous.

“If you travel to Germany, it’s still absolutely Germany. If you travel to Sweden, it still has a Swedish identity.
(Source: BBC News)

Morrissey has been a racist for years. Anyone who writes something as moronically bigoted as:

“Life is hard enough when you belong here…”

is, to anyone with any common sense, obviously a racist. It’s the lyrical equivalent of ‘Pakis Out!’ scrawled on the wall outside my secondary school.

So, of course, he’s been dismissed and marginalised as the right-wing nutjob he so obviously is?

Nope.

Because, like Camus and Larkin, Morrissey is beloved by white, middle-class people. Whereas, middle-class white people don’t like Jim Davidson so they decry his racism and label him a buffoon.

But legions of miserabilist students have found themselves in the music of The Smiths and Morrissey. Therefore, they’ll forgive their idol anything.

Anything.

I’ve written about this before. Since it’s the white middle-classes who predominantly control the mass-media, they are the normalisers of the discourse.

And their friends are, of course, never racist!

Oh no – he’s writing from the perspective of a racist! You misunderstand, Mr. Brown Man getting stabbed by fascists, Morrissey is merely being playful! He’s exploring the imagery of the people who petrol-bombed you out of your home, who sent millions of Jews up the chimneys! But you probably don’t have the highly developed levels of postmodern appreciation and irony that we have, you don’t parse the subtle nuances of textual ambiguity that Morrissey dallies with. When Morrissey says:

“I really don’t think, for instance, black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other.”
(Source: Where Did It All Go Right)

he’s not being racist! Definitely not. Nope.

Stop. Think. Engage your brain.

If anyone else, anyone else, had made the above statements, would you think they were a racist? What Morrissey is saying is, essentially, the entire core program and selling point of the BNP. If Morrissey isn’t racist, then the BNP isn’t racist.

Even his statement attacking the NME is dripping with xenophobic ichor:

In a follow-up interview concerning his comments, the NME reported that Morrissey had said: “It could be construed that the reason I wouldn’t wish to live in England is the immigration explosion. And that’s not true at all.”
(Source: BBC News)

Notice how he slips in the BNP catchphrase ‘immigration explosion’ in the middle of trying to claim he’s not anti-immigrant? That’s fucking priceless!

Does his casual, lofty racism and inaccurate scaremongering remind you of anyone? How about:

“People fear rather being swamped by an alien culture.”
– Margaret Thatcher.

Oh yes, he’s in good company!

Morrissey started off as a wearer of highly rose-tinted spectacles before this disastrous drift into Little Englandism. He sang about an England, a Britain that didn’t exist in the ’80s and certainly never existed before. He created a parallel reality Britain, a Britain where Enoch had never invited all us troublesome darkies over to do the jobs the whites didn’t want to do, an England constructed entirely of saucy postcards and hows-your-father, where George Formby was Prime Minister and Tom Courtenay Chancellor. It was Morrisseyland! Cor blimey, guv’nor! Play the white man!

The most idiotic thing about racists and their criticism of “multiculturalism” is their absolute, abject ignorance about British history. Whether it’s been Jews or Huguenots, Bangladeshis or Poles, Britain has always been a nexus of cultures, a meeting of peoples. And that’s not even including being conquered by Swedes, Danes, Germans, French… I always found it strange when I was a teenager that the racists beating me up adorned themselves with swastikas, since swastika is a Sanskrit word. Apparently, they were fine with appropriating Indian religious iconography but not too keen on me living in the same town.

Morrissey’s idea of a “pure” Britishness would be laughable, quaint even, if it didn’t deliver kids directly into the welcoming arms of fascists like the BNP. I distinctly remember Morrissey fans in Derby, after all his National Front Disco shite, drifting towards the NF and other racist groups. He’d made those terms cool, trendy. He’d legitimated their putrid arguments. Oh yes, let’s all wrap ourselves in the Union flag, never mind that it’s the Butcher’s Apron, as ghastly and bloody as the Nazi flag.

Culture isn’t monolithic. There is no one, “true” British culture. Eight thousand years ago, there was no British channel, you could walk to France. If geography is that fluid, that ephemeral, how permanent is the culture of a nation? British culture flows and changes, everything is flux.

Of course, if you’re a Smiths or Morrissey fan, none of what I’ve said above will affect you. You’ll dismiss it all as “political correctness” or another touchy darkie. Maybe you’ll start to see Morrissey as a lone, sane voice, proclaiming the truth: Britain’s being swamped by foreigners, there is a pure and definable single British culture, fings ain’t wot they used ta be!

Because you love your führer… I understand that. He, alone, tells you the truth! He, alone, is un-afraid of the liberals, the communists, the blacks, the Jews, the Asians, and the white cultural-traitors: the mewling apologists for all that is wrong with the Fatherland!

Let’s make Britain pure again! Pure enough for Herr Morrissey’s return from his racially-pure exile in, er, LA! A thousand pearly kings and queens shall throw garlands throughout Pimlico, we shall expunge all degenerate cultures, all foreign muck! No more vile reggae or jungle-bunny music! We will clean this land and make Britain Great again!

Forward to the Fourth Reich of Morrissey! Heil Mozzer!

The Truth About “Free” Markets, Part 34,502

Price-fixing capitalists

Four of the world’s biggest glass manufacturers have been fined a total of 486.9m euros ($717.5m; £348.2m) for illegally co-ordinating price rises.
The firms are Guardian of the US, Pilkington, which is the UK unit of Nippon Sheet Glass, Saint-Gobain of France and Belgium’s Glaverbel.

The European Commission said the firms had raised or stabilised prices in 2004 and 2005 through illicit contacts.

Between them they control 80% of Europe’s market for flat glass.
(Source: BBC News)

Ahh, capitalism! The FREE MARKET! Surely the only logical, efficient way of running any modern industrial economy?

Demand and supply are in a perfect dance through the wondrous FREE MARKET and prices reflect this. The efficient producers charge less and therefore win the sales. Inefficient producers go out of business, buyers receive goods at low, low prices! Everyone’s happy!

Maybe, in cloud-fucking-cuckoo land, yep.

In the real world, capitalism is a rapacious, arrogant exercise in applied solipsism and mendacity. It fucks the world while stealing from both the pockets of the workers and the customers. The only people who win are the Rupert Murdochs of the world. There is no free market, that’s a fairy tale told to little Western children to divert them from the series of cartels, oligopolies and monopolies that run the world.

When you see stories like this, these aren’t the “bad apples” – these are the average apples. All of our world is run by businesses of this venality, of this illegality.

Capitalism is about as economically efficient as driving to the shops in an F1 car.

US Military Slaughters Iraqi Civilians

Fallujah Victims Of The US Invasion
Some happy, joyful Iraqis, liberated by the US military in Fallujah.

From the beginning of the American occupation in Iraq, air strikes and attacks by the U.S. military have only killed “militants,” “criminals,” “suspected insurgents,” “IED [Improvised Explosive Device] emplacers,” “anti-American fighters,” “terrorists,” “military age males,” “armed men,” “extremists,” or “al-Qaeda.”

The pattern for reporting on such attacks has remained the same from the early years of the occupation to today. Take a helicopter attack on October 23rd of this year near the village of Djila, north of Samarra. The U.S. military claimed it had killed 11 among “a group of men planting a roadside bomb.” Only later did a military spokesperson acknowledge that at least six of the dead were civilians. Local residents claimed that those killed were farmers, that there were children among them, and that the number of dead was greater than 11.
(Source: AlterNet)

Another excellent article from AlterNet, I suggest you read it all. Perhaps if more people read articles like these, they wouldn’t believe that the deaths in Iraq were mainly due to “sectarian clashes.”

Remember, car bombers are beginners at inflicting death and carnage compared to the US military.

White Town Facebook Page

White Town Facebook Page

As you may know, I’m not a fan of Rupert Murdoch. Therefore, I’m also not a fan of MySpace.

Imagine how happy I am that MySpace is currently being trounced by Facebook! Every person who defects from MySpace or, more importantly, stops directing people towards it prevents money going into Murdoch’s pocket.

And I don’t like what Murdoch does with his money and influence.

Basically, I’m in favour of anything that hurts Murdoch’s Evil Empire,

So far, the one big advantage MySpace has had is that it’s the first port of call for musicians. Name a band, google them and you can find their MySpace and listen to songs.

Now, Facebook has taken up the challenge and introduced Band Pages (as well as Pages for Actors, TV Shows, Brands..). Hopefully, this means there’s at least a choice if a band wants an instant website complete with songs, vids, discography etc.

I’ve just created a Facebook page for White Town. It’s a little bit superfluous since I have this site, all sparkly and spangly. But what the hell, it’s free and maybe it can be slightly more interactive than this site. And every time someone’s looking at my band Facebook page, they’re not looking at MySpace. 🙂

Click here to see for yourself!

Elenette

Elenette

I shall shortly be visiting making pilgrimage to the current home of indiepop, Sweden (well, it shares the title with Finland), so I thought I’d share yet another great Swedish pop band with you. And that band is Elenette.

When kalle berglund and mattias hagegård moved to sthlm the fall 2003, they both broke up from several old projects and wanted to start something new, based on drum-machine, bass and synthesizers. but not much happened, so kalle recorded his own demo instead with the same idea in mind. it was released under the name elenette in summer 2004, and was called “kärlekskomplex”. many people liked the sound so kalle started writing and recording a new ep. this was to be called “männen i mitt liv” and was released at elenettes first live-show ever in february 2005. the line-up was kalle solo, playing double synthesizers and singing.

(If you can read Swedish, have a look here.)

There are echoes of many great bands in Elenette: Pulp, Aha, The Specials. But, like all the best pop groups, they take those influences and twist them, making something unique and peculiarly their own. I love the combination of ’80s reverbiness, ’90s dry drum machines and timeless swinging guitars.

I was put onto Elenette by my friends Mattias and Tommy. Let’s face it, if these two pop pickers love a band, there’s a high probability they’re going to be wonderful. And, hullo! Elenette are.

They have everything that’s sorely missing from NME haircut indie: grace, humour, MELODIES and, most of all, they’re actually fun to listen to.

But don’t take my word for it. Check ’em out with some free mp3s they’ve stuck up:

Att göra en hit
Kärlekskomplexet
Jag hatar män
Kär (imaginär) pensionär

You can stream those or download them to listen to later.

I’d advise you to grab them now so you can be boastfully smug when the inevitable global chart domination of Elenette ensues. 😀

Elenette – the best a man can get? 😛

Derby Market Place Ice Rink

Today, Derby’s new ice rink on the Market Place opened! I spotted Bibi and Spalders skating around like loons so I asked if I could go into the tent bit to get some pics of them. I hadn’t actually realised one of the major sponsors was Creative Photos Ltd!

It was only after I got my snaps of Bibi and Matt that I worked out that I’d basically been really cheeky, since their business that day was making money out of taking people’s pics on the ice. So, thanks to Chris from Creative Photos who was very friendly and accommodating when he could, by all rights, told me to sling my hook.

I didn’t venture onto the ice, since I value my life. But looking at everyone skating / falling / colliding made me very envious.

Ahhh, to be young and thin… 🙂

Click here for a gallery of rinky pics!