Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Stef's Guide to Fine Art photography

Follow my easy tips and you can produce 'Fine Art' photography like this ...
The rise of digital imaging has rung the death knell of the last great analogue recording medium, film. In spite of the apparently irresistible tide of technological change, there are still some die hards who refuse to give up on film photography. As with Hi Fi buffs who won't let go of LPs because 'they sound better than CDs' there are still some people prepared to spend huge amounts of money on 35mm film gear; on the basis that film-based photographs have a classic look that digital can't replicate.
But I believe they are wrong. You CAN make photographs on a digital camera in a way that does produce work indistinguishable from the great film photographers of the 20th Century. Here are my Top 10 tips on how to get that elusive photo-reportage look using a modern digital camera:

Predator to stand for President?

The current Governor of California, a former Governor of Minnesota and an attempted Governor of Kentucky
Tony Blair gave his annual speech to the Labour Party Conference today. I didn't watch it because 'My Darling Clemantine' was on another channel. I make it one of my life's guiding principles never to miss any film starring Victor Mature, particularly when he's playing Doc Holliday. As a trivial aside, Doc Holliday was a dentist not a doctor, and a capable if psychotic dentist at that. His last surviving patient outlived him by 80 years; a gold molar crown that he supposedly made for a six-year-old girl in 1871 was still intact when she died in 1967 at age 102. As a second trivial aside, one of my favourite Groucho Marx quotes is about Victor Mature and goes as follows:
"It's the only movie I ever saw in which the male lead's tits were bigger than the female's."...Groucho Marx, on Cecil B. DeMille's epic Samson and Delililah, starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr.
But anyway, Tony made his speech today. I didn't listen to it but I understand he was heckled, twice. Yes, Tony Blair, the only man alive who can unite the Anti-War and Pro Fox Hunting lobbies. That is a pretty special achievement. So Tony, now that you've invaded a country to overthrow an evil dictatorship and set about overthrowing the British Constitution in order to ban fox hunting and stop needless cruelty to animals, what's next?
Bans on:
  • fishing/ angling?
  • battery chicken farms?
  • horse racing?
Invasions of:
  • Zimbabwe?
  • The Sudan?
  • North Korea?
I can't wait. Unfortunately, I didn't catch any analysis of his speech either because Predator was on in the evening. Predator was arguably the most politically influential film since Ronald Regan appeared with Bonzo the chimp in Bedtime for Bonzo. The stars of Predator include no less than three former body builders who subsequently ran for high political office; Arnold Schwarzenegger (current Governor of California), Jesse Ventura (former Governor of Minnesota) and Sonny Landham (2003 candidate for Governor of Kentucky). Hopefully, The Predator himself will stand for President in 2009, though the constitutional requirement that he must be American-born may prove a handicap. Maybe Arnold will get the Constitution changed at some point in the next couple of years.
So, that's where the British Conservatives are going wrong. Nobody will vote for them because none of their front-bench spokesmen have appeared in Aliens .
Has anyone mentioned lately that America can be a very strange country indeed?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Nonsense security

Range of House of Commons from St Thomas' Hospital

Did you know that the effective combat range of an RPG7 rocket launcher against a motionless target is 500-700m? Did you also know that the House of Commons is 300-350m from St Thomas' Hospital, along a completely clear line of sight? Did you also know that security at St Thomas' is as good as the security in other UK Hospitals i.e. abysmal?

What's my point? For three years I have seen a huge increase in the number of police carrying machine pistols on the street, hundreds of innocent Muslims have been arrested then subsequently released, people have been imprisoned without charge or trial, identity cards are to be imposed on the British people, CCTV cameras line every street and building, a week doesn't go by without a doom-laden TV drama about the perils we face, plus countless of other nonsense initiatives have been thrust on us in the name of the War on Terror. I have seen images of tanks driving around Heathrow Airport, presumably prepared to open fire on the crowded departures lounges at the merest suggestion of a terrorist presence (the original intelligence actually identified Gatwick as the possible target but, hey, what's 40-50 miles amongst friends).

Yet, somehow, protestors have recently penetrated the House of Commons at will on several occasions and unvetted illegal immigrants, doing cleaning jobs, have access to our public buildings and transport infrastructure, including airports.

I can't board a plane with a keyring-sized pair of nail clippers, yet I can board with a pocket full of matches and cigarette lighters holding a carrier bag full of glass bottles of duty frees which don't necessarilly contain Baileys. If I travel Business Class I have access to metal cutlery and glasses or I could spend a couple of minutes in the toilet fashioning myself a cheeky little weapon out of a broken mirror and a torn shirt.

etc. etc.

I suppose I run a risk of someone from Special Branch visiting me if they chance upon this blog at some point in the future. Maybe I shouldn't run that risk by even posting this for a handful of people to read. But the point is, if the risk at St Thomas' was controlled there would still be countless other opportunities for terrorists, real or imagined, to do harm. You just can't stop it. The only way to deal with terrorism is to not let it affect your life and address any genuine grievances that started them off in the first place. Everyone knows that. So why is that f***ing bell-end Tony Blair doing the exact opposite?

The minds behind 9/11 could wipe out our Government or a swathe of the UK general public at will. That much is obvious. That means our Government is either run by total bloody idiots or, they don't really believe in the threat at all and all those costly 'security' measures are bullshit intended to scare their own people and make a few people a lot of money or more powerful. What do you think the answer is?

Excellent Street Photography Site ...

Visit here ...
... and click on the photo of the month section

Skills Shortages ...

New Britain is desperate for skilled people like these ...

Just read an amusing article that explained how the government has been understating immigrant figures by 100,000+ for the last few years ...

'The Government had claimed, for instance, that 156,400 migrant workers arrived in Britain two years ago. Now they say the number should have been 263,000.

The previous year the official figures had declared that 150,600 foreign workers landed in the UK, a figure which has now been revised up to 262,600 ...'

The story was released quietly at the end of last week when Labour thought no-one was looking. Sure enough, the BBC haven't covered it (on the same day the US State Department announced that opium production in Afghanistan was up at least 40% since the US/UK invasion - that one didn't get much coverage either)

We haven't been told how long this has been going on which means that we're talking quite a long time then.

And the reason for our own Government understating migrant figures by 500-700,000 over the last five years or so? Apparently the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) didn't maintain statistical monitoring systems sophisticated enough to deal with the complexities of the data they were collecting. i.e. They didn't add up how many National Insurance numbers they've issued.

That would be the same DWP that 'regularly screened its computers for potentially offensive and inappropriate material' only to discover last month that 227 of its employees had downloaded two million pornographic images over the first eight months of this year. The DWP has imposed tighter controls on Internet access and 16 of the offending staff have been sacked. So, presumably, the other 211 are having to make do with pornographic magazines they've bought on the way to work.

Of course, immigrant figures aren't understated because our civil servants can't count or spend their time playing with themselves in front of their VDUs. These crooked figures are deliberate Government policy. Our leaders realise that we are too small-minded to understand that we have desperate skills shortages in this country that can only be filled by unvetted, large-scale migration. A brief summary of the scale of the need and the kind of jobs that need filling can be found here ...

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Quiet Day

Not much happened today. The most interesting thing was discovering, after an accident in front of the fridge, that 2p coins were magnetic. I wanted to share this news with the World, did a Google search first and discovered that they had been made that way since 1992. I hadn't noticed.

BBC News 24 was also having a slow day today. In the middle of coverage of the Iraqi hostage crisis, where they were interviewing someone from the British Muslim Council, a series of spiffy 'Breaking News' logos were blasted onto the screen and some suitably dramatic music played. The newsreader looked stern as she repeated her voice prompts ...

'Breaking news just in ... Belfast ... a passenger ferry is stuck outside
Belfast ... Fifty passengers are tra... can't get off the ferry ... because
the crew can't get the doors open'

Then she scowled, round about the same time I started laughing. Presumably there's someone in the studio who's has the key job of hitting the 'Breaking News' alert button as soon as possible in attempt to beat Sky and CNN to the story. Either that person was a little premature or, hopefully, the BBC has started a policy of giving minor news stories totally disproportionate attention. The thought that some sailor was having a little problem with a sticky door lock and somehow, 10 minutes later, it was being beamed around the world by satellite to millions of people amused me intensely. All that technology, all those people just straining at the leash to report some mayhem, any mayhem. Ah well, it will be fireworks night soon enough and there's always Iraq.

There was also a report that Tony Blair had confided to a friend that he had considered quitting ealier in the year. This is the sixth time I've heard that story in the last two months

Like I said, quiet day ...

Anti-social behaviour

Mock-up of my planned Tony Blair urinal sticker - hopefully, they'll be ready before the next election ...

There has been a lot of talk about anti-social behaviour and 'Neighbours from Hell' in the UK over the last couple of years. Much space is taken up in newspapers and television discussing how we can best put a stop to it. In my experience, the worst excesses of anti-social behaviour can often be curbed by following a simple four point plan:
  1. Don't illegally invade and occupy other people's countries
  2. Don't flood the country you've illegally occupied with 200,000 trigger-happy kids, barely out of school, armed with fully automatic weapons and absolutely no sense of what they're supposed to be doing
  3. Don't imprison people without charge then photograph them being sodomised with lightsticks
  4. Try to ease up on the number of precision airstrikes on weddings, hospitals and schools
Countries like Sweden, Eire, New Zealand and Canada swear by this traditionally simple, yet effective, remedy; which probably explains why the Israeli Intelligence services are constantly trying to steal their passports for their own international murder squads. My more detailed explanation for causes of several types of anti-social behaviour can be found here ...

Re. the Israeli agents stealing famously peaceful countries' nationalties, check this story out ...

This is a particularly good story as it features Israelis masquerading as Cerebral Palsy Victims to steal Kiwi nationality. You've got to love them, those cheeky chappies ...

Friday, September 24, 2004

Death Porn revisited ...

Albert Fish - not a very nice man

In the last few years, with the growth of the Internet, we have been given access to a medium that allows virtually instant communication of information to any point on the globe. What have we chosen to use it for? Downloading pictures of tits. Sadly my own porn page containts no pukka porn as such, just some observations on what qualifies as good porn and bad porn. Plus a passing reference to Albert Fish, possibly the most evil man you are ever likely to hear about ...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Russ Meyer is Dead - Long Live Russ Meyer!

Still from Russ's final, and as yet unreleased, movie ...

Russ Meyer is dead. Boo. And cut short at the tragically young age of 82 too. It's true what they say about the good dying young ...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Cock Soup anybody ... ?

Mmmmm nice ...

I'm taking the opportunity to perk up some of these older pages, including my Rude Packaging page.
... by no means is it the largest source of rude packaging images on the web but it has some unique pack shots that are featured nowhere else. Sadly, many great example of rude packaging have slipped through my hands before I could photograph them. The Czech Republic was an excellent source for material - I fondly remember coming back home with a bottle of lavatory cleaner called 'Colon' and not buying a pack of Gonad in a Prague supermarket (never figured out what that was).

In my experience German and East European languages are the best for unexpected rude soundingness in English; for example, I believe the German word 'fahrt' means power in English which is great when buying batteries because packets feature pictures of cheery cartoon characters exclaiming 'Gute Fahrt' and similar. Other top German products that have come into our life recently include 'Gluhfix' and the scrumptious 'Mini Dickmanns' - sadly 'Enormous' and 'Donkey' Dickmanns were out of stock ...

My own person favourite example of rude packaging is the whole 'North Americans don't understand the alternative use for the word member thing'. Hence we have a brand of Canadian designer clothing proudly described as the Private Member Range on 30ft high posters for the whole World to see and the American Express campaign from years back - 'There's one word on our card that says more about you than money ever can - That word is MEMBER!'. Totally and absolutely marvellous.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Tony Blair rebrands War in Iraq to 'New War in Iraq'

A couple of choice quotes from TB on the 19th September ...
"We are succeeding in Iraq. We are succeeding against the forces of evil."
"Whatever the disagreements about the first conflict in Iraq to remove Saddam, in this conflict now taking place in Iraq, this is the crucible in which the future of this global terrorism will be determined."
Excuse me, 'the first conflict in Iraq'? Where did that come from. Last month British troops expended (i.e. fired at someone) 100,000 rounds of ammunition. Given that the British force is comparatively small and British soldiers are not known for 'busting caps' indiscriminately, God knows what the Americans 'expended' over the same period. The news from Iraq suggests that a) occupying troops are succeeding only in keeping arms manufacturers in profit and b) there is no clear distinction between TB's 'first Iraq conflict' and what is going on today. And, pardon me Tony, isn’t it your fault that Iraq is now 'the crucible in which the future of global terrorism will be determined'.

What is different is that Tony is now desperately trying to rebrand the war in the same way that he and his chums renamed Labour to New Labour. Tony's comments on Sunday are probably the prelude to an extensive rebranding exercise. Didn't like 'Old Iraq Conflict'? Try 'New Iraq Conflict' instead. You might like the difference. For God's sake this isn't a tin of beans we're talking about here.

This isn’t the first time a national leader has attempted to popularise an unpopular war by rebranding it. Lincoln did the same with his Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address during the American Civil War, when that started to go badly. If anyone believes that the American Civil War was about Black Rights just consider how Blacks were treated for the 100 years after it was won. Come to think of it, it wasn't even a Civil War. Civil Wars involve 'brother fighting brother'. In contrast, the American Civil War involved one country 'The North' invading, occupying and destroying the infrastructure of another country 'The South' which is why many Southerners still prefer the term 'War of Northern Aggression'. Maybe Tony thinks he's in good company with Lincoln. Careful there Tony, Lincoln got shot.

Personally I think TB's a liar and fantasist with bloodstained hands. Would someone please, please overthrow or incapacitate him in some way before he does any more harm.

Hackney Mare de Gras - cancelled ...

Hackney Mare de Gras - Postponed due to Murder

After the fairly discouraging experiences around Westminster on Saturday (per earlier post) I was really looking forward to the Hackney (Gay) Mare de Gras.

Unlike a real Mardi Gras, the Hackney version does not celebrate the start of Lent. In particular it is highly unlikely that the participants intend to abstain from meat consumption for 40 days, or any other length of time.

Anyway, we followed a convoluted route via the site of the recently dead Copper Grill at Liverpool Street (another Great Cafe bites the dust - what are all you daft b*****s out there going to do when there's only Starbucks left?) to Hackney Downs. We strolled leisurely down to Ridley Road market for the start of the parade. Almost on cue, a couple of African guys appeared and started sticking up crude, home made posters along the road with packing tape. The posters said ...

Hackney Mare de Gras Carnival Postponed
due to murder at Mare Street area
- by order of management of Centerprise
Thank You

I'm still not clear whether Centerprise ordered the murder or the postponement or who they were thanking and why. Whatever the circumstances, the news was terrible. No screaming bertie wooftas in rhinestone encrusted jump-suits or plumed chick-boys cavorting in front of my lens for me then. I was bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

Fortunately our B. Plan, the Shoreditch Car Free Day, played out magnificently and was good fun; until the beer collectively took hold and it started to be less fun. Remarkably for a car-free day there were relatively few cyclists about. I would have hated that. There was, however, an Elvis impersonator and his karaoke machine on a cycle. That I enjoyed that a lot. Field report and pictures here ...

Monday, September 20, 2004

Old Joke of the Week

Went to that new German-Chinese restuarant in Soho the other day ...

The food tasted pretty good but twenty minutes after eating it I still felt hungry for power

Part of my homepage down

Part of my homepage is currently down (i.e. anything rooted off - apologies. Will bring the pages back up once I've picked up a more interesting new domain name with a more reliable ISP i.e. NOT who are rubbish and failed to respond to half a dozen support emails and have lost me a domain name and all the search engine listings that go with it)

In the meantime, is as perky as it ever was ...

and now a little something for the search engine spiders ...

4U hosting, rubbish, ISP, terrible, hosting,, awful, lousy, hosting 4U, diabolical, UK's worst ISP, U4 Hosting, junk, avoid, putrid, foul, pathetic, shonky, dire, 4U, hosting4U, pants, pathetic, crummy, bellends, do not recommend, negative review, cowboys, tripe, bandidos, nein danke

thank you

Sunday, September 19, 2004

MI6 has my boots on tape ...

It's carnival time on the streets of Westminster

Went to take some photos on the streets of Westminster today. Not much happened; five or six people offered me violence, I was suspected of casing Labour Party HQ for a terrorist attack and a CCTV camera monitored my footwear. I've had better days. A handful of words and pictures here ...

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Want to see some good looking pictures?

Top notch photo gallery featuring a nice introductory flash movie with sound ...

Looking at work like that, taken with relatively old-fashioned and simple, though not necessarilly cheap, equipment is like listening to live music rather than a digital recording. A wee thrill passes up and down your spine. It's real.

Sadly, we are cursed to live in a multi-megapixel age; filled with soul-less images, music, flavours and experiences. Do yourself a favour, listen to a live band or play one of your old LPs, drink some home made wine, cook a meal from scratch, give your mobile phone and satellite decoder a nice long bath ...

then try and take some pictures like this bloke does and fail; woefully and miserably. Like I do.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Quote of the Week

"If your photographs aren't good enough, you aren't close enough.
-- Robert Capa"

Killed by getting too close to a landmine while trying to photograph it...
... apparently.

... and on BBC News 24 Tonight - Death Porn!

Death Porn - is this making you hard?
It's been a little over a week since the horrible events at Beslan. The number of 'post horror human interest stories' on the news channels has now slowed to a trickle. Seven days ago BBC News 24 covered Beslan as if it was the most important place on Earth now it really doesn't give a fuck any more.
And why was Beslan the most important news story on Earth a few days ago? Was it because the seige was part of a news story that was of burning interest to us in the West? Nope. The reason why it was such a hit with the media was because there were bleeding children. Lots and lots of bleeding children.

I'm a great fan and consumer of classic war and mayhem photo reportage. The pictures have a raw power that we don't encounter in our daily lives. People are drawn to that stuff. It's natural. Great photographers of the genre, Don McCullin, Robert Capa made people aware of horrors that were taking place around the world - Biafra, the Spanish Civil War, wherever. Maybe these guys weren't working for a higher purpose. Maybe they were war junkies. But their work carried a message. A call to action from humanity. There was a point.

Then we come to Beslan and all the other horrors that the news media beams into our lives these days. Huge, global reporting networls have been founded to harness the power of new technology to beam death into our living rooms 'as and when it happens'. Nightly, we are exposed to the spectacle of pink, scrubbed middle-class news reporters, safely eschonched in body armour, reporting with relish and fake emotion about the horrors they are witnessing and the personal dangers they are exposing themselves to. The story behind the story doesn't really matter. Safe in our living rooms we can watch people much less fortunate than ourselves suffering torment as we tuck into our evening meals. Like sex without love, the images we see are presented to titilate our basest instincts. Real-life death and misery presented as entertainment. In comparison, watching a video featuring Ron Jeremy banging a couple of old skanks dressed as schoolgirls, fake pigtails and all, strikes me as the kind of material I'd much rather see broadcast at 7.00pm on a weekday evening.

Parable of the week ...

Why indeed ...

I was chatting with Tracy this evening about how I believe that we are presented with choices in life, not as a random process but as part, of some kind of Divine training simulator for the soul. Tracy doesn't believe all that nonsense but she told me an old joke that I hadn't heard before which tickled me and summed up my attitude nicely. Strangely she's known that joke for the 10 years I've known her and she hasn't told me it before. Maybe it's some kind of omen? Anyway, here it is ...

A man leaps off a sinking ship and is swimming in the water. A lifeboat comes by and the people on board yell to him to get on.

'No', says the man, 'God will rescue me'

A few minutes later a second lifeboat comes by. Again, the people on board yell at the man to get on board.

'No', says the man, 'God will rescue me'

An hour or two passes then a helicopter flies over. The rescuers lower a rope and call down to the man to grab hold.

'No', says the man, 'God will rescue me'

No-one else comes by and the man eventually drowns. He ascends into Heaven and is welcomed by God.

'God', asks the man, 'I'm a true believer. Why didn't you rescue me?'

God says 'I sent you two lifeboats and a helicopter what more did you want?'

The trick is, of course, recognising the lifeboat when it comes by ... and no, I'm not thinking about a career in the priesthood.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

No Junk Mail Please!

Latest environmental initiative from Lambeth Council working nicely ...
(click to enlarge)

Any wife of mine who doesn't like it AWO must die ... in France

Prince Charles - all dressed up and ready for a damned fine Saturday night out ...

Now's as good a time as any to make reference to a page I wrote some time ago but hasn't quite made it into the search engine indexes. In a shameless attempt to increase my home page's web profile I wrote a page that summarises the allegations made against HRH Prince Charles that have been pretty effectively scrubbed from the media. Of course the story as it stands is composed of a series of unverified allegations but given that Charlie and Co. have trampled all over the media it's unlikely that they ever will be given the chance to be properly investigated ...
The media blackout covering the Prince Charles story is but nothing compared to the story about several senior Labour MPs, including two ex cabinet ministers, being named in the Operation Ore child pornography investigation and the related story about the Dunblane Massacre Enquiry documents being held secret for 100 years because another couple of senior Labour figures were involved somehow. That is proving a tricky one to uncover but I'm working on it. That's if a couple of burly geezers in balaclavas don't visit me at home first (I'm open to modest bribery, honestly).

PS So far, I've to excluded Tony Blair and David Blunkett from my list of potential kiddy smut downloaders; Blunkett on the basis that he's well, er, blind and Tony because he undoubtedly users a mirror to arouse himself.

Caped Crusaders hit the streets

Elite sword-wielding security men in capes move in to protect British democracy
and promptly detain the wrong people

I looked in my London Diary yesterday morning and noticed that a pro-fox hunting demonstration was due to take place in Westminster. 'I won't bother going to that', I thought, 'that won't be very interesting'. But it was interesting. A line of police beat seven colours of poo out of a mass of demonstrators and a group of five protestors went for a stroll in the Commons Chamber; pursued by caped, sword-wielding security staff. Nearby, a man dressed as Batman climbed into Buckingham Palace. Meanwhile, less than a mile away I was sitting at home eating Doritos, my camera lying undrawn in its sheath.

What have I learned from these events?
  • Labour MPs are much more concerned about the human rights of foxes than several thousand innocent and dead Iraqi civilians
  • A growing number of people feel so starved of democratic representation that they are compelled to take direct action, sometimes dressed as Marvel action heroes
  • Even though several thousand armed police in body armour patrol the streets of London, security in the House of Commons relied on men dressed like public school housemasters carrying swords. In a similar way to the fact that nail scissors are banned on planes but cigarette lighters are not, I think this behaviour demonstrates that our Rulers don't really believe in the domestic terror threat at all. All those police on the streets are out there to intimidate us not any fictional terorists.
On the same day Kufi Annan, UN Secretary General, stated quite clearly that the US and UK attack on Iraq was illegal and broke the terms of the UN Charter. Tony Blair's office responded quickly by saying 'oh yes it was'. Is it just me or is this just too surreal? Even Joseph Goebbels would have blushed a little working with the kind of material Blair and Co. have been churning out. Blair knowingly lied. He blatantly ignored international law. A lot of people died. Tony Blair is a murderer. It really isn't any more complicated than that. Yet, in a perfect demonstration of mass manipulation he's getting away with it. I feel unclean living in a country ruled by such a creature. Bombs are exploding in Baghdad and Tony Blair is farting on about Climate Change and Fox Hunting.

Most people don't really care that much either way about fox hunting. The majority are probably anti but this issue ranks about number 50 on their priority list. Yet, somehow the fox hunting debate has absorbed much, much more parliamentary time that the Iraq War or more significant domestic issues. In truth, the anti fox hunting lobby is really class war hiding behind a feigned interest in the fate of flea-ridden vermin. I don't like fox hunting. I'm all for class war. What I dislike is the profound dishonesty of many of the campaigners and the level to which they've subverted democracy. If a ban isn't passed by the House of Lords TB's government has declared that it will use the Parliament Act to bypass the Second Chamber. Nice one Tony, trample all over our constitution just to appease a few chattering urban lefties - 'Sorry about the illegal murderous war but how about a ban on fox hunting instead'. What a tool.

Of course the obvious answer to the fox-hunting issue has been staring us in the face all along. Why don't the hunters hunt the the hunt sabateurs? Obviously, it would have to be done in a truly sporting way. I understand that the Welsh longbow has a good record of halting cavalry and a thin screen of pikemen would help as well. You'd even be able to sell tickets; particularly if the crowd was allowed to finish off or ransom any survivors afterwards.

PS A straw poll taken of half a dozen people chatting in my local convenience store, not exactly frequented by members of the hunting set, indicates that all of those six people, black and white, thought yesterday's events were 'cool' and the understanadbale behaviour of people oppressed by an elected dictatorship. God knows what people in the countryside think ...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Things that make you go mmmmmmm - Butterscotch Angel Delight

Butterscotch Angel Delight mmmmmm ....

This Blog is far too downbeat in places. So, I have decided to make a conscious effort to also celebrate those things that make life worth living and near to the top of any sane person's list would be Butterscotch flavour Angel Delight.

Any food product tasty enough to delight angels must be good and this stuff never disappoints. I think it was Marx or Lenin who said that religion was the opium of the people. They are out of date; Sky Sports, alcopops, cheap sausages and Butterscotch Flavoured Angel Delight are the true opiates of today's British Working Class.

Angel Delight was the breakthrough dessert that once and for all proved that we could produce and eat synthetic crap equal to anything available in America. It has got even better with the years. Tesco's own brand 'Delight' (illustrated above) is now available in two varieties - 'Regular' and 'Extra Aspartame'; as well as being cheaper, the Extra Aspartme version truly is Space Food and is entirely composed of ingredients that can be synthesised on Saturn. I can't get enough of it and would eat even more if it didn't give me such a bad gut ache and make me poo like a creamy whip ice cream vending machine.

On the subject of gut aches and ice cream vending machines, the only dessert that currently comes close to Angel Delight is the McFlurry. Forget ecstasy or speed, after chomping down one of those babies I'm buzzing with hypoglycemia for hours. If they are so potent for a 39 year old, 14 stone adult the effect on small chidren much be awesome. I must get out my camcorder and feed one to some friends' toddlers one of these days ...

Marine Boy - bloody fantastic ...

Marine Boy - he was bloody fantastic

In an earlier post I made reference to Marine Boy and it's dawned on me that many people may not remember him. Shame on you.

If you don't remember Marine Boy (aka Kaitei Shonen Marien aka Marine The Sea Bottom Boy) key Marine Boy biographical facts are available here:
Marine Boy was my first introduction to Japanese Manga. Even as a confused 5 year old, it was obvious to me that somewhere far, far away, there was a strange island inhabited by people very different to the ones around me. I approved. Appreciation of sake, helicopter porn and raw fish came later with adulthood.

The tales of his adventures with his friends Neptimea and Cli Cli were massively popular in their day. Sadly, Marine Boy is no longer shown on TV, partly because the animation looks a little shonky these days but mostly because of the Oxy-Gum thing.

Unlike Neptimea and Cli Cli, Marine Boy could not breathe naturally underwater and instead relied on copious consumption of special 'Oxy-Gum'. Unfortunately, Oxy-Gum was not available in UK sweat shops, sweet shops even. So, five year olds around the World being what they are, including myself and several school chums, tested out their own domestically available brands of chewing gum to see if they too enabled you to breathe underwater. In the face of repeated failures, in the bath and on school visits to the local swimming pool, we still persisted with our experiments; reasoning that we probably weren't chewing hard enough. My perplexed mother caught me on several occasions with my face in a bowl of water chomping madly on a Bazooka Joes and Chiclets.

Marina Boy was popular in the pre micro-chip era when children had to make their own fun and really did risk their lives, rather than act out reality on computer screens. In my day you really did die if you lost the game; entombed in abandoned refridgerators on rubbish tips, sucked down into local canals or lacerated and poisoned by cheap, lead-painted clockwork toys imported from the Soviet Union - your last view of this earth being the garishly painted laughing face of the metal drum-beating clown that had opened up your arteries. This environment encouraged resourcefulness and self-reliance. It also weeded out the morons who today survive to infest our city streets and shopping centres.

I don't have the exact statistics to hand but my understanding is that Marine Boy was directly responsible for several toddler drownings around the world and so the show was pulled - another innocent victim of Political Correctness gone mad.

Joke of the Week

How many American presidents does it take to change a lightbulb?

Two - one to change the bulb, the other to declare it a shining beacon of hope and freedom

Welcome to my World ...

Lambeth Enviro-Crime Scene

I have just put together a composite diary of life in South London for one fictional day, based on experiences I've had on several different days. That's the only artistic licence I have taken. I made neither made anything up nor embellished anything. I've illustrated the diary with pictures where it was possible to take them without risking my neck. I think it makes grim reading. Welcome to my World. Welcome to my life ...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Tony Blair announces initiatives to tackle climate change ...

Artist's Impression of the UK after Tony Blair's climate change initiatives take hold

I just saw TB on the tele tonight making a grand speech about how he is going to tackle the growing threat of climate change and save us all. Thanks Tony.

This was on the same day that at least another 50 innocent people were blown up in Baghdad. It's increasingly difficult to tell if Our Beloved Leader is simply wicked or nuttier than a family-size Snickers bar. It doesn't matter really the result is the same.

Assuming that Tony will be as succesful at tackling climate change as he has been in bringing stability to Iraq and halting degradation of Britain's infrastructure; with that surefire Midas Touch he and his cronies are now famous for, the canny investor should now consider the following ...

  • Building marinas capable of servicing cruise liners in what are currently our inland cities. It'll be a lot more cost-effective putting the foundations down before the tide comes in
  • Planning new office developments around the future capital of the UK; the tea shop at the top of Mount Snowdon
  • Extending the Channel Tunnel to Ben Nevis
  • Marrying a mermaid, getting your hands on some of Marine Boy's Oxy-gum or evolving into an amphibian
  • Converting the Millennium Dome into a fabulous, James Bond-style undersea base suitable for Tony and his closest adviser and best friend, Gandor Invisible King of the Potato People
Good news for the Labour party and Atlantis buffs though. Once Tony has solved the problem of climate change, all those safe Conservative seats in the Home Counties will disappear under 200ft of bonus Atlantic Ocean and become the stuff of legend. New Labour will then rule for a 1,000 years. What an exillerating and life-affirming thought.

Isn't it funny how all those lone gunmen only kill well-loved and benevolent leaders and leave the blood-stained murderers and dickheads alone? Lee Harvey Oswald where are you and your crude bolt-action rifle when we need you now ...

Tragic ...

Tragic Stef

Just did an image search on Google for 'Stef Zucconi' out of curiousity. After years of maintaining a web page and posting hundreds of images onto the web, the only picture that came out of the search was the one above. Is this how posterity will remember me?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Hillbilly Bunny gets a makeover

Hillybilly Bunny

Some samples of the results of my latest photographic displacement activity, mixing colour and black and white in the same photo, can be found here:
I think they're OK

Creepiest Photo Gallery

Abney Park Cemetery

I thought I spent a lot of time playing with my pictures until I saw this site ...
This guy has taken his pictures of Streatham Cemetery, animated them as mini flash movies and laid down a spooky backing track. Run your cursor over the first picture in the Autumn series and prepare to be weirded out, a little ...

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Maltese High Explosives in Victoria

Bishops and small children cower in fear of the awesome power of Maltese fireworks ...

Saw a Maltese Religious and Cultural Procession around Westminster Cathedral yesterday. It wasn't very well attended and it made our equivalent Italian procession look like a model of efficient Teutonic organisation. However, this event did feature a series of really enormous explosions which made up for any other shortcomings.

We walked home through Pimlico and Millbank, just skirting Westminster. Given that it was September 11th there were a lot of police hanging around on the streets, armed to the teeth. They were packing real gun fetishist wet-dream stuff; Glock pistols and HK5 machine guns - evil looking matt black affairs with Maglites clamped under the barrel. So much for the unarmed British Bobby.

The first aim of terrorism is the affect the daily life of the target population, out of all proportion to your own efforts. That being the case, whoever the terrorists really are - Al Qaeda, the CIA or Mossad, whoever - they've won.

Bagpuss strikes back ...

Bagpuss and Clangers share the same opinion of Tony Blair

One of my great childhood heroes, Oliver Postgate, creator and narrator of Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss and Pogles Wood has set up a Tony Blair hate page. Gerry Andersen brought excitement into my childhood with Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet but Oliver Postgate gave me gentleness and whimsy. Even now the sound of his voice is more than capable of sending me off into a peaceful contented nap. If a decent, fluffy man like him feels compelled to throw up a series of anti-Blair essays you know things must be really, really bad.

What I must do now is come up with the best anti-Blair short film script that I can, before the next election, then beg this icon to narrate it for me. Millions of people between the age of 20 and 45 are sublimally programmed to respond positively to his voice. He has a true power. I wonder if he realises how much?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Exciting photography from Llanelli and beyond ...


Link to Ian's photography page. Ian has decided to maintain a select gallery of only his favourite work, unlike my stuff which, to put it mildly, is a lot less selective and has considerably more profanity in the accompanying text.

Cycle Lanes

Vauxhall Cycle Lane

Have just updated my stupid cycle lanes page. Walking home with Tracy this afternoon I was halfway through commenting to her about a particularly stupid and expensive cycle lane, recently laid out behind the Oval cricket ground when, right on cue, a bell-end on a bike came hooning round the corner on the pavement. At this point the pavement is about four foot wide and the guy apparently expected Tracy and myself to step onto the cycle lane to let him by. I yelled out 'Isn't the road big enough for you!' and Tracy barked 'There's an expensive cycle lane there for you!'. The bloke mumbled something and cycled on between us. A little further he came up behind us and we had the following brief conversation ...

Bloke: 'We're you having a go at me back there?'
Me: 'Look mate. Every time I walk down that street I have to avoid cyclists on that narrow pavement even though the Council has spent thirty grand putting a bloody cycle lane there'
Bloke: 'That's a fair point. I just wanted to make sure you weren't having a go at me. I've had it right up to here with people lately.'
Me: Looks at bloke blankly
Bloke: 'Right, at least we've got that straight'
Bloke cycles off

I'm not advocating the state murder or imprisonment of all urban cyclists. That would be unreasonable. A strong case can be made for their sterilisation though ...

Friday, September 10, 2004

911 Conspiracies

Osama Bin Laden

Channel 4 screened a 'documentary' last night that was supposed to objectively discuss the plethora of conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11. It was a disgraceful piece of television making and relied on selective editing, careful selection of the theories discussed and outright lies to debunk the notion that anything untoward happened on 9/11. Maybe there was no conspiracy but there are dozens or valid questions and concerns that the program wilfully ignored. It wasn't simple incompetence at work the program was too skewed for that to be the reason.

The program director, Polly Morland, attended a web chat hosted by C4 immediately afterwards and that was equally disgraceful. Dozens of valid and legitimate questions were ignored by the moderator and only pap was presented to Ms Morland - even with that assistance she still was obliged to bullshit her way through the session.

I then had a quick look at the annual accounts for the production company responsible for this junk, 'Mentorn'. Mentorn produces high quality shows such as Britain's Worst Driver, Britain's Worst Celebrity Driver, Britain's Worst Husband etc etc. No indication that they're considering Britain's Worst Documentary Production Company. The accounts also show that Mentorn produces a lot of material for Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corporation. Which explains what took place last night.

It really is quite remarkable how any suggestion that governments and corporations act in an underhand way is labelled as a 'conspiracy theory' i.e. insane, yet the majority of people have happily swallowed the idea of a shadowy criminal mastermind controlling a global, ghost-like, terror network from an underground base in Central Asia. Yeah, that's really, really believable.

You really do not have to be a conspiracy nut to realise that our media and government are completely controlled by a handful of wicked men. Taking 9/11 as an example there really has been no public debate, except on the Internet, about the mass on inconsitancies and lies that surrounded the attack. Watching what took place last night has convinced me beyond doubt that the 'factual' media is utterly corrupt. It really is depressing.

Anyway, my page outlining some of the most compelling evidence for a 9/11 cover-up can be found here ...
... Ms Morland's documentary addressed none of these questions

Princess Diana Memorial

Princess Diana Memorial Roadworks

What can I say? They've reopened the Princess Diana Memorial in Hyde Park and, remarkably, it's even lamer than before. At least when it was first opened you could have a paddle. Now they have six full-time security guards to ensure people do nothing more adventurous than sit on the edge and dip their feet in it.

In a curiously unintended way this fountain has now become one of the most entertaining sites in London. Giggle as confused Americans drift about wondering what they're supposed to be looking at then jab the structure with their walking sticks. Titter as under-whelmed Chinese nationals pace around for twenty minutes trying to find an acceptable place to be photographed at, then giving up. This memorial plumbs new depths of the Zen of Lame.

But such mediocrity comes at a price. It cost £3.4m to build and now that it requires a full time guard it's going to continue to cost a packet. My conservative estimate is six full-time guards at fifty quid a day equals 6x50x365 = £110,000 pa and that's excluding the cost of the additional policing that cruises by and the cost of removing the leaves that drift into it or the algae that merrily thrives on the stonework. Marvellous, and a fitting tribute to a woman who spent enough money on frocks to feed a small 3rd world city. The amusing thing is that the design was clearly originally conceived with no thought to Princess Diana whatsoever. A small inscription to her is tacked onto the edge of the stonework in one place out of the way and that's it. I'm guessing here but presumably Ernie, Gonzo and the Cookie Monster sat on the the selection panel.

This monument is sooooo New Britain. It cost a fortune, was hyped up to a ridiculous extent, was poorly conceived and badly constructed and its weaknesses are now covered up by blaming the general public and staffing it with unskilled migrants. Yes, Princess Diana Memorial stand up and take your rightful place by The Dome, The Millennium Bridge and The Wembley Stadium Project.

Just think how many more wonderful new structures we can look forward to if London wins the 2012 Olympic Bid.

My tribute gallery to the Princess Diana Memorial Pissor here ...


The Joy of Decks

The weather forecast for this week was good. So we decided to go on a daytrip to the seaside to take advantage of what was likely to be the last day of what has been a very indifferent summer.

We toyed with visiting Brighton for a few minutes but settled on Eastbourne in the end. I wanted to take pictures and, of all the seaside resorts within comfortable daytripping distance of London, Eastbourne rules supreme in terms of sheer wrinkliness and the despair that comes with old age. It didn't disappoint, not for one second of our time there. Don't get me wrong. I openly admit to wanting to become an extremely old person one day. A daily life filled with incontinence and grumbling is not too far from how I live now and it's miles better than the alternative career path. Pictures and a field report can be found here ...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Binge Drinking

Gin Lane

There's been a lot of discussion about the harmful effects of the 'recent phenomenum of binge drinking' in the UK. When I was younger increasing crime levels were blamed on poverty and social exclusion. Now we're supposed to believe Britain has become a more violent place because of mobile phone theft and people getting tanked up on a Saturday night.

It doesn't seem to matter how rich or poor people are; too little money and they take to the streets to steal, too much money and they spend it on alcopops and stamp on each other's heads. The lesson should be that non economic factors are the key to rising crime levels. Urban Lefties don't like that kind of thinking. The conclusion would be that people are responsible for their own actions and that reactionary, right wing institutions and concepts might be more relevant to living in a decent society than we've been led to believe over recent years.

Anyway, referring to the 'recent phenomenum of binge drinking' is, of course, nonsense. Brits have been getting off their face and fighting for millennia. This is fine be me. One glance at Europe and its cafe culture suggests that a lifetime of largely alcohol free social interaction inevitably leads to an interest in golden shower pornography and an appreciation of Depeche Mode and David Hasselhoff records. Balls to that.

More here ...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Judas Iscariot - was he all bad?


One of the many questions that keeps me awake at night is whether we have any genuine freedom; either individually or collectively.

After the recent experience of watching Tony Blair literally getting away with mass murder, supported by what are now demonstrable lies, it is painfully clear that there is no such thing as democracy in this country. So sadly, on a collective level, I do not believe that we have much true freedom.

On an individual level, thoughout my life I have felt aware that I have never been truly in control of the path I have taken. A lucky break here, a stroke of bad luck there have all conspired to lead me where I am today. This feeling could simply be the result of blind chance viewed through paranoid spectacles or it could be indicative of fate, destiny, a personal daemon pulling your strings, call it what you want. There's no way of ever really finding out. Which is why I have a soft spot for Judas Iscariot.

Assume, for the purpose of argument, that the Gospels are true, how much free will did Judas really have? I suggest that, from the moment of his conception, his destiny was mapped out. If he hadn't gone ahead with his betrayal, Jesus would have been standing around like a spare part at a wedding and probably would well have lived to a ripe old age. Christianity would never have happened and God would have had to start all over again. I just can't see Yahweh letting that happen, planning is clearly one of his strengths. Anyway, an unprejudiced reading of the Gospels indicates, pretty clearly, that Jesus told Judas to betray him.

More thoughts on Judas, an explanation of the meaning of life and the evolutionary significance of peacocks and bearded men here ...

Monday, September 06, 2004

Why your job is sh*t

Kaikoura, NZ
The other thing I do, aside from taking pictures, is slap up essays/ rants/ polemics about whatever keeps me awake at night. For several months now I've been trying to figure out what to do to pay the bills after finally throwing the towel in on what I used to do for a living. Identifying a new career path has not been an easy process because, let's be honest here, almost all jobs are pointless. Those jobs that aren't pointless don't pay very much, particularly if you live in London. Finding a job that has real purpose should be important to everyone. If your job has no real meaning and purpose then, to an large extent, a part of your own existence has no meaning and purpose. Most people don't ponder this problem directly but in their hearts they know it to be true which is why so many people are so miserable and bitter these days; particularly here in the UK, which gets even more commercial and nihilistic which each passing day. Anyway, my take on the world of work can be found here ...

Plug for My London Gallery

Tower Bridge
A plug for some of my existing web work - my gallery of London photography. As galleries go, it's not cool nor does it captures the zeitgest of life in London in the 21st Century. It does, however, contain pictures that tickle me for one reason or another. The pictures are arranged geographically and each section contains a few thoughts about the area of London covered by the photographs. Because I grew up and still live in South London there's a fairly strong emphasis on delightful parts of town such as Lambeth, The Elephant and Castle, The Old Kent Road and good stuff like that ...