Saturday, June 30, 2007

Take two suicide bombers into the car with me? I just want to crash and blow

There's an absolutely fantastic assessment of the terror threat now facing the UK in tomorrow's News of the World, written by former London Police Commissioner John Stevens. A special sneak preview can be found here...

"Make no mistake, this weekend's bomb attacks signal a major escalation in the war being waged on us by Islamic terrorists,"

"The terror of July 7 was awful enough, but now al-Qaeda has imported the tactics of Baghdad and Bali to our streets. And it will get worse before it gets better."

"The involvement, influence and even leadership of al Qaeda veterans both from abroad but also now on the ground in Britain has grown significantly,"

"It is a sign of the new maturity and sophistication of al Qaeda in Britain that they have moved to this car bomb style campaign."

"And make no mistake -- strike again they will."

No doubt, the masterminds behind 'Al Qaeda', whoever they may be, are profoundly grateful to John Stevens for boasting about the the tremendous power of their organisation and doing his best to scare the crap out of the people of Britain on their behalf

Who are the terrorists again?

Though I think Johnny is jumping the gun a little bit with the line 'imported the tactics of Baghdad and Bali to our streets' - unless the streets of Baghdad and Bali are under attack from suicide bombers who strike in pairs, have no bombs and pour petrol all over themselves instead.

Buddhist suicide bombers?

Some very peculiar things have happened this last day or so and the establishment is running the risk of overplaying its hand. Those who believe in a Melanie '
EVERYONE hates Jews when they should be hating Muslims instead!!' Phillips style Muslim Menace don't need any further convincing. Those of us who don't are starting to think that, as nobody was killed, they might be able to get away with joking about how crap today's supposedly 'mature' and 'sophisticated' attack was

A word of warning though. Anyone writing a spoof headline (and it was a very good spoof headline) like...

...on a Friday runs a very real risk of having their joke blow up in their face, or at least burn a little bit, on a Saturday

('borrowed' from 'The Daily Mash')


Hmmmm, Reichstag-tastic

Well, many of us were expecting something in June/ July. The rhetoric our government and newspapers have been coming out with over the last couple of months made the probability pretty clear

On the bright side nobody appears to have been hurt. On the not so bright side there are plenty of shady characters who'll be creaming themselves today, including our lovely shiny new PM. No doubt he will be horrified at today's near miss but also just a teensy weensy bit pleased that he is being presented with an opportunity to demonstrate his Churchillian qualities so early in his premiereship

And no, just because I'm one of those conspiraloons who has doubts about 9/11, 7/7 and 'Al Qaeda', that doesn't mean I deny the possibility that there are loser-fanatics out there capable of contemplating terrorist attacks, particularly crap ones. So I'm not going to start crowing that this is some kind of staged, false-flag operation. The timing is bloody convenient though

It looks like there's going to be tons of physical evidence and live terrorists/ patsies - the next few days and weeks are going to be, er, interesting...

(It's worth bearing in mind that there's still debate about whether the Nazis were actually behind the Reichstag Fire or whether they took opportunistic advantage of an incident they had no direct hand in. It didn't actually matter very much. Whether they were responsible for the fire or not, they were still Nazis and they still milked the incident for everything it was worth)


Friday, June 29, 2007


On Tuesday I had lunch with three people I used to work with. They’re a globe-trotting bunch and for some reason (my fault probably) we got round to discussing the reach and scale of the Find Madeleine campaign...
  • One of my chums had just returned from a few days in Croatia and confirmed that, yes, Find Madeleine posters were all over the bus stops there, in English of course. He didn't take any photographs though :(
  • Another mentioned how bemused he had been to see a longish and, to his mind, totally pointless Find Madeleine video played before the start of the England v Brazil friendly at Wembley a few weeks ago
  • Another had just got back from the Philippines and confessed that she hadn’t seen any material there
So, based on a highly unstatistical sample, the effective radius of the campaign can be estimated as being further than Zagreb, nearer than Manila.

As for me, since I wrote a post about the Madeleine thing a few days ago, virtually everywhere I look now I’m seeing Maddie-related material that I hadn’t noticed before

I’ve started noticing it because, of course, I’m now sensitised to it. What had previously been subliminal is now visible

In fact, I’ve gone way beyond simply seeing all the explicit material that’s out there and I’ve started seeing what may be implicit connections with the Find Madeleine campaign

Take a post I wrote about A Clockwork Orange a few days ago…

Are the parallels between a film about mass mind control, featuring a hero with a decorated right eye and a bizarrely overblown, creepy campaign about a missing little girl with a peculiar right eye meaningful in any way?

I’m buggered if I know

And that’s the challenge facing those of us who suspect that a little more may be going on in the world than we are led to believe. Any account or explanation for an event is essentially a series of links between a series of facts, observations and conclusions. It’s easy enough to demonstrate that many mainstream media narratives are based on suspect links to suspect facts, observations and conclusions but if you apply the same strict criteria to most alternative accounts they don’t stand up too well either.

Which is why, even though I take inordinate pleasure out of seeking anomalies in mainstream narratives, I’m too much of a wimp to ever stand behind alternative explanations – maybe I should hand in my membership of the Conspiraloon
Alliance and form my own breakaway Conspirapussy Alliance

And now comes the real reason for this post…

Thanks to DE for making me aware of the magnificent obsession that is the…

A veritable treasure trove of links to Masonic and occult symbolism in TV shows such as
Family Guy, The Simpsons and Spongebob Squarepants. Like DE I am not too sure just how serious the mind behind Post-Modern research is but it’s damned entertaining (if you like that sort of thing) whatever their intention is. The article entitled ‘The Simpsons, saturated with Freemasonic messages!’ is a triumph

But that is but nothing compared to my next link…

A piece of work that is virtually impossible to describe without accompanying hand gestures. Suffice to say that it is the most perfect example of the kind of Internet Conspiracy Theory video that leaves those of us concerned about the crimes of the rich and powerful shaking their heads with dismay, as evidence of those very earthly crimes gets mixed up with everything from Biblical Prophecy to Alien Space Lizards...

9/11 Stargate - absolutely brim-full of the kind unverifiable 'connections' that are so loved by certain conspiracy theorists and also by people in the mainstream media paid to ridicule all conspiracy theorists

On the other hand, it is bloody funny. But only if the spectacle of someone connecting 9/11, Freemasons, the Great Pyramid, Alastair Crowley, Sacred Orbs. My Pet Goat, the god Pan,
The Simpsons (them again), Fight Club, Alien Intelligences and The Wizard of Oz makes you laugh...

What was that I was saying about making peculiar links between things…

If you do watch it and if it starts to get too much after the first minute or so (highly likely), may I recommend fast forwarding to 8:47 when they narrator utters the immortal line ‘Now things get a little weird’. That’s by far and away the best bit…


Day Two in the Big Brother House

Anyone who has read, watched or listened to any British political programming over the last few days cannot have helped but encounter the nauseating spectacle of virtually every pundit and commentator pushing the idea that now that Gordon Brown is Prime Minister, instead of Blair, everything is going to be just fucking peachy.

The social inequalities that have increased rapidly over the last ten years will now start to narrow, our involvement in Iraq will somehow come to an end, the debt bubble will shrink painlessly, CCTV cameras will wilt on their posts, and all that money that has been spunked away in the name of the health and education services will magically reappear.

At the same time, those same pundits and commentators have been falling over themselves wanking off Tony Blair in public. Rewriting the history of the last ten years of government as the story of a fundamentally decent man who set out to modernise the country and bring peace to the world and who made a few perfectly innocent and understandable mistakes in his eagerness to do good. He's only a fucking saint, that's what he is

The most surreal commentary I think I've seen this week was an article on the supposedly New Labour-sceptical Blairwatch website entitled 'Tony as Middle East envoy - Why It Makes Sense'

You couldn't make it up

So, Gordon Brown's a good bloke. Tony Blair's a good bloke. The government is sound. The puppet-masters have lost their influence and all the awfulness that has gone down happened by accident.

Talk about a triumph of hope over experience

and Operation 'Same Old Shit - Different Frontman' trundles on virtually unopposed

The best comment I've seen on this nonsense cropped up in the Conspiraloon
Central blog earlier today, in response to news that the police averted a spot of 'bomb carnage' this morning...

**Geordie accent**
Day 2 in the Big Brother House,and Gordons found a bomb.

It comes as some comfort that not everyone is buying the party line


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pyramid Spotting with Stanley K - redux

A few weeks ago I linked to what I thought was an amusing fan review of A Clockwork Orange

I linked to it because a) I'm a big Kubrick fan, and b) I'm also more than a little keen on symbolism hidden amongst us within popular culture.

The insight offered by the review into the possible symbolism of the movie's iconic poster was worth the admission price alone...

A couple days after I linked to the video the author, Rob Ager, pulled it off Youtube

He's just uploaded a revised version in three parts which can be seen here, here and here

Ager has included an interesting explanation for his behaviour at the start of the
first segment

Apparently, he received some shit for being a 'conspiracy theorist'. Not so much from ordinary people but from professional on-line journalists

Consequently, he felt a need to withdraw his original piece and replace it with a slightly updated version

The pussy

The interesting part to me is that even in the original version it was clear that he wasn't advocating any conspiracy theories. All he was doing was suggesting that Kubrick had included some particular imagery and themes in his film

Kubrick himself was definitely into some weird stuff and his last film, Eyes Wide Shut, makes absolutely no sense unless you recognise that Kubrick was referring to a covert ruling elite who are into even weirder stuff

But two minutes spent on Ager's site will make it pretty clear that Ager is simply a movie buff who is exploring the themes and ideas in some of his favourite films

And if a film includes some peculiar symbolism, so be it

And we've come to a state of affairs where even that is reason enough for professional journalists to call him a nutter and describe his work as 'wank' not on its inherent merit but on the basis that they've labeled him a 'conspiracy theorist'

How well those fuckers have been trained

Which, given the film in question, seems more than a little ironic


South London - The Cultural Centre of the Universe

Now that all that Glastonbury nonsense is out of the way those of us who are serious about live music can concentrate on looking forward to the real highlight event of the year...

Bermondsey Beat 2005 - Woodstock Eat Your Heart Out

Once again the organisers have scoured The Land for the finest has-been acts and spared no effort in bringing them all together in a park in Southwark for a day of magic and enchantment

After dropping a nut a couple of years back and booking The Proclaimers; a band that some people under 40 had actually heard of, this year’s line-up is much more in keeping with the event’s prestigious track record…
And if that’s not enough, the following day the people of Southwark will be cheering on the Tour de France and seeing if they can nick a few bikes as it passes through the borough, before being serenaded by Chas and Dave AND Geno Washington (?!)

I’m in Heaven

Chas and Dave - Undisputed Masters of Mockney Rock

The adoring masses singing along to Chas and Dave's magnus opus 'Rabbit' the last time they played at Southwark Park

And whilst on the subject of Legends of Rock, I was hanging around City Hall, as I do, yesterday when Rod Stewart appeared out of nowhere and signed a twelve foot tall guitar. Unfortunately, I was only carrying a wide-angle camera and dislike Rod’s persona intensely so I couldn’t be arsed to walk the necessary 25 yards to take a decent picture of him…

This is the kind of excitement and rubbing shoulders with stars that people who don’t live in London miss out on and can be yours if you can service a £400,000 mortgage (for a year or two anyway) or don’t mind sharing a bunk bed with two other people trying to live off £4 an hour whilst still having some money left over to send home.

Live The Dream...


edit: it has just come to my attention, by way of a comment made under this post, that this year's Bermondsey Beat clashes with Live Earth

Live Earth is a monumental music event that will bring together more than 2 billion people to combat the climate crisis. Live Earth's 24 hours of music across 7 continents will deliver a call to action and the solutions needed to answer the call

all the more reason to pick up a brace of four packs at the fortress off-licence on Jamaica Road and get pissed in a park in Southwark whilst being pleasured by pub bands - unless listening to millionaire rock twats and corporate sponsored activists preaching to do as they say, not as they do, really strikes you as a clever way to spend a Saturday

Armoured off-licence, Jamaica Road


Monday, June 25, 2007

My weekend

Well, Summer's here. So I thought I'd spend most of the weekend doing what so many British people love doing for the weekend at this time of year...

Sitting in traffic

Sunday was particularly special - we managed to cover the 240 miles between Devon and London in only just over nine hours - an average speed of just over 26mph

This was partly due to the fact that directly in my path between my home and my destination lay the Glastonbury Festival - that annual celebration of youthful counter-culture where people pay £150+ for a non-refundable, non-transferable ticket so they can grub around in mud for four days and listen to the kind of music used in car adverts

There's no way that event has been subverted and co-opted to serve the interests of large corporations. Not a chance

Glastonbury Summer 2007 - similar to Ypres Summer 1917, only with less poison gas and more Shirley Bassey

Another reason for our near intergalactic travel speed this weekend was the rain...

Lots and lots of rain

June has turned out to be a bit of a wash-out. No doubt at the end of the month someone will announce that this has been the wettest June for the last however many years and attribute that to man made global warming. Just like April when we apparently experienced one of the warmest, driest Aprils for 350 years - which was also attributed to man made global warming

...because every single variation in the weather is now attributed to man made global warming. Surely by now everyone must realise that the weather isn't supposed to show any variation from one year to the next

which is my way of linking to an essay called - Global Warming: Truth or Dare? It's on the long side but it does include gems like this...

The fact that the global warming myth has now attained this degree of media promotion and entertainment industry integration means not only that the issue is not threatening to power but that it has also come to be understood by power to be quite useful. In this regard, the global warming myth has joined the other useful media-supported myths that include: increasing crime rates, the terrorist threat, the American dream, that we live in a democracy, that greed and selfishness are unavoidable overriding consequences of human nature, that we all attain the economic status that fits our talents and efforts, that we help developing and Third World countries, etc...

Anyway, back to my weekend...

We spent Friday night in Exeter. A city that, I am glad to say, even though it lies 800 miles away from the site of her disappearance, with the Bay of Biscay in between, is still 100% behind the Find Madeleine campaign. There were posters all over the shop. Several shops actually...

Presumably this heart-warming behaviour is replicated all over the country but I wouldn't know as this is the first trip I've made out of London since Maddie disappeared and the shops in my part of South London refuse to put pictures of small children in their windows unless they include a price.

(Not) Finding Madeleine has become such a popular passtime that Sky News has set up its own page dedicated to all things Madeleine where you can discuss the latest advances in the search for Madeleine (
none), see what the weather will be like tomorrow when searching for Madeleine (wet) and vote on how well you think the police are doing (badly)

The reason why we were in Devon was to attend a wedding in Salcombe. A town with the dubious honour of having the second highest property prices in the country outside of London

Salcombe also appears to be protected by some kind of invisible force field that keeps brown people out

Salcombe does however have a healthy community of minimum-wage East European migrants who tend and serve the kind of people who live in and visit a town with the second highest property prices in the country outside of London.

It's not that I'm picking on Salcombe but the place does typify the voodoo economics that now hold sway in this country and the massive and growing disparities between those who have (usually as the result of property ownership) and those who do not and a virtually unchallenged orthodoxy which maintains that rising asset prices are good but wages, particularly poorer people's wages, rising at anything like a similar rate is bad.

We are sleepwalking into a world where the majority of people will be indebted for their entire lives and never able to escape from economic serfdom. This might also explain, as discussed in this lengthy but occasionally gem-studded piece, why music is so shit these days (cf. Glastonbury Festival)...

"...The economy of the sixties cut us a lot of slack, leaving time to travel, take drugs, write songs and rethink the universe. There was a feeling that nothing was nailed down, that an assumption held was worth challenging. The meek regularly took on the mighty and often won—or at least drew. Debt-free students with time on their hands forced the Pentagon to stop using drafted American kids as cannon fodder and altered the political landscape of France..."

"...What you're getting is a contribution of hundreds of millions of lower-cost workers coming into our economy. It's very positive for all economic activity…"

"...The tightening of the fiscal screws that begain with the 1973 oil crisis may not have been a conspiracy to rein in this dangerous laxness, but it has certainly worked out to the advantage of the powerful. Ever since, prices have ratcheted upwards in relation to hours worked and the results of this squeeze can be seen everywhere..."

One thing did amuse me this weekend though...

The wedding service took place in Salcombe's Holy Trinity Church - the very epitome of a rural English place of worship. The grey haired, slightly dotty priest also looked the part. As did the choir of middle-aged women all dressed-up in matching green costumes; chanting and smiling at each other like they all shared some kind of secret that city folk could only guess at.

Part way through the service the priest communicated a few of his thoughts on the subject of marriage which went something like this...

"What is Love?"

"I'd like to answer that question by taking the word apart, letter by letter and exploring the symbolism of each"

"L reminds me of someone holding one arm up to God and beckoning people to share God's love with his other arm"

"O reminds me of infinity and the eternal nature of God's Love. This is also symbolised by the exchange of wedding rings"

"V reminds me of someone holding both arms up to Heaven and praising God with joy and love in their heart"

"And the final letter..."

"I've been thinking a lot about E lately"

"In fact only a few days ago I was up most of the night thinking about E..."

at which point three people in the congregation, including me, started to giggle uncontrollably

I guess you would have had to be there


Other things that pleasured or interested me this weekend included...
  • seeing this picture taken by Lord Patel of police at an anti-war demo looking like they're about to launch into a Busby Berkeley style song and dance number...

  • being sent a link to a picture of another policeman who looks like he has more than a song and a dance on his mind
  • reading about how Britain's burgeoning underclass managed to kill no less than eight of its own number in the space of a couple of days. No doubt much to the delight of the kind of people who cultivate underclasses and who work very hard to ensure that those underclasses never get round to figuring out who they really should struggling against

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Stuff I would love to research if I had enough time pt627

Today sees the launch of the Council of Ex Muslims over at Portculis House. The organization is going to headed up by Marxist women's right campaigner and Iranian exile Maryam Namazie and is intended to provide a voice for Muslim apostates.

Now the thing is about outfits like this is that people end up supporting them because they appear to stand for free speech, the separation and church and state, women's rights and good stuff like that.

Well, they do

Sort of

They are also very good at perpetuating myths, fuelling conflict and exacerbating or even creating divisions between people.

I'm mindful of the stellar career of that other radical ex-Muslim atheist women's rights campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali who got caught telling lies and now works for the super-fluffy, totally unfascist American Enterprise Institute.

I'm also mindful of the fact that much potential Left Wing opposition to the invasion of Afghanistan was neutered by portraying the occupation as somehow being about women's rights and nothing to do with oil pipelines, opium production and Central Asian military bases. Yes, of course it was.

And I couldn't help noticing that the Council of Ex Muslims appears to feature a fair number of Iranian exiles who left the country as part of the exodus of ex SAVAK operatives and other potential prisoners of conscience who fled Iran back in 1980. Though I'm sure they would not have the bad taste to follow in the footsteps of all those Iraqi exiles who earned a tidy living making up all sorts of bollocks intelligence as part of the preamble to the 2003 invasion of their homeland.

However, something tells me that spokespeople for the Council of Ex Muslims will be getting plenty of opportunity to put their views about Iran across in the weeks and months ahead. The kind of radical atheist Marxist views that will be music to US Christian and Israeli Neocons' ears

None of which amounts to anything conclusive other than grounds for some wariness about the Council of Ex Muslims but it would be lovely to know who's going to be paying their bills


Like The Truman Show - only bigger?

In response to a comment left under my previous post I have just spent the last few hours immersed in all things Madeleine McCann.

I think it is fair to say that a lot of people out there are reacting somewhat, er, negatively to the behaviour of the McCanns, the McCann media circus and the relative docility of the mainstream press. These people are quite keen to get their hands on some material, any material, that incriminates the McCanns in some wrong-doing.

Well, I've just ploughed through an awful lot of shit; including some unsubstantiated hypotheses that even the most open-minded people would consider to be plain mental, and I haven't found diddly on the McCanns.

Sadly, my most promising lead, this picture I found on Flickr...

...and its tantalizing suggestion of a connection with organized crime in Thailand proved to be a dead end

That's not to say that the Find Madeleine campaign and its media coverage are not weird and suspicious.

Of course they bloody well are


As far as I can tell there are two key reasons why people are smelling a rat...

  1. The Find Madeleine campaign is very well-organized, well-connected, well-publicized and got rolling very quickly. That in itself is not particularly suspicious. What is peculiar is the sheer number of countries and organizations that have been caught up in this business - often on the flimsiest of pretexts. There are also some aspects of the campaign that suggest that the people behind it were preparing for a long-haul from its earliest days. Put bluntly, the campaign seems to be about something more than 'Finding Madeleine'

  2. With one notable exception, the media have given the McCanns an astonishingly easy time over the fact that they left three small children unattended and appear to have told fibs about what they did. The number of mainstream voices criticizing the sheer lunacy of the scope of subsequent campaign is also small

It's one thing to be open to the possibility that parents with guilty minds might be engaged in a distraction exercise but that doesn't even start to explain why so many other people and organizations are playing along and complicit in hyping this thing up to nonsensical proportions.

And then there are the questions over the role played by Clarence Mitchell. Depending on what newspaper you read, when Mitchell's name has been mentioned he has either been described as the McCann's 'Press Adviser' or the 'Foreign Office liaison' appointed to assist the family. In fact, Mitchell doesn't work for the McCanns or the Foreign Office but is the Director of the Government's totally unspooky Media Monitoring Unit.

I've known a fair few people who've got into shit overseas and none of them were appointed a full time liaison officer sent over from Whitehall, and certainly not a liaison officer seconded to the Foreign Office whilst being the head of a government department.

and this may or may not be relevant but in his previous incarnation as a BBC reporter Clarence led the BBC's coverage of the Soham murders - which was also characterized by some frankly bizarre government and media behaviour.


There is the faint whiff of an exercise in mass psychological manipulation (purpose unknown) about the Find 'Maddie' campaign, like Soham before it, and the Princess Diana schmaltz-fest before that. Non Conspiraloons
will maintain that there is nothing deliberate or managed about these outbreaks of collective hysteria. Conspiraloons will, on the other hand, depending on what kind of day they've had, tell the Non Conspiros to either go fuck themselves or at least try and maintain an open mind and accept that such things may be possible. It's not like anyone is talking about having to believe in space aliens here, just screwing with people's heads through application of mass media.

And that's as far as I'm going with this one. I have no doubt that something truly peculiar is going on but short of making research into this business a full-time occupation I don't think anyone on the outside is going to be able to come up with any useful answers until after it has run its course.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Camera recommendation of the Week

Fujifilm have just announced the UK release of their new heavy-duty, shock resistant HD-3W digital camera - aka The Fuji 'Big Job'. And because it is shock resistant the Fuji press release includes the strap line...

Methinks we are witnessing possibly the most convoluted attempt at voluntary redundancy undertaken by a UK employee of the marketing arm of Japanese company since the short-lived Nikon Skidmark 9000


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

are your baconburgers kosher?

Found via the B3ta website...

McDonald’s UK ‘Make Up Your Own Mind’ website

McDonalds has harnessed the interactivity of the Internet to give ordinary members of the public an opportunity to ask serious questions about McDonalds products and receive some serious answers

I don’t know what’s funnier. The questions themselves or the dogged resilience shown by the people at McDonalds as they answer each question without letting the corporate veil drop, not even once…

What happens to the bacon in a crispy Mcbacon before it reaches our mouths?

I read in the paper that some burger contain poo. Is this really true? If so, what proportion of burgers contain poo?

My Wife and I often visit New York and, whilst waiting at Newark Airport on the homeward leg, i often have a McDonalds, very nice it is to. Could you tell me why the Burgers in Newark actually taste like Beef whereas those we get at home in the UK taste like nothing even remotely animal falvoured? Surely meat is meat...or is it?

how do you make cheese burgers and chips so nice ? what is the special ingredient what you use to make your food like this?

Is it true that you use worms to thicken the meat in your burgers?

you say its 100% beef, but its actually beef fat too isn't it?!

do you put brain cells in your burgers

are your baconburgers kosher?

isit true that there has been a case where a person has found a eyeball in one of your burgers??

I used to think your burgers were horrible, believing they were all mashed chicken head. I've only found out recently that it isn't. Is there any other way to get this good message to other people like me?

If your beefburgers are 100% beef why don't they taste like it? If I go to buy or make my own beef burger using beef from the butcher/shop it tastes infinitely different and better. I'm sure this is a popular question..

I’m sure it is


The Death of an Honourable Profession

One of the things that really ticked me off about being moved away from the British Oppression demo last week was the excuse used by the policewoman to move me on.

I didn’t have a press pass.

Given that I was standing in a public place presenting no risk to public order or obstructing anyone, demanding that I produce a press pass was, how can I put it?, bollocks.

What really bugged me was the thought that if I could prove I was working for some rag somewhere –
The Wisconsin Weekly Advertiser or Celebrity Hairstyle Magazine or whatever – she would have had to lay off.

And why should that be?


The guy I was with in Whitehall on Friday has just sent me a link to an interesting story in the Guardian from a few weeks ago.

It’s interesting because it’s yet another example of a mainstream media hack whining about the death of professionalism and the Cult of the Amateur in today’s media. In this case, he’s complaining about the death of the ‘honourable profession’ of newspaper photography.

Yes, very funny.

Because we all know how honourable newspaper photographers are.

Really, you couldn’t make it up.

And the key difference between a professional and an amateur is?

"A talented, hardworking and lucky amateur can produce wonderful pictures on the best days. But that will be one picture in a hundred. A professional can produce something that is nearly as good as their best 50 times in a hundred. That's why they are worth employing."

Nope. The only consistent difference between an amateur and a professional photographer, or even an amateur or professional journalist, is that one gets paid, the other doesn’t. Full stop

Or is the writer genuinely trying maintain that if you pay someone to do something that will guarantee a higher standard of work than if someone works for non monetary reward?

Could it possibly be that some people have the skill to write or take pictures but for some reason are unable or unwilling to work for a big news outlet?

After all, with any pay cheque there comes an obligation to photograph or write about what your employer dictates.

Which is why people like Nick Ut who started their careers photographing images that had the potential to change the world now make a living snapping daft celebrities who are only famous for being daft celebrities

And that is a major reason why more and more people are being drawn to the work of amateurs.

Sure, there are plenty shit amateurs out there. But there are plenty of shit pros too and many happen to be whores, or working for whores, as well as being shit transmitted around the world by the honourable mainstream media not transmitted around the world by the honourable mainstream media

Coincidentally, round about the same time one chum sent me a link to a newspaper article about how sites like Flickr are contributing to the death of honourable newspaper photography, another chum invited me to join a Flickr group established to protest against Flickr censoring the images its German-based viewers can see

Forget about the mainstream media’s incessant wanking on about Russia or China – there are plenty of free speech issues nearer to home that need dealing with.

I’m presuming that Flickr is implementing filters because of the Nazi thing – though how being able to see images of fat bastards dressing up as Ernst Roehm who end up looking more like Oliver Hardy is likely to corrupt German democracy eludes me.

Oliver Hardy

Ernst Roehm

It’s the thin end of a very thick wedge IMHO and I can’t help but make a connection between politicians and the mainstream media whining like bitches about the rise of the amateur and the incessant attempts being made to filter the output of those amateurs.

On the other hand, this talk of things German presents me with another opportunity to link to the video of Rammstein’s –
Amerika still available here

I’ve already linked to it only a few days ago – but I just watched it again and it still makes me laugh. Especially the line...

"Coca - Cola…"

"Sometimes War"

I was chatting with a mate about 'Coca Cola, Sometimes War' a few days ago and he’s of the firm opinion that the US should adopt it as the new national motto and put it on the money and on banners draped from all large public buildings

A tad harsh but understandable…


edit: I just got another email from a chum pointing me towards the kind of high-quality photojournalism that sites like Flickr are facilitating - check it out here


Monday, June 18, 2007

What if they gave a race riot and nobody came?

As we were in the general area of Westminster last Friday afternoon to see how the British Oppression demo turned out, and we were early, we decided to check out what Brian Haw and his chums were up to

They seemed a bit grumpy...

and like they’d had a rough night...

and like they really, really, really were trying to get arrested

Haw was having a serious argument with a policemen and recording everything that was being said with voice recorder

Someone else was marching up and down with a loud hailer calling out to bemused tourists with lines like ‘That man in the yellow jacket is full of shit

Someone else was waving a placard with ‘Bollocks 2 Blair’ in front of every car that was driving into and out of the Houses of Parliament

But the police were stubbornly refusing to arrest anyone in Parliament Square. Not that day anyway

To be honest, I had mixed emotions about what was going on. I’m totally behind what Haw is doing but I’ve always maintained that the police are simply maintaining laws made by the real bastards and getting into scraps with them is pointless.

On top of that, protests and demos do need some form of police presence. At one march a couple of years ago a few coppers saved my rear end when I was about to get my arse kicked by a bunch of ‘loyalist’ Irish psychos.

I was grateful


A little later on, five minutes walk away in Whitehall, we got to see what had come of all that publicity for the much heralded British Oppression demo

Not much actually

About 60-80 Union Jack waving White Nationalists had turned up. Most of them seemed to know each other and they were acting more like they were at a works picnic than looking for any physical confrontation

There were slightly more Muslims, maybe 100. Most of them also appeared to have come from one group and the majority were women; fully suited up and waving placards that all came off the same printer. There were maybe 30 or 40 men – their heads uncovered and acting quite relaxed

The Muslim Horde

and policing all of this there were at least 300-400 coppers. Most of whom were sitting eating chocolate bars and playing Nintendo in the 40-50 vans parked in the immediate area

And that was it

It was quite dull actually

And then a policewoman came up to me and tried to pick a fight.

I was standing on an empty traffic island in the middle of Whitehall, miles away from anyone, fiddling my camera when a little trog of a WPC brandishing a clip board walked up to me, stopped no more than a couple of inches from my chest and demanded…

‘Who are you’
‘I’m me. Who are you?’
‘Do you have a press pass?’
‘No? Do I need to?’
‘This area has been reserved for the press so I’d like you to cross back over to the far side of the street’
‘Um, OK but can I wait for the traffic to stop’

a minute or so passes, she’s standing even closer to me, smirking

‘Um, do you want me to run in front of the traffic’
‘No. Of course not sirrrr’
‘Why are you standing so close to me’
‘I’m waiting for you to move. I’m here till 10 o’clock and I can stand here till then’

another minute or so passes, the road is still full of traffic

‘look sirrrr a perfect opportunity’

I weaved between the traffic and crossed the road. Meanwhile WPC Ewok is pointing me out with a biro, marking my card, to a group of policemen

I spent the rest of the afternoon pissed off with myself for letting her get away with it. In my defence I am looking to get a residence visa in a country that requires a police check on me in the not too distant future. So I am a little sensitive about dealing with the police at the moment but that’s no real excuse.

The thing is a few minutes before my little encounter a drunk Australian bloke was walking down Whitehall, saw the BNP demonstrators, stopped and to no-one in particular said
‘Fucking racists’. At which point a policemen turned round and said ‘They have a right to demonstrate’. The Aussie said something back to the policeman that almost certainly included the word fuck and bamn! three coppers had slammed him against a wall and arrested him.

This was uppermost in my mind when my turn came. The policewoman was standing so close to me that virtually any move I made could have been presented as assault, she opened her confrontation with me with a line taken from ‘
How to start pub fights by asking questions that can’t be answered as rudely as possible’ and was hassling me going about my lawful business in a public place.

I’m a 42 year old white man with enough sense not to rise to provocation and it was all I could do to bite my lip. I doubt very much if someone younger, or browner, could have shown that restraint

That’s the great thing about being a copper. You can pick a fight with someone on the flimsiest of pretexts and if they react you can arrest them


The Full Monty

I suppose I could have told her I was about to join one of the demos but I’m not sure the Muslims would have had me and I didn’t have a Union Jack.

I’m still not sure why she picked on me. It was probably something to do with the fact that I obviously wasn’t a tourist and wasn’t part of the press pack. There was a big question mark hovering over my head and if there was thing that really irritates the shit out of The Machine it’s the thought of people it can’t classify. So back into the crowd of gawping American tourists for me.

Alternatively, maybe I was paying too much attention to the police presence rather than the demonstrators. People who take pictures of demos are supposed to focus solely on the most provocative placards they can find...
  • They are not supposed to photograph those spooky police photographers who now attend every demo and jam their frame-mounted rigs into everyone’s face.
  • They are supposed to only photograph those tiny, micro-sized coppers the Met thoughtfully places in front of the largest Muslims and most provocative placards (see previous post) not the 300+ other, considerably larger, coppers in the immediate vicinity
  • And they are most certainly not supposed to giggle at the police ‘spotters’ walking up and down the length of the demo surreptitiously peeking at comical laminated A4 handouts filled with pictures of wanted Islamists that all look exactly the same...

The bottom line – I still think picking on the police is a distraction but I have absolutely no doubt that within the police there are some cunters in uniform who are absolutely loving the way the environment is changing in this country

And I still do not know who was behind that frickin’ demo...


Friday, June 15, 2007

BO Pics

A few pics from a stroll around Whitehall and Westminster today. There's piles more to download from my cameras, and my brain, but it's time for some dinner and a mindless movie. I am in a very grumpy mood...

Please note: Muslims BIG!
Metropolitan Police MicroCopper


And today's forecast

... scattered showers with the outside chance of some Sunni outbreaks in the Downing Street area

Personally, I think now that this little do has been rumbled nothing will come of it. But we'll see...