So after last years exceptional 12 months for music, 2011 had a lot to live up to. Well iff the first quarter is to go by, it could be another impressive year for ‘rhythmic noises in some sort of formation’. Last year proved to be a sensational year for electronica while this year has seen as strong showing from the Punk genre. To bring up to speed on this year’s music news:
Glassjaw, Social Distortion and Rival Schools released their first studio LPs for a considerable time, James Blake’s much anticipated album proved to divide critics whist his contemporary Jamie XX’s collaboration with Gill Scott Heron was universally lauded, Radiohead realised an album literally out of the fucking blue, The Strokes returned with another album so effortlessly cool that it cemented their status as the indie the band of the 2000s, Indie rock still remains in the doldrums of miserable Joy Divison-lite imitations like White Lies and The Vaccines, Eisely and Tapes ‘n’ Tapes both quit their respective major labels after poor LPs to return to their independent distributors and released two quite frankly awesome albums, Burial’s new EP further conveys how he’s head shoudlers above anyone else in the Dubstep genre, whilst a solid LP from Sirusmo and having the best track on Boys Nozie’s latest LP states a strong case for him to be considered the best producer in Germany right now, and finally if anyone realeses a better album than Defeater’s ‘Endless Days and Sleepless Nights’ this year I’ll be very surprised.
Anyway, as we’re so nice here (and we really are lovely buggers), we produced our ‘top 40’ as a Spotify playlist. Not every track was on Spotify so it’s actually a top 30 playlist, but it’s still very good and we tried our best so STOP FUCKING COMPLAINING, ALRIGHT!
Anyway, dig in;
Top 40 tracks of 2011 (First Quarter)
1) Tim Hecker – In The Fog II [Ravedeath 1972]
2) James Blake – Unluck [James Blake]
3) Radiohead – Lotus Flower [King of Limbs]
4) Jamie XX & Gil Scott-Heron – Home [We’re New Here]
5) Eisley – Ambulance [The Valley]
6) The Joy Formidable – The Greatest Light is The Greatest Shade [The Big Roar]
7) Defeater – Warm Blood Rush [Endless Days & Sleepless Nights]
8) The Strokes – Under The Cover of Darkness [Angles]
9) Smith Westerns – Dye The Wool [Dye It Blonde]
10) …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – Weight of The Sun or The Post-Modern Prometheus [Tao Of The Dead]
11) Rise Against – Satellite
12) Burial – Street Halo [Street Halo EP]
13) Killing the Dream – Blame The Architechs [Lucky Me]
14) Caravels – Drea Beaver [Caravels EP]
15) Tapes ‘n’ Tapes – Badaboom [Outside]
16) Agnostic Front – City Streets [My Life, My Way]
17) Sirisumo – I Love My Voice [Boyz Noize Presents ‘Super Acid’]
18) Glassjaw – Jesus Glue [Our Colour Green EP]
19) Solar Bears – Primary Colours at The Back of my Mind [She Was Coloured In]
20) Gay For Johnny Depp – No, I’m Married to Jesus. Now Keep Your Fucking Hands Off of Him [What Doesn’t Kill You, Eventually Will Kill You]
21) Conquering Animal Sound – Flinch [Kammerspiel]
22) Esben and the Witch – Eumenides [Violet Cries]
23) Rival Schools – Wring It Out [Pedals]
24) PJ Harvey – The Last Living Rose [Let England Shake]
25) Social Distortion – Machien Gun Blues [Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes]
26) Etienne de Crecy – Funk [Bloody Beetroots: Best of Remixes]
27) Anna Calvi – Blackout [Anna Calvi]
28) Joyce Manor – Famous Friend [Joyce Manor]
29) Lykke Li – I Follow Rivers [Wounded Rhymes]
30) Siriusmo – Nights Out [Mosaik]
31) Dropkick Murphys – Going Out In Style [Going Out in Style]
32) La Sera – Left This World [La Sera]
33) Sea of Bees – Marmalade [Songs for The Ravens]
34) Nicolas Jarr – Space Is Only Noise if You Can See It [Space is Only Noise]
35) Stay Ahead of The Weather – Get Old or Die Tryin’ [We Better Get Goin’ if We’re Gonna]
36) Yuck – Get Away [Yuck]
37) Jesca Hoop – City Bird [Snowglobe EP]
38) Photek – Avalanche [Avalance EP]
39) Funeral For a Friend – Front Row Seats to the End of the World [Welcome Home Armageddon]
40) Seefeel - Airless [Seefeel]
Interview we did with Jesca Hoop. She was lovely. We asked humorous questions. She gave humorous answers. What more can you ask for?
Brought up in a Mormon household on folk music, Jesca Hoop’s musical tutelage began when she was a nanny for Tom Waits’ children. Waits described her music as “like going swimming in a lake at night.”. High praise indeed.
Following on from her recent EP ‘Snowglobe’ The Whiteboard Project felt it was essential to add her our growing list of photo-based interviews with the best bands/artists.
This is what has been making us at Lost in Transgressions towers laugh this week. Well, other than our AWESOME WRITING!!! erm, yeah….
3) The house that looks like Hitler!
According to the estate agent, the house has fantastic Lebensraum! (joke for all you German history students out there…)
2) Old school merking!
Because in the old days, when you wanted to properly diss someone, you did it with a certain degree more elan and panache than ‘you iz ghey, innit lolz!11!1!’
1) “Hey, awesome, my commemorative Royal Wedding mug has arrived…..
…..wait, hold on. Something’s not right…..”
Peridocials are a massive market, yet most of their content is the kind of acquired taste that the 4,000 television channels out there have deemed too niche a demographic to produce. So we’re talking about a special brand of odd. Most of the mainstream mags are like a lesson in stereotyping and sexism, with magazines aimed at blokes tending to be an amalgamation of tits, cars and more tits, whilst women’s ‘glossies’ are for the most part a mélange of haircuts, Topshop ads and methods for finding the perfect man. They really have honed in on society’s base instincts. The problem you have however is you need something to read for those long train journeys. You can’t buy a newspaper because the Daily Mail is the spawn of satan, The Telegraph employ Daniel Hannan and James Delingpole, The Sun is The Sun, The Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch and The Guardian don’t pay tax. So therefore you have to find a magazine where the content doesn’t make your brain hurt. So I decided to plump for ‘Practical Poultry’. It claims to be ‘The UK’s bestselling poultry magazine’, beating off stiff competition from, I dunno, Cockerel Digest? Turkey Monthly? Chicken Tonight? It’s basically a monthly press of all the latest tips and products to enter the sphere of chicken breeding. It’s, odd, to say the least. This edition includes a buying guide for the Sumatra, a type of Indonesian cockerel, saying what to look for when purchasing one. Now this is a vital guide because let me tell you, when buying cock, the last thing you want to do is get shafted. One tip is that ear lobes need to be as small as possible, which is probably why the ‘tunnels’ craze never really took off amongst the Indonesian Sumatra community. The guide states that the Sumatra is the ‘poultry equivalent of a luxury indulgence’, so it’s probably the sort of bird that the Duke of Edinburgh eats every Sunday. Then he goes and does other posh stuff, probably. Like, light a Cuban cigar with a tenner. And kick a homeless person. Bloody posh people… Practical poultry also runs a Q and A section, which is a bit like Dear Deirdre but for problems with a misbehaving cock. So exactly like Dear Deirdre then, I guess. One reader has a problem with his Polish bantam (I wonder how much one of those weighs?) being noisy. I should add, a polish bantam looks exactly like a drably coloured feather duster. Eerily similar. The reader is told that all chickens are noisy, and maybe let it live in the house. Joined up thinking or what! The gallery section sees readers send pictures of their birds into the magazine (no, not those sort of ‘birds’. This isn’t Readers Wives). Now, most of the pictures display the owner’s children with their poultry, you know, because it’s all nice and not remotely trite. Some nutters however like to be a bit inventive in this section, including one picture someone sent in of an egg their hen laid. Just a photo of an egg. That someone sent to a magazine. Worrying. Slightly more worrying though was Joely Pentlow, who sent in a snap of her chicken reading a newspaper. Now I have an issue with this. The humanisation of animals is a slippery slope; it starts as a few funny pictures people take and send to publications, and it escalates into bestiality scandals. I’ve seen the big eared boys on farms. One person who agrees with me is Sue Thomas, who in her letter ‘Santa Shocker’ was very annoyed by people dressing up their pets; I see no harm in encouraging children to keep poultry. However, I do draw the line when a reputable magazine such as this one publishes a photograph of a chicken dressed up in a Santa suit. You see. This is what happens. It’s all fun and games until your chicken is getting employed by the local shopping centre and forced to listen to god-awful children harp on about which set of Meccano they want this year (Meccano is still in fashion, right?). One edition not enough? Well you can order back copies of Practical Poultry at the prize of just 4 English pounds! And with such raunchy back-titles as ‘Wet Hens’, it really sells itself. Naturally with a magazine of this nature, it goes fucking weird, including one column devoted to a talking chicken called Gertrude McCluck. In her column ‘Chicken in Charge’ she address other chickens (or as she refers to them, her ‘Poultry Pals’). Ok, this just moved into Ed Guin territory. Now that my shanks have thawed from the cold, damp winter, I’m looking forward to running my toes over green grass and munching some fresh bugs again. Christ, there’s porn that’s less graphic than that. As with any slightly odd magazine, the greatest parts to it tend to be the adverts near the back. After all, if you’re mental enough to buy this, what other bonkers stuff would you purchase? Some of the highlights include Beryl’s Friendly Bacteria (with the tagline ‘She’s a wise old bird!’) and Chris Ashton’s book Domestic Geese. Chris himself says that; If you’re a Geese enthusiast [seek medical help?], then you might be interested to learn that there’s now a revised, paperback edition of Domestic Geese! You might well be, geese fans. You might well be. Well Practical Poultry was quite a read. Full of tips for breeding poultry and an endless amount of opportunity for cock related crude humour and puns. But if poultry isn’t your thing, you can also purchase the sister publication ‘Practical Pigs’! The essential guide for keeping and rearing pigs! This week it has a spread about Oxford Sandy’s, which are ‘a brilliant first-timer pig!’ Or you could not. Up to you, really.
Peridocials are a massive market, yet most of their content is the kind of acquired taste that the 4,000 television channels out there have deemed too niche a demographic to produce. So we’re talking about a special brand of odd. Most of the mainstream mags are like a lesson in stereotyping and sexism, with magazines aimed at blokes tending to be an amalgamation of tits, cars and more tits, whilst women’s ‘glossies’ are for the most part a mélange of haircuts, Topshop ads and methods for finding the perfect man. They really have honed in on society’s base instincts. The problem you have however is you need something to read for those long train journeys. You can’t buy a newspaper because the Daily Mail is the spawn of satan, The Telegraph employ Daniel Hannan and James Delingpole, The Sun is The Sun, The Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch and The Guardian don’t pay tax. So therefore you have to find a magazine where the content doesn’t make your brain hurt. So I decided to plump for ‘Practical Poultry’.
It claims to be ‘The UK’s bestselling poultry magazine’, beating off stiff competition from, I dunno, Cockerel Digest? Turkey Monthly? Chicken Tonight? It’s basically a monthly press of all the latest tips and products to enter the sphere of chicken breeding. It’s, odd, to say the least.
This edition includes a buying guide for the Sumatra, a type of Indonesian cockerel, saying what to look for when purchasing one. Now this is a vital guide because let me tell you, when buying cock, the last thing you want to do is get shafted. One tip is that ear lobes need to be as small as possible, which is probably why the ‘tunnels’ craze never really took off amongst the Indonesian Sumatra community. The guide states that the Sumatra is the ‘poultry equivalent of a luxury indulgence’, so it’s probably the sort of bird that the Duke of Edinburgh eats every Sunday. Then he goes and does other posh stuff, probably. Like, light a Cuban cigar with a tenner. And kick a homeless person. Bloody posh people…
Practical poultry also runs a Q and A section, which is a bit like Dear Deirdre but for problems with a misbehaving cock. So exactly like Dear Deirdre then, I guess. One reader has a problem with his Polish bantam (I wonder how much one of those weighs?) being noisy. I should add, a polish bantam looks exactly like a drably coloured feather duster. Eerily similar. The reader is told that all chickens are noisy, and maybe let it live in the house. Joined up thinking or what!
The gallery section sees readers send pictures of their birds into the magazine (no, not those sort of ‘birds’. This isn’t Readers Wives). Now, most of the pictures display the owner’s children with their poultry, you know, because it’s all nice and not remotely trite. Some nutters however like to be a bit inventive in this section, including one picture someone sent in of an egg their hen laid. Just a photo of an egg. That someone sent to a magazine. Worrying. Slightly more worrying though was Joely Pentlow, who sent in a snap of her chicken reading a newspaper. Now I have an issue with this. The humanisation of animals is a slippery slope; it starts as a few funny pictures people take and send to publications, and it escalates into bestiality scandals. I’ve seen the big eared boys on farms. One person who agrees with me is Sue Thomas, who in her letter ‘Santa Shocker’ was very annoyed by people dressing up their pets;
I see no harm in encouraging children to keep poultry. However, I do draw the line when a reputable magazine such as this one publishes a photograph of a chicken dressed up in a Santa suit.
You see. This is what happens. It’s all fun and games until your chicken is getting employed by the local shopping centre and forced to listen to god-awful children harp on about which set of Meccano they want this year (Meccano is still in fashion, right?).
One edition not enough? Well you can order back copies of Practical Poultry at the prize of just 4 English pounds! And with such raunchy back-titles as ‘Wet Hens’, it really sells itself.
Naturally with a magazine of this nature, it goes fucking weird, including one column devoted to a talking chicken called Gertrude McCluck. In her column ‘Chicken in Charge’ she address other chickens (or as she refers to them, her ‘Poultry Pals’). Ok, this just moved into Ed Guin territory.
Now that my shanks have thawed from the cold, damp winter, I’m looking forward to running my toes over green grass and munching some fresh bugs again.
Christ, there’s porn that’s less graphic than that.
As with any slightly odd magazine, the greatest parts to it tend to be the adverts near the back. After all, if you’re mental enough to buy this, what other bonkers stuff would you purchase? Some of the highlights include Beryl’s Friendly Bacteria (with the tagline ‘She’s a wise old bird!’) and Chris Ashton’s book Domestic Geese. Chris himself says that;
If you’re a Geese enthusiast [seek medical help?], then you might be interested to learn that there’s now a revised, paperback edition of Domestic Geese!
You might well be, geese fans. You might well be.
Well Practical Poultry was quite a read. Full of tips for breeding poultry and an endless amount of opportunity for cock related crude humour and puns. But if poultry isn’t your thing, you can also purchase the sister publication ‘Practical Pigs’! The essential guide for keeping and rearing pigs! This week it has a spread about Oxford Sandy’s, which are ‘a brilliant first-timer pig!’
Or you could not. Up to you, really.
(visit us at Shoutingatco.ws. Because we both know it’s better than doing work. Unless your job is like, boob inspector, or something.)
As a child growing up in the 90s, there were a few staples of the TV diet; Noel Edmonds’ gunk tank, Pat Sharp’s haircut and Neil Buchanan’s giant pencil (that isn’t a euphemism). Neil was praised almost universally as being a generally talent TV presence, unlike Sharp, who most felt owed his entire career to the aforementioned mullet. I mean, it was beyond parody by the end. Who remembers his stellar work on Funhouse? Or You Bet? Or on Top of The Pops? Nope, no one. All they remember is that barnet. He had a haircut towards the end of his spell on Funhouse, and hasn’t presented a TV series since. That was ELEVEN YEARS AGO! Tried to go solo and his career on TV fizzled out. He really is the Andrew Ridgley of hair related break-ups.
Before his TV career, Neil was a guitarist for the band Marseille, a – I shit you not – new-wave heavy metal band. That one off Art Attack? In a heavy metal band? I’m just surprised that after Neil’s success on the box, TV fat-cats didn’t try and get more metal icons on our screens. Why not Rob Halford from Judas Priest presenting ‘Get Your own Back’, or Ozzy Osbourne doing the ‘Really Wild Show’ (actually, that last one probably isn’t it a great idea, all things considered….). Here’s Neil’s take on his musical career;
“Before I appeared on television, I was in a rock band called Marseille. We made two albums and five or six singles, on vinyl, so you can tell how long ago it was!”, he explains. “Mums and Dads might remember the band – or even have the songs somewhere!”
Regardless of age, Neil, no-one would admit in public to knowing the musical stylings of Neil Buchanan’s Marseillie. Once Marseille’s career displayed all the residence and grit of the French armed forces, Neil scarpered to ITV, where he presented Art Attack; which was essentially Tony Hart’s Take Hart but for a younger crowd, low on concentration but high on E numbers. But Neil; why art?
“I’ve enjoyed art since I was very young. One day I thought that I’d make quite a good artist, so I enrolled at Liverpool Art College. They told me that they thought I wasn’t good enough, so I walked out and have never looked back”,
I think this is more of an explanation why he didn’t become a novelist.
- Pat Sharp. Hairless. Jobless.
Described by Neil Himself as a show that would “give your eyeballs a shock” (a bit like strobe lighting, or LSD), Art Attack was an amalgamation of paintings and big art projects, where Neil would lay washing and old bits of wood on the ground in odd formations, that from a ground perspective looked like the aftermath of the Strangeways Prison Riot, but once finished his mate overhead in a helicopter would show that from the right aerial angle, it actually looked like the Mona Lisa, but constructed out of an old bike, bed-sheets and unsold copies of Richard Littlejohn’s ‘The Essex Girl Joke Book’. It really was impressive, if largely pointless.
I personally wonder how he pitched this show to TV execs;
Neil: I have an idea for an art show, aimed at children.
Exec: Right, so what sort of budget would we talking about?
Neil: Ah, not loads, non-descript studio with a few oversized items of stationary in it. Oh, but I’ll need a helicopter.
Exec: A helicopter?
Neil: Yeah, to take aerial shots of my pieces.
Neil: And I’ll also require props.
Neil: Yeah, to do my art with. Paintbrushes are a bit cliché these days.
Exec: So what sort of props are we talking about?
Neil: Ah, the usual stuff. Disused washing machines. Old bits of guttering. Perhaps one of the members of 5ive.
Neil: Well, in the right light you can see the top two I suppose.
Exec:……We’ll think about it…
And think about it they did, commissioning a show that lasted for 17 years. Wowzers!
Other than the big art projects, other sections included Plop Art (where egg shells full of paint were dropped onto paper), Lolly Lettering (Using Lolly sticks for calligraphy) and Fantasy Castle (where model castles were made out of paper mache). Imagine the artistic methods of Jackson Pollack, but using items from a local Safeway.
Now for most, just having Art Attack on your CV would allow them to retire happy. But not Big Neil, oh no. Buchanan’s other big TV hit, was Finders Keepers – a show when contestants had to trash houses in search of points and prizes. Now let me just quantify something; there were a few things I wanted to do when I was younger. One was score a Scholes-esq dipping volley for Aston Villa, the other was to kiss a member of the Saved by The Bell cast (the female members, mind. Though I would have found it hard to turn down Zack if he asked nicely), but the chance to go on Finders Keepers and trash a house – and be given prizes for doing it! – is something that a hyper-active boy like me would have given anything to do.
It was like legitimate destruction. It was ace. Other than the prizes, you could also win a holiday if you raided the room with Jeremy’s Joker in. This show illustrated how broad Neil’s presenting talents were; not only could he host a quaint, educational show that encourages children to be artistic and take up hobbies, but could also host a show where kids neck a bottle of limeade and vandalise a house in search of a week’s stay half-board in Malta. The man’s middle name was range! Neil left the show in 1996 after 5 years, and without the Buchanan magic it died on its arse, and was cancelled that year. It was brought back 10 years later, only this time hosted by charisma vacuum and profession ‘ex-husband of Jade Goody’ Jeff Brazier. It didn’t last long, quite obviously.
I should add at this stage that according to IMDB, Neil also presented 150 episodes across 4 years of a show called ‘Motormouth’ with Gabby Roslin. Now I’ve never heard of this. So for arguments sake, I’m going to pretend it never existed…
After Neil bowed out from TV, I like everyone else thought he had fallen into a depraved, vicious circle of sex, drugs and abstract art that are the pitfalls of his particular brand of fame. I thought the next time I’d see him on the news would be when his body was found on a strip-club floor, after he’d ingested a vicious cocktail of vodka, heroin and, I dunno, poster paint, or something. Not so, turns out he sold the concept of Art Attack for A STAGGERING £14 MILLION! £14m? £14m!? Now, a) What is Neil Buchanan going to do with £14 million? And b) It was hardly a ground-breaking concept. Just raid a nearby skip for props and buy a novelty sized paintbrush from a fancy dress shop. There’s your winning concept right there, you can have that for free (million. You can have that for 3 million). Following this, Neil reformed his band Marseille! Hooray……..right? They released their 10th recording ‘Unfinished Business’ last year, including such tracks as ‘Wanna Get High’, ‘In For The Kill’ and ‘Everyone Dies Young’. Well Marseille may lament that everyone dies young, but thankfully for us, Neil didn’t.
Neil Buchanan; a true screen gem.
(All photos on this page were taken by myself)
I, like 400,000 other people (well, reportedly 500,000. I didn’t count them personally. Would have been troublesome to say the least), was at the March 26th anti-government cuts demonstration. As with every demonstration since the Coalition took power, the peaceful and civilised demonstrators took a back seat as the various media-outlets had a collective wank-a-thon over some dip-shit chucking a bin through the Ritz’s front window, in what was a very poignant, almost artistic display where he combined two Capitalistic oppressors of modern Britain; some fucking tea-shop in the west end and waste disposal. LIBERATE OUR TRASH! OUR TRASH DESERVES FREEDOM! Etc. It was also worth adding that a branch of the Santander bank was trashed by vandals, despite Santander not claiming a single penny in government bailouts. What I’m trying to get across, is that we’re not exactly dealing with the ‘Brains of Britain’ here.
Ignoring the ‘anarchists’ for a second (Should add, we all know that anarchists believe in private property, and don’t believe in taxation or government, yeah? God knows what they were doing with the anti-cut march, then. But I suppose I did learn about anarchism from George Orwell, not Johnny ‘Country Life Butter’ Rotten), the TUC led demonstration from Blackfriars to Hyde Park was beautifully behaved with different groups from all over the country. Here are some piss-poor snaps what I did take, innit:
Mario Testino-esq, I think you’ll agree.
The speakers in Hyde Park were also fantastic, including the head of disabled rights union, the post office union, a speaker for minority women and a TU head from Wisconsin, who have been experiencing a similar, if not far more serious, anti-government cut movement.
Not that you would know about that though, all you will have heard about in the news is SAAM GEEZAARZS OOH WAN’ED A RAAAGGHHHTTT TEAR UP (Look, I can’t do cockney. I’ve tried, it doesn’t work)! A lot has been made on why certain targets were chosen by the protesters, and who was responsible for what. From a vandalism perspective, most of the carnage has been associated to Black Bloc; a group who use aggressive forms of protest in demonstrations. Not much is know about them, and as far as I can tell their leader is an Italian by the name of Alessio Lunghi, who according to this article in This is London, is a middle-class, University drop-out. Sifting through what is and isn’t true from reports of the protests can be problematic though, with police claiming that Black Bloc protestors brought ammonia filled light-blubs to the demonstration, whilst one protestor claimed that a undercover Sky News reporter offered him £25 to throw a brick through the windows of the Ritz. I suppose until more evidence is uncovered, it’s up to you to believe what you want to believe.
The two things I drew from the rally was the Labour hypocrisy espoused by some, and also the questionable tactics and targeting of UK Uncut (a non-violent, anti-cut movement who organised the sit in at Fortnum & Masons). Ed Miliband wasted no-time whatsoever to try and hijack the march for his own political ends, delivering a speech at Hyde Park which invoked the suffragettes, the US civil rights movement and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. The man literally has no shame. Ed Miliband’s close ties with the Trade Unions (with many of the belief that it’s these close ties as to the reason he won Labour leadership in the first place) meant that he was always going to receive the ‘one of us’ camaraderie by the TUC, and I’m not surprised he was invited to speak. But would things really be so much different if Labour were in charge? The pre-election cuts proposed by Alistair Darling were £73bn; only £8bn less than the Conservatives proposed (£81bn). And whatsmore, where were the protests when Labour received donations from millionaire businessmen? Where were the marches when the NHS under Labour were undergoing billion-pound privatisation? Where were the marches when NHS waiting times were rising under labour? The whole march did have a real anti-Conservative element, which is wrong. It should have been an anti-cut movement. Both parties said they would cut heavily, so why should Labour deserve any credit just because they’re in opposition? It turns a public message against cuts into mere party-politics, and makes the event lose its meaning.
The other topic which raised a lot of concern was the tactics used by the aforementioned Ukuncut. Fortnum & Mason was an odd target many felt, as Fortnum & Mason are part owned by Garfield Weston Foundations, one of the largest grant-giving trusts in the UK. Basically, Fortnum & Mason are owned by Wittingdon Investments limited. Wittington Investments limited are 79.2% owned by the Garfield West Foundation. Wittingdon Investments own 54% of Associated British Foods, who own, amongst a small amalgamation of firms, Primark. Last year, Associated British Foods avoided £40M in Tax. Tenuous link, to say the least. The protest itself was a very civil sit-in in where, as far as reports go, nothing was stolen or trashed.
Here’s my problem with the sit-in; it comes back to this idea of whether this move was anti-cuts or anti-Conservative. Members of the Garfield Weston Foundation last year ‘were told they breached charity law over donations of almost £1 million to the Conservative Party’. Donations to the Conservatives and tax avoidance; they were fucked, basically. The thing is, £40M is A LOT of money. But £60M is more. A lot more. And it is also incidentally the amount that The Guardian avoided in tax last year on the Guardian Media Group’s £300M sale of Auto-Trader. £60m; think of how many teachers and nurses that could employ. Why were there no protests outside Guardian HQ? Why not? Is it because they claim to be a bit left-wing? Trade Unions donated £2m to the labour party last year. Why did no one protest at them?
My other issue with the UK uncut protests, were why they had to run what was literally a rival protest to the TUC march. As good intentioned as their sit-in may have been, they must have known that the media attention would have been on that, rather than the 400,000 marchers in Hyde Park and Embankment. If the word of the day was ‘solidarity’, then why didn’t they have solidarity with the march, rather than trying to make themselves the story? They couldn’t have occupied F&M on, say, any other day that year?
The general sentiment I gained from the day was that it swiftly turned from anti-cuts to anti-Conservatives. I’ll be honest, I dislike both Condems and Labour, and they have given me no reason not to. Labour are just opportunists with short memory, the liberals are lying turncoats, and the Conservatives are, well, Conservatives. The issue with the protest was that it had no direction. There was no common theme, it was a bit all over the place. When I was sitting in Hyde Park at the end of the day, I started to mull over what the impact of it would have been. The march was great, behaved, and the speakers in Hyde Park were ace and spoke with real passion. But you have to wonder, what’s the point? Why would the government give a fuck? Few hundred thousand people descend on London for 4-5 hours then go home. No different to when the football is on. The message was great but it was too short and small to make anyone in power care, and the only thing the media will run is some dick setting fire to a wheelie bin. And how can the people exercise their democratic right to do something about it? Vote in the other party who promised to do almost exactly the same thing? There were a lot of positive things on show, but the legacy of the march may be nothing more than a day out in London. I feel that the cuts are too deep, too quick, and refute the rate at which the Conservatives feel the deficit needs to be paid off. Hopefully, the detrimental effects of the cuts will continue to be promoted, and alerting the public to the problems of such searing cuts and their alternatives can be the lasting effect of the march.
(Article’s Short URL - http://gourl.gr/gln)
Oh hello, is that a music review? I think it is!
My words on the quite appalling new ‘Beady Eye’ single.
Release: 2nd May
Why does Liam Gallagher keep making music? Please, someone tell me. Surely it can’t be due to his love for the medium, because he’s been releasing the same Beatles-lite rubbish for the last near 20 years. I’m not saying that every band has to be Aphex Twin, but consider the contrasting trajectories of Oasis and their Brit-Pop rivals Blur; one went on to release a string of progressive and interesting albums, with his opposite vocalist then going on to form Grammy Award winning musical projects (The Gorillaz) and concept-album releasing super-group (The Good, The Bad and The Queen), whereas the other re-released Defiantly Maybe 8 times with a different cover, then went on to form Beatles tribute act Beady Eye.
Now, it’s not overemphasis to continually compare them to the scouse-rockers; they do it themselves. The Album Different Gear; Still Speeding is just The Beatles’ Rubber Soul, but, you know, nowhere near as good. And I’m not just referring to the music; the covers of Rubber Soul and 1st single Bring the Light are also exactly the same. It’s beyond a joke. Millionaire has all the components; all the Hindu inspiration is there, from sitar to psychedelic rhythm section. There really is nothing to write about it, it’s all been said before. The best thing one can say about this song is that there have been worse singles released this year. Sorry, let me rephrase. There has beena worse single released this year.
Is that time of year again; THE BUDGET! YAAAAAY….erm….right? Yes it’s the speech where the Chancellor sets out the economic principles for the forthcoming 12 months, which as always descents swiftly into a mire of sound-bytes, arbitrary numbers and hyperbole, which by the end leaves you wondering why you’d even bothered listening in the first place. Osbourne had his ‘turn the bull loose!’ moment when he declared that ‘Britain is open for business!’, which naturally meant fuck all as even the premise that Britain was closed for business at any point is just absurd.
The big story from this year’s budget was that Osbourne had SLASHED petrol by 1p. Yeah, he CHOPPED petrol by 1p. He SLIT THE THROAT of petrol by 1p (that last one was probably a bit strong). The papers naturally bent the specifics of the story to fit their prerogative, with those on the right claiming that Osbourne had saved the country from imminent death and destruction, and those on the left claiming that Osbourne’s budget was so out of line that he may as well of crept into your bedroom at night and given you a papercut with it. And The Mail just moaned regardless of the outcome because, you know, that’s what The Mail does.
The Guardian led with the petrol story, where they used the word ‘lopped’ to describe the reduction in price by a penny. Did anyone guess lopped?
Doing the round of broadcast interviews following Wednesday’s announcement, he told ITV’s Daybreak: “We will be watching like a hawk to make sure that motorists get the benefit of the budget changes and make sure that there’s no funny business.”
“I’m not pretending that this is going to transform the situation over night for families who are feeling the squeeze, but it helps.”
Now what annoys me about this statement is that Osbourne knows that a penny is literally a token gesture, yet he is running with it like he’s some sort of caped crusader, fighting off evil corporations with his petrol pump of justice. ‘Yeah it’s only a penny but it’s YOUR penny. And I will protect it!’.
The Sun essentially claimed responsibility for the 1p reduction, stating that it was the Sun’s demand to give motorists a break – and George agrees!
He said last night: “I couldn’t let Sun readers down - I hope it helps.”
Let them down, George. Let them down. People who read the Sun are idiots and deserved to be punished.
The Sun clarified reason why motorists should be delighted with the change in legislation;
The Chancellor CHOPPED an immediate penny off fuel duty from 6pm last night. He SCRAPPED an inflation-linked 5p price hike due on April 1.
He TORE UP Labour’s hated fuel tax escalator - which would have led to annual rises at the rate of inflation plus 1p.
Instead duty will go up in January, but only by the rate of inflation.
His package means that from next month prices at the pumps will be 6p a litre lower than they would have been.
So he has CHOPPED prices by 1p, but SCRAPPED and TORE UP (I quite enjoy this ‘writing in caps lock’ stuff) the fuel tax escalator, meaning that though it has only gone down by a penny, due to a price freeze it will be 6p lower than it would have been. So motorists have, in a convoluted way, saved 6p a litre on petrol. Fuck me, I’ve never put this much effort into something amounting to 6p. I’ve nicked penny chews as a kid which required less brain-power than this.
So that’s petrol sorted, but what about the rest of the budget?
The Telegraph produced a very lovely winners and losers piece (complete with gratuitous pictures of happy and sad Mr.Men – just in case any of you dribbling plebs couldn’t work out what a winner and a loser was). In the winners section was first time home buyers (£250m of aid made available to people looking to get on the housing ladder, by the government subsidising deposits on new-build housing), low earners (amount that people can earn free of tax will rise by £630 to £8,105 – though still short of the £10,000 figure promised by the Lib Dems pre-election. Cue jokes about Lib Dems and keeping manifesto promises) and Travellers (freeze on air passenger duty). Good news for all you low-earning travellers, looking to get on the property ladder. But wait, if I’m travelling, how can I buy a house? Also, if I’m a low earner, how can I do either of those things? But if I buy a house…
As far as the losers go, according to The Telegraph, they include Pensioners (changing levels of taxation on low earners doesn’t affect them, and higher levels of inflation than expected will significantly reduce their pensions in real money terms), high earners (50p tax rate on salaries over £150,000, removal of personal allowance on incomes over £115,000 and the tightening of tax loopholes), public sector workers (1% increase in national insurance contributions, 3% increase in pension payments and a later retirement age) and smokers and drinkers (but then they always get spanked by the exchequer. You knew this. Our country is built on the expenditure of weezy buggers and drunks).
The Independent derided the budget as nothing more than spin. They cited it as just broken promises and delay tactics. Despite Cameron’s promise “I’ll cut the deficit – not the NHS”, The Independent stated that;
“In terms of the Government’s pledge to grow NHS spending in real terms year-on-year, this will now be only barely true between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
If 2010-11 spending had not turned out less than planned, there would have been a small real cut in 2011-12.
The Government is sailing perilously close to the wind with respect to honouring this particular pledge.”
And it’s not just the NHS where the Government is on shaky ground, even the chop on petrol prices is being questioned. But wait, what about my 6p?! WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE 6p!?
Labour pointed out that next month’s rise had merely been postponed. Duty will rise in January and August next year, by about 3p on each occasion.
So they haven’t actually cancelled the price increase, they’ve just postponed it? Oh you horrible bastards. So your 6p saving will become a 3p saving next year, but it’s not actually a saving, as it’s only a speculative saving compared against how much you would have paid had the ‘tax escalator’ not been removed by the Conservative party, only to be re-instated later at reduced rate? So in a sense, the Conservatives have ACTUALLY PUT THE PRICE OF PETROL UP? You know what? I’ll catch the tube.
The other major concern espoused by The Independent, was that speculative economic growth was cut for the third time from initial expectation, down now from 2.1% to 1.7%.
The Office for Budget Responsibility said it lacked the evidence to say whether the Plan for Growth, which accompanied the Budget, would lift the UK’s longer-term rate of growth.
It said there was very little the plan could do to improve growth in the short term but that relaxation of planning rules might help in future.
The issue is that a slower rate of economic growth effects job creation, tax revenue and all figures associated with the budget, making the whole process pretty futile if the targets continue to be reassessed so WHAT’S THE POINT ANYWAY?! I would drink to ease the pain, but it’s too fucking expensive these days.
You wouldn’t have found these fears in The Express though, because in their opinion Osbourne is apparently the second coming of Jesus, and his rather dour and uninspiring budget was actually the only thing that has saved the population from a downward spiral into addiction, poverty and death.
GEORGE Osborne last night gave Britain hope that better times lie ahead for all with a “Budget for growth” that slashed fuel duty and cut income tax for millions.
Well, he postponed fuel duty for a year, and lifted the tax rate for a small percentage of the country. But I suppose you could describe that as slashed and cut…
To pay for the package of help for families, businesses and motorists, the Chancellor slapped a £2billion tax rise on the profits of North Sea oil companies.
But then he also,
Cut corporation tax by two per cent from April, along with a host of incentives for firms, which were welcomed by business leaders last night.
So we like it when he taxes corporations, but we also like it when he gives them tax cuts? Jesus, The Express’ rhetoric is about as predictable as a jelly on a Bouncy Castle.
Far more generous than expected, the fuel duty cut was a victory for the Daily Express’s Fair Fuel crusade.
But I thought he did it for The Sun readers? Oh George, you really are a filthy harlot sometimes.
Still confused about the budget? With most of the Daily Mail’s readership being knuckle-dragging lunatics, they described the budget – in picture form!
Say what you want about the Mail, but they know their demographic.
So what have we learnt about this year’s budget? Well; drivers, first time buyers, travellers and low earners should be better off, and the lower fuel prices should have a knock on effect to other areas. Though this may be all bollocks as petrol prices have only fractionally gone down and will reportedly go up next year as planned. High earners, pensions and civil servants will now feel the squeeze, whilst the NHS may also face cuts. Tax increases on oil profits should cover the loss from other sectors, but then tax cuts to corporation leaves us wondering who will make up for this drop in revenue, whilst smoking will now kill you financially, as well as medically. Oh and this stuff may all be irrelevant as if economic growth keeps going the way it is we may have an emergency budget at some point which overrides this one, and we’ll be fucked anyhow.
HERE’S TO ANOTHER GREAT YEAR!
As a man, I know nothing about women. Men in general have an intrinsic ability to do or say the wrong thing at the wrong time with an eerie sense of regularity. Whether it’s builders telling a passing woman to ‘show us your tits!’; a 16 year old emo carving the name of his desired mate into his arm with a compass; the hipster berk writing a sycophantic, mawkish poem for his sought beau or the toff stock-broker who thinks the way to a woman’s heart is by constructing a condom out of £50 notes, men haven’t got a fucking clue what they’re doing. This leads me to believe that the only way men get dates with women is through pity or by winning them in a raffle. Luckily for us, Shortlist magazine is on hand to show us a fool proof way to convince da ladyez that you’re an upstanding member of society.
Shortlist magazine, which claim to be Europe’s Largest Upmarket Men’s Magazine (I have no idea if it is. It’s given out free in my gym. If I can bothered to lean down a pick it up, it makes its way to my house) have constructed a study where they dispel common myths about what women want in a man, and what the ideal type is for women. To achieve this, they’ve spoken to a rabble of various different girls.
Girl number 1 is the lovely Amy Brateley who states that manic gym-going and grooming makes her uncomfortable. Cripes!
Gleefully eyeing the spa voucher sticking out of my boyfriend’s wallet, I clapped my hands together. “How lovely! Is that for me?”
“It’s for me” he said. “I’ve booked myself a pamper day. I’m going to have a herbal wrap.”
Amy’s brief fling with a closet homosexual/man with most feeble attempt to hide an affair in Britain has put her off pruning males. Her friend feels the same.
“I caught him staring at his six-pack during sex” My friend Rachel told me. “I felt like a rowing machine.”
Or a bike?
Kate Bussmann claims that women are deeply suspicious of men who don’t like sport.
‘It’s just plain weird. And as a result, we start to get suspicious. Did you suffer childhood trauma by being picked last at school?’
Yes, in the eyes of Kate, men who don’t like sport must have suffered some form of Trauma. You know, because it’s not normally. Unlike, say, Top Gear. Top Gear is normal. Men (and people post-lobotomy) should watch that.
‘What, if not sports, do you talk about with other men?’
My brother hates sport, and he claims that when he talks with men of a similar ilk, they simply bang their heads on a nearby wall/table until they are rendered unconscious. You know, because what else are they gonna do? They have fuck all to talk about.
Sali Hughes, 35, (who doesn’t look a day over 22, I may add) claims that she’d much rather date a funny man than rich man. And Sali should know about ideals, she has extensively researched a wide category of men.
I’ve slept with handsome men (a top model and a couple of celebs among them), downright plain men and even a man with one ball, three nipples and a monobrow.
Conclusive research, you must admit.
‘You have to be able to sit in front of the telly and take the piss until Countryfile is the funniest programme I’ve seen in weeks.’
Wait, so she wants someone who’ll spout irrelevant and sneering witticisms about rubbish TV? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE!? I also have the regulation number of testicles, eyebrows and nipples (all 2, if you’re interested). We’d be a great match.
Terri White, 31, likes her men to be tough. Grrrr.
‘A straight talking, whisky drinking, suit wearing, traditional chap who’ll grunt his displeasure…men should feel free to be men. Tough, strong and solid as a rock’.
See for me, this description sounds too overtly macho. Like Village People macho. Which, if we’re trying to steer away from health spas and towards football, is probably a bit self-defeating.
Final female-pro is the evergreen Bibi Lynch, 45 years young and of the opinion that it’s women themselves that are ‘commitment phobes’. Yeah, it’s the women that don’t want to commit, not the men. Well this just keeps getting better!
‘Women will say that we don’t want to commit because we like our lives as they are. We enjoy our independence, we want to hold out for a younger prettier model.’
That says one word to me; cougar. And for a man half of Bibi’s age, that’s a definite bonus.
So according to Shortlist’s study, women’s ideal male form is of a slobbish guy who loves watching football, having banter, and is an emotional void who isn’t bothered about commitment. Now call me sceptical, but I find it interesting that a study done by ‘Europe’s Largest Upmarket Men’s Magazine’ ends with a conclusion that the stereotypical ‘man’s man’ will get all the chicks. I’m surprised they didn’t tag an extra simpering gal on at the end, who claims that ‘we just love a man that lets us cook and clean for him!’
So after studying this article, I’m no more clued up on what woman want. Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and go on Take Me Out. All they want is a foppish berk in garish boots and a Topman Clubcard. Piece. Of. Piss.
(For more, visit us at shoutingatco.ws. or on Twitter @BryansBryans and @shoutsatcows for lolz compressed into 140 characters).
Here at Shouting at Cows we’re seemingly waging a war against daughters of the affluent. Following of from articles on Georgina Littlejohn, Peaches Geldof and the prevalence of nepotism itself within the media, the latest daughter to come under the scrutiny of our cross hairs of justice is Keith Allen’s daughter, Lily Allen. Now this means one of two things; either that we at fort Shouting at Cows are Trotskyite class warriors, or we’re massive sexists. You decide.
Lily Allen is a slightly different case, because a large percentage of the country thinks she is a genuinely talented singer/songwriter. The premise of her new show is that she’s had enough of singing, and wants to open a vintage clothes shop in London with her sister. Which may I say is an inspired idea; London definitely doesn’t have enough vintage clothes shops. This is going to revolutionise the capitol. It will be like bendy buses all over again, but with more public approval. The niche that their shop will have though is that you can rent out clothes if you can’t afford them, adapting the ‘Blockbuster Video’ business model, but for garments.
Just to get the obvious out of the way, this show is essentially an hour long plug for Lily Allen’s new shop. It’s like the best advertisement in the world; ‘we’ll give you an hour long ad on prime time TV, and pay YOU for it!’. The program is that, mixed with a pseudo-lifestyle feature. Half the show is spent talking about clothes, the other half just chronicles Lily’s relationship with her sister, pit-falls of the pop industry and just how bloody edgy she is. I lost count of the gratuitous shots of her being edgy. They start off a bit trivial; showing them both standing on sidewalks smoking for no apparent reason, her sister trying to carry 4 beers at once, close-ups of piss-poor, unimaginative tattoos, etc. But some just take the piss, including a soft-focussed zoom-in on an ashtray. Why? Who knows; it was a shot so dreamy it would make a porn director jealous. The greatest moment though was a clip of her on stage, lamenting ‘I’d like to dedicate this song to David Cameron – It’s called fuck you!’. If her finger was any firmer on the pulse, she’d break it.
What starts as an air-headed scheme to sell 2nd hand clothes to the dwellers of Covent Garden, turns into a logistical nightmare that ends with Allen in tears and later storming out of a focus group meeting. At the start during the buying stock phase, she loves it. They rope in Jess Morris, with 15 years experience in the retail industry, to make up for their lack of knowledge in this sphere. She turns up wearing deep red Dungarees and knee-high heeled boots, so I can only assume that ‘perverted tradesman’ is the current look amongst fashionistas. The two of them spend £55,000 on stock (double their initial figure) and take their business model (sic) to Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas. Now, Ms. Portas is another woman that has felt the wrath of out rapier wit. But on the subject of retail, this woman knows her onions. They present her with the scheme which is one of the most retarted things I’ve ever heard. I’ve seen more sensible things written in shit on mental asylum wall. Basically, they will rent dresses to people at the prices of £80, £100, £300 for 3 days. They will have to pay the full amount up front as a deposit, and if the dress is damaged they will lose the money.
Now let’s dissect this for a bit; firstly, if you’ve got the money to spent £300 to rent a dress, why wouldn’t you just buy the thing? Secondly, who the fuck is going to hand £2,000 over as a dress deposit then have the confidence to wear it out, despite the fact that if someone inadvertently knocks a glass of wine or some food on it, she will be £2,000 out of pocket. Furthermore, if you haven’t got £2,000 to spend on a dress, where are you going to rustle up the cash to afford the deposit? And finally, if people haven’t got the cash to buy expensive dresses outright, what makes you think that they will have no issue with spending £100 to wear it once? I could go on for an hour, but I’ve probably lost most of you already.
They present their case to Portas, who looks at them like they just claimed that 90s pop sensation Bros and former Norwich FC winger Ruel Fox were behind 9/11. It transpires that they’ve done no market research, and the basic ideology for their shop seems to be ‘I’m Lily Allen, people will love to buy clothes off me’. She asks them if they are actually serious about this, or whether it is just a crack-pot idea. She also adds that their pricing is fucked and no-one will spend £300 to rent a dress. Lily Allen claims that ‘I’m completely deluded – I have earnt lots of money of the past few years. I would spend money in a shop that most people would gasp at – not everyone is like me’, and with statements like that, who couldn’t help but fall in love with Lily ‘not everyone is like me’ Allen?
This theme of Lily’s utter delusion becomes a prominent tenet of the show. A common theme is the different trajectories of the sisters, with one working as a nightclub manager, whilst the other being a professional Lily Allen. Lily’s utter irresponsibility with money is well documented, stating ‘I rarely speak to my accountant, I avoid my bank manager like the plague’, and when quizzed on her frivolous attitude to money, she retorts that ‘It’s my money. I earned it. Why can’t I spend it?’ For someone that claims to hate Conservative ideals so much, she doesn’t half come across like a Tory twat. Her sister on the other hand portrays herself as some sort of Cinderella figure, who had to scrimp around for cash whilst her sister toured the world, despite this being under the caveat of her working as a nightclub manager where she ‘partied her way through two decades’. Hmm, I guess earning sub-40k a year passes as a ‘hard-knock story’ in Primrose Hill.
Portas states that ‘At the moment we have a Lilly concept. We don’t have a business model’ which essentially sums up the whole thing. So with countless items of clothing that no-one can afford, they go to a focus group to see how appealing their ‘Lily Concept’ is. They’re shown some clothes and explained the rental concept, of which there is a mixed reaction. When explained that this shop will be owned and run by Lily Allen, the response ranges from slightly daunted, to looks of utter apathy. This causes Allen to storm out, I can only assume because she thought that the chance to own something that Lily Allen has briefly handled would lead to people re-mortgaging their house to buy. They weren’t savaging her or anything, they just weren’t particularly bothered.
The lasting impression of the show is just how unattached Lily Allen appears to be with the average person. She seems to have no concept of the spending habits or interests of mainstream society, thinking they’d be taking out loans in order to rent something off someone famous. They had no knowledge of the retail industry, had done no research on market trends, and seemed to be pursuing the idea under the inspiration of ‘If we build it, they will come’. It had this horrible hipster-aesthetic of how piss easy it is to open a little twee shop of sorts, and that there would be a steady flow of people sauntering in to spend £600 on a dress. What struck me was how shocked Lily was when anyone disagreed with her on anything. Popping my ‘assumption’ hat on, the vibe I got from the show was that Lily had never had anyone say no to her before. She came across like a reasonably nice person that had been surrounded by yes-men for so long that the idea that she may have cocked something up appears utterly foreign. In an external interview, she claimed that she has changed immensely since the show was filmed a year ago. On this evidence, it would be hard not to.
(Visit us at shoutingatco.ws. We don’t bite……hard……)
Nepotism is just about as British a quality as there is. If you think of the stereotypical hallmarks of British culture, you think of red phone boxes, Bobbies on the beat, taking breaks in sport for a cup of tea, The Archers and Nepotism. We have a Royal Family. We have a class system. Our whole society is set up in such a way that the standard of your life will almost certainly depend on who you were lucky (or unlucky) enough to be born to.
The media is one area that has been touched by the big oily cock of nepotism. The public responses to spoilt children getting an undeserved leg-up in the industry have ranged from searing outrage to ‘…meh. It’s live at Studio Five. The exhumed corpses of Hitler and Stalin could present it and it would still be pretty fucking trite’.
The traits of someone who has got a position due to their name rather than ability tend to be blindingly obvious. It’s a bit like when as a child you return home with a stick man drawing or a potato-prints picture, and your parent puts it on the fridge to keep you happy. Only instead of the fridge, it’s the Tate Modern (though one should add, If Damien Hirst put some potato prints in an art gallery, no doubt you’d get some hipster berks in Hampstead claiming the this was a conceptual study in the organic nature of art, and how its formation has been changed by the technological impact on art and artists. And then their beret would fall off…).
When children of the famous get work in low-end publications and broadcasters, the response is more ridicule than outrage. Chloe Madely dropped out of University after one term to pursue a career in media. She stated that:
“I left Leeds University after a term because I was just so over the whole education thing.”
Which, you know, are the usual phrases to appear in the patois of hard-working, budding media personalities. After stints on Big Brother’s Big Mouth, Live at Studio Five and – quelle surprise! –The Richard and Judy Show, Chole had the nepotism stick wagged firmly at her, but she claimed that she had the talent to make it on her own. To prove this to dissidents nationwide, she felt the best way to get herself across as a credible broadcaster was to strip for FHM, and appear on shows such as Celebrity Quitters (A show were ‘celebrities’ give up smoking) and Dancing On Ice (A show where celebrities dance……on ice). Hmm….
Then you have Georgina Littlejohn. Son of Richard ‘spawn of Satan’ Littlejohn, she was vilified by critics due to her appallingly down-market writing, with pieces such as ‘Make-up free Lucy Davis looks tired and fed up’ and ‘Winehouse shows signs of overindulgence as she lets it all hang out by the pool’, a story about Amy Winehouse looking a bit fat, which contained possibly the finest sentence in the history of the printed press;
She might be drug-free, but Amy still succumbs to Mr Niccotine – ironically, an appetite suppressant
(note – she did indeed spell Nicotine wrong)
The thing with Madeley and Littlejohn is that, though it’s wrong that they have a very basic grasp of spelling and sentence structure and yet get given prominent media jobs, it’s not like they’re doing stuff to make people envious. If it’s not these two doing banal reality TV or sniping celebrity columns, it’ll be two other dribbling tosspots, just sans rich parent.
However, it’s the children of the affluent who have gained exposure through credible outlets that have faced the most intense public scorn. A famous example which saw the Guardian draw widespread criticism was Max Gogarty’s ‘Max, 21, hits the road’, a self-penned article in the Guardian’s travel column by some utterly repulsive hipster twat who was going to document his ‘gap yah’ in India, where particularly highlights were to be;
Debauched beach parties, the dodgy days with “washing machine” tummy, the messy late-night stumblings into bars and, of course, all that bullshit about finding myself.
Now I speak for everyone when I say that, if I want to watch some odious British tourist get pissed on a foreign beach, I’ll pop on ‘Sun, Sea, and A + E’.
The Gogarty article read like a pure satire, like it was a typical pastiche of the ‘Shoreditch Twat’, or the pitch for a Nathan Barley movie. Every single sentence made you want to punch a wall;
Spending any sort of money I earn on food and skinny jeans, and drinking my way to a financially blighted two-month trip to India and Thailand. Clichéd I know, but clichés are there for a reason.
Are they? Really, Max. Are they?
Some of turns of phrase would make you utterly wince with their deplorable lack of self-awareness.
I’m kinda shitting myself about travelling. Well not so much the travelling part. It’s India that scares me. The heat, the roads, the snakes, Australian travellers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited. But shitting myself.
So a heady mix of racism, xenophobia and scat humour there. It’s what I look for in my daily Guardian.
Suspicious were raised over how someone with this standard of writing could get a column in the Guardian, and then proceed to piss off the entire country in a few short paragraphs. It transpired that Max’s father Paul was a travel writer for them, which caused uproar amongst the internet community.
Despite an editor’s rebuffing that he got the gig due to him contributing script to the TV show Skins, the general consensus is that saying he ‘wrote’ for Skins just made poor Max’s case worse. His blog was pulled and he never wrote for the Guardian again.
However bad Max Gogarty’s writing may have been, never will you read a worse column that this piece in magazine ‘NYLON’ by everyone’s favourite ubiquitous daughter; Miss Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof.
Now before I start spouting hyperbole everywhere , I should add some perspective; I’ve read Liz Jones, Jan Moir, Quentin Letts, Sally Bercow, Max Gogarty, Binkie West, Richard Littlejohn, Peter Hitchens, Sarah Palin, ex-girlfriends’ glossy magazines, birthday cards from 4-year old nephews, the back of toothpaste packets on the toilet, The Da Vinci Code and Nuts magazine’s ‘women’s sex confessions’; and yet even with all this competition, Peaches Geldof’s ‘British Invasion’ column in NYLON magazine is the worst thing I have ever read.
Peaches Geldof left independent Queens College, London, with a U in Politics. Though her painfully shit level of education would leave most people cleaning out bins for a living, it was enough to secure her columns inElle Girl, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, ES Magazine and Cleo Australia. It must been a really strong U. Like on the U/F boundary. However, Peaches’ ‘Pièce de résistance’ was an article she wrote forNYLON magazine in 2008 (I should add, ‘critically acclaimed’ NYLON magazine).
Never has a column made me feel as misanthropic as this. At least when reading Littlejohn, you know that he’s a prick that provides shocks for laughs. But with this article, you could only assume that Peaches was sitting there writing putrid metaphor after putrid metaphor, thinking ‘this is fucking gold this is. I’m like a modern day Sylvia Plath’. Opening with the most vomit inducing sentence in the history of digital media;
The sun glows a burned orange as it sinks behind a skyscraper, a car horn screeches irritably, the wind whistles through the acres of willows in Central Park: New York, the most offbeat and eccentric city in America, is my new home.
the article just goes from bad to worse:
Her high-pitched hyena laugh filling the office as Marvin strums his guitar and dreams up ideas for the next issue. I feel like I’m part of a movement—a magazine that encapsulates everything cool and strange and interesting.
Yeah, a movement. It’s like fucking Solidarity in there. That’s all Lech Walesa did anyway; wrote in a shite magazine about the latest retro fashion to hit Krakow, and boom; workers had rights. IT’S A MOVEMENT BITCHES!
I grew up there [London], walked its cobbled streets a thousand times, and frequented its infamous haunts.The skies are always grey and the weather is freezing, but the place is alive
The cobbled streets of London? The fuck are you on about? Jesus, someone pass me the sick bag. Or just fucking shoot me in the head.
The whole article reads like a cross between a D level English GCSE paper, and a ‘my first metaphor book’. And that’s just the standard of writing, the content is even worse.
Highlights included buying a sequined flannel shirt in Colorado for a dollar off an old Mexican woman, who told me it was a family heirloom; Max purchasing a James Dean printed metal lunchbox and using it as a makeshift handbag; being chased by a homeless man wearing a Slipknot T-shirt in Iowa; going vintage shopping in a Pittsburgh store where a 10-year-old kid in a 1970s flared pantsuit and fedora sold us the entire stock of clothes for fifty bucks. (Max loved this store and later changed into an ‘80s red silk evening dress to present the American Eagle music festival in Pittsburgh, to my amusement and his Chester French bandmate’s confusion.)
Well that sounds like a swell day out. You two spongers fluttering about a charity shop, cause, like, you’re just so alterative, yeah? The whole thing could be paraphrased as ‘me and my rockstar boyfriend go clothes shopping with daddy’s money’;
The whole piece is a mess of hackneyed cliché, mawkish metaphors and garrulous language which come together to form this awful mess of an essay. Naturally, the response to the article was overwhelmingly bad. The article got 302 comments, and so much attention that it was written about it in an English paper. Like Max at the Guardian, her weekly column was scrapped, and she now only makes the odd fleeting experience where she say what tracks she thinks are JUST OMG SOOO AMAZIN RITE NOW!
The basic lesson we can learn from this, is that if you’re after a bit of attention for a gutter press column or downmarket TV tit-bit; putting a famous relative on it will get you popularity and hits. However, if you try and use a surname to get attention or as a favour to a friend in a serious journalism column, you will be utterly crucified. So maybe as a rule of thumb, for serious journalism; employ people based on their ability and experience, rather than who’s loins they were sired from.
Just a thought, like.
WORDS! WORDS EVERYWHERE!
Single: On A Wire
Label: House Anxiety
Release: March 28th
Hackney based sisters ‘2:54’ took their name from their favourite part of a Melvins song. An interesting idea for the tricky subject of what to call your band; naming it after a pointing moment of a track. It’s like me naming a band ‘0.40’, as it’s when the epic Viscera Eyes from Mars Volta signals the start of 9 minutes of the finest music they ever produced. Or calling a band ‘3:56’, as that’s when Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police finishes. Forever. Thank God.
There first thing that hits you with On A Wire is the vocals, which sound indistinguishable from Brody Dalle. The second thing that hits you, is that the glam-grunge, post-punk, distorted rhythm section is indistinguishable for Spinnerette – Brody Dalle’s current band. Infact if someone had given me this track without any supporting notes, I would have said ‘ooh, didn’t know Spinnerette were bringing out new material’. Now I personally don’t like deriding something as sounding too similar to a predecessor. Brody Dalle and Spinerette have a similar style to PJ Harvey, who has a similar style as Katheleen Hanna and Bikini Kill, who had a similar style to Joan Jett and The Runaways, who had a similar style to Patti Smith, etc etc etc. Musicians shape the style of future acts. The question is whether or not it’s inspiration or imitation.
The Daily Express cares about YOUR rights. And by YOUR, I mean; Middle-Englanders who’s rights aren’t remotely compromised. As Britons we love to moan, but the problem is, we don’t really have anything to moan about. In general, we get it pretty good in Ing-ger-land. Even with planned state-sector cuts, rising student fees, rising unemployment; in the grand scheme of things globally, we’re the lucky ones. This however isn’t enough to perturb the Daily Express. They want to make it quite clear that YOU Britons are the real heroes. And by YOU, I mean average folk who have led rather uneventful lives, and done nothing heroic. They love Britons so much that they’ve dedicated a whole section to the ongoing campaign for the rights of you salt-of-the-earth guys.
The Crusader is a section of the website that displays just how myopic the Express content is. It’s an amalgamation of pet peevs, council busybodies and how Britain has gone to the dogs. The spread of stories ranges from parking fines to dodgy cookers. It’s essentially taken all the throw away stories from local newspapers and given them their own section. Top of today’s billing includes a heart-warming tale about Ivan, who bought a vacuum cleaner off the internet which didn’t get delivered when they said it would! But it did eventually get delivered. Yep. So, you know. Quite the scoop.
He paid by credit card and fully expected to get the Dyson sometime before Christmas.
But in early December he received new instructions that, though slightly odd, did not arouse his suspicions enough to cancel his order. It asked him to pay by cheque or bank transfer and as an incentive offered him a further £5 discount.
Ivan complied, taking the transfer route, but his Dyson did not turn up, although from time to time he would get cheery emails assuring him it was almost on its way. “They were always so pleasant, it was easy to believe them,” he said.
Cripes! What a situation! What happened next?
Although we never heard from Utopia Consortium, the parent company, directly, the pressure seems to have worked as Ivan and his wife June finally received their Dyson last month.
“We had almost written the cleaner off so this is a lovely surprise,” they said.
……………….I wonder who’s going to play Ivan in the film?
Ivan’s tale of a vaccum cleaner getting delayed in the post was one of the many hop topics on the Crusader’s front page. Another story concerned Londoner Elizabeth, who’s cooker broke down and – wait for it – was out of warranty. RIP, sweet cooker.
The appliance was already installed in the London flat Elizabeth bought a few years ago and was out of guarantee.
She says she was disappointed that Baumatic was not more constructive when she called.
Holy shit! So her cooker was out of warranty and therefore they wouldn’t help her? Well I’ve seen some scum in my time, but Baumatic takes the biscuit. How dare they. Her dad fought in the war so she could flaunt contract laws. Did he die in vain? Well?
This appears to be a non-story. Dippy woman’s oven is out of warranty, will have to pay for it to be fixed. Why is this in a national newspaper?
With Crusader monitoring progress, Elizabeth decided there was nothing for it but to shop around for an alternative and eventually chose Domex, a repairer and spares supplier in the South East covering most brands and appliance types.
Instead of the £110 call out charge she was previously offered, Domex provides an on-site diagnosis and three-hour labour for £42 including VAT with parts extra.
“Manufacturers often have higher overheads than us, such as travelling longer distances, they often carry fewer parts which all impact their charges and service,” says Domex director Ross Ganev.
“We recognise householders are concerned about rogue traders, so we try to be as transparent as possible. We stock a high number of parts, so customers can get a good price and most problems can be fixed on the spot or shortly after.
Ah I see, so it was a stealth ad for Domex. Good work, Crusader!
Kim Mullaly and Peggy Bonson had a similarly dull story which they decided to share with the Crusader.
HOMEOWNERS Kim Mullally and her elderly neighbour Peggy Bonson are unable to forget the day a gas company dug up their driveways and laid new pipes.
Ooh, why’s that? Did they strike gold?
Permanent reminders stand out in the shape of large patches of new tarmac – a stark contrast to the existing, weathered surface – and the homeowners are understandably upset.
Of course they accept the upgrade work was essential to maintain safety and a reliable supply, so energy company Southern Gas Networks (SGN), had to have access. But it is the way it was done and the look of what they’ve been left with that’s the problem.
So essentially, they don’t mind that the work was done, their only complaint is that weathered tarmac and new tarmac are different in colour. Should you be taking up your complaint with, I dunno, GCSE level Chemistry?
In a statement, it replied: “SGN endeavours to reinstate the surface to a similar, if not better, condition than prior to the excavation. SGN will explore every reasonable avenue of resolution.”
So they had no choice, other than to re-tarmac your entire driveway. Which would have been a perfectly reasonable demand…
Other than someone’s vacuum cleaner being delayed, science being a bit twatty and a woman getting her hob fixed at a very competitive rate (remember, that’s Domex – If can find a cheaper alternative for hob-maintenance, keep it to yourself) are there any, you know, actual stories in The Crusader? Well, thanks to Grace Bownass, there are. And this isn’t just any story. This is a Daily Express motherload. It’s got it all. Jobsworth busybodies, parking regulation, the elderly, the disabled, motorists, and (but I’m quite sure how) the economy. It’s the kind of the story that you know Richard ‘Dirty’ Desmond had had at least one tug over. If not two, if he was treating himself.
SHOPPER Grace Bownass paid a car park’s £3 Sunday all-day fee but was hammered with an astonishing £60 penalty notice.
Is it possible to get hammered by a £60 fine? Well poor Grace here is the victim of someone’s competence in their job. Which is just awful for her. So why did she get this fine?
According to operator Excel, which runs the private pay-and-display site in Albert Street, Birmingham, it was entirely the 77-year-old’s fault, as she had not followed its required process and got a ticket within 20 minutes of arriving on January 2.
Oh Grace. What on earth were you doing for 20 minutes?
“It was raining, the new year sales were on and there was a queue at the ticket machines. I stayed in my car, had the cup of tea I had brought with me and listened to the Archers serial on the radio. What an expensive drink that’s turning out to be.”
GRACE! THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING! THE ARCHERS! TEA! OH FOR FUCK SAKE, GRACE!
In reply, Excel’s marketing head Tom Banham said: “It is clearly advertised on signage throughout the car park, failure to purchase a valid ticket at the time of parking will result in the issue of Parking Charge Notice.
“One was correctly issued. Mrs Bownass was deemed not to have observed the terms and conditions, her appeal was rejected.”
However, as “a goodwill gesture” based on “the specific circumstances” of the incident, Excel has cancelled the charge but insists it still wants £10 from Grace to cover its admin costs.
So the firm slashed their fine which they were legally entitled to give her. Even this doesn’t impress the Express’ readers though, with the article’s sole comment entitled ‘DON’T PAY IT!’. For some reason, The Express and it’s readers think that the elderly are sacrosanct when it comes to the law. Fuck it, Grace, rob a bank. You’re 74, laws don’t apply to you….apparently…
So, if any of you out there have a flat tire, or a stain on an item of clothing, or can’t remember what channel BBC1 is on your TV, give the Express a ring. Remember; it’s not news unless it affects you. Or someone you know. Or someone that looks like someone you know.
Rise Against - Endgame
Rating - 7/7.5
Rise Against have classically blended two styles of music across their previous work; rhythmic hardcore and mature pop-punk. 2008’s Appeal to Reason had puritanically polished hardcore tracks like Kotov Syndrome equated with pop numbers like The Dirt Whispered. 2006’s The Sufferer and The Witness had Ready to Fall balanced with Survive. Meanwhile, 2004’s Siren Song of The Counter Culture had The First Drop matched by Anywhere But Here, etc etc. Rise Against have always had a broad palette of sounds designed to make music as inclusive as possible (no doubt down to strong influence of Ian McKaye) so to garner to the widest audience for both their tunes and political and sociological inspired lyrics.
The thing with Rise Against is that there were always clear distinctions between the two styles. State of The Union was Anti Flag-esq, whilst Roadside could even pass as an Evanescence number. They ticked a lot of boxes whilst not trying to be a jack of all trades.
On Endgame, these principles are out the window. It plays as almost as concept album of the most broad and inclusive set of songs one can conjure up within the punk rock palette. And this mixing goes to within the songs as well. Architects opens to pulsating drums and screeching riffs replicating their rhythmic hardcore dynamic. Then once the chorus hits; the smiles are in, the ooh-ing and ahh-ing are on show, and it takes a drastic shift to pop-punk. It doesn’t work one iota. The styles aren’t blended together, they’re just shunted together like some sort of musical cut’n’shut. Help is On The Way is much better example of it working, the styles are blended better, with McIlrath’s light vocal riff over a darker harder rhythm. The middle 8 however is flat and lousy, and the song again sounds half baked. Make it Stop has this youth choir backing and is so over-produced and slick that I’m struggling to believe it is actually Rise Against.
The start of the album really is all over the place. There’s no flow, there’s no consistency; they just seem to be trying to everything possible within the sphere of punk-aesthetics, and achieving absolutely nothing in the process. It’s like trying to construct a triple layered bunk-bed in an elevator.
Once these three tracks are dispensed with the album really finds some flow. Disparity by Design and Satellite and properly thought out numbers that perfectly execute their hardcore form, based around McIllrath’s strong vocal lead. Survivor Guilt and Broken Mirrors are flashbacks to Rise Against of old with an updated dash of major label gloss. Wait For me has that accessible pop quality about it, whist A Gentleman’s Coup is riff-tastic, and is an example of the positive impact that going to a major label has had on certain aspects of Rise Against.
Like the songs themselves, the lyrics are frustratingly good and bad. Some of the lyrics are amongst the best they’ve produced. ‘Is this an overbearing arm/or is this compassion/is that a handout undeserved/or a just reparation’ from Disparity by Design perfectly encapsulates the ongoing battle between left and right over government control and the state sector. But this has to be counter-balanced by the quite dreadful ‘she proclaimed tonight will be the greatest of our lives/i said ‘don’t be so sure, let’s just wait until the morning’ from Midnight hands, which is vomit-inducingly terrible.
Rise Against are always going to be one of those ‘up and down’ bands that do stuff that you won’t like. Yet when they are on form they are, in my opinion, one of the best bands in the world. Their success has seemingly put McIlrath et al in a position where they have felt the need to push the band further and further. Success doesn’t mean you need to sound like Aphex Twin on a particularly ambitious day. It doesn’t mean you need to re-invent the wheel. Just keep developing your sound, whilst staying connected to your core ideals, and everyone’s happy. Endgame seemingly follows the usual path of a Rise Against album; you’ll feel euphoric, you’ll feel frustrated, you’ll feel joyous, you’ll feel confused. But you’ll be better for the experience.