Monthly Archives: September 2008

btw (praising Chris Huhne for once)

btw Don’t let the Tories paint themselves white on economics this week. Chris Huhne pointed this out on Friday’s Any Questions: Last year, John ‘euch!’ Redwood’s Tory report on fiscal regulation said: “We see no need to continue to regulate the provision of mortgage finance,” (!!) and at last year’s Tory Party Conference, shadow chancellor George ‘loud sniffing noise in the loo’ Osbourne said: “[this report] sets out how we liberate our economy to compete with the likes of India and China, cut government regulation, planning restriction and red tape … this is the most impressive and comprehensive analysis of the economy produced by any British party”. (!!!) Even Cameron called it a “great” report.

As Huhne concluded, “The Tories were cheerleading de-regulation all the way to the bankruptcy of Northern Rock.”


Howard, the… Duck!

Last night I tricked Howard from Halifax into filming his suicide, for use as a hard-hitting allegorical short film about the economic collapse. I phoned his agent on the pretext of casting for a BBC one-off drama version of Death Of A Salesman. His agent was my sister’s friend Phill, although I have no idea why. Phill is a lovely fella but he’s not an agent at all, let alone the representative for the round-faced speccy Halifax man.

Anyway, I booked Howard for an advance fee of £10, plus he wanted tuna sandwiches and ginger beer, plus a high repeat percentage and a small percentage of advertising revenue, even though there are no adverts on the BBC. Then we all went to an office complex in Bournemouth and shot what we pretended was the first day of this extensive, expensive TV movie, except that everyone there – crew, hospitality, actors – were all just pretending, in order to get the one vital scene, which was Howard shooting himself in the face with a gun. I swapped the blanks myself.

Once that was done, we all went home and I phoned his agent back to apologise for the tragic accident and explain that the BBC had cancelled our production out of respect for Howard’s family, so we had to quit. 

Then I edited together this shit-hot snuff short out of the one scene that mattered, with some prime Johnny Cash in the background like the final scene of Generation Kill. I can’t remember which song though. When I woke up this morning, for a few seconds I was so convinced it was real, I was itching to get on my Mac to look again at the film, because it was an anti-capitalist masterpiece and Howard had truly died for a Good Cause.

I was gutted when I realised.

autumn clean… like spring clean but in autumn

Home started returning to normal yesterday, after damp-proofing and re-decorating madness – that turned downstairs into a dusty bombsite for three weeks – was done with. I was able to clean all the living room furniture and move it back where it should be and had an amateurish go at really scrubbing the kitchen. Best of all, I took the books and shelving units and piles of other stuff out of the bedroom, which suddenly feels enormous.

There’s a lot still to do, especially rewiring our audio set-up but on the whole it’s lush. Which scarily means it really is time to clear out the attic – and perhaps learn about eBay for piles of old crap unwanted book’n’music gems.

We’re rehearsing tonight for This Ain’t No Picnic tomorrow. I think KCLSU is my favourite London venue – the room rocks without being divey, the sound kicks it out, facilities are decent and you can look out over the Thames while you soundcheck. Plus we’re sandwiched like a minced beef pattie between two stridently enscarpmented live bands, Bearsuit and Future Of The Left. Might be worth using our AAAs to go back Sunday as well, because the whole bill rocks.

some pain, some jim and some scam

Jim sent demos. He’s been writing scripts yet still knocks out the finest new songs I’ve heard this year, in a couple of wet afternoons. So dark though. Jim made me think of Death, maybe it was his fault.

Either you buy shares or you don’t. People who do gamble for profit, that’s the point. But now, with gamblers losing money, the US government will nationalise that loss with tax dollars. Everyone who didn’t buy shares in the first place still funds the bail out of those who did. Simple and sick: a swindle of epic proportions. The American government has made me think of Death for years.

as Brown speaks… another Palin rant

OBAMA I didn’t expect you to answer the door yourself.

BARTLET I didn’t expect you to be getting beat by John McCain and a Lancôme rep who thinks “The Flintstones” was based on a true story, so let’s call it even.

I just read this beautifully imagined conversation between Obama and Bartlet, apparently written by Aaron Sorkin himself. Stef Pause sent it me – thanks Stef! – and, looking at this, I cannot believe the Democrats aren’t jumping on Palin more aggressively. They need to point out in simple terms (like in this conversation) what she believes and the lies she’s telling over and over again. It’s incredible.

Deep down, my optimistic side thinks Palin still can’t actually win, for three reasons.

First, we’ve got the debates to go. The good will out.

Secondly, something’s gotta give, in her self-mythologised mess of a private and earlier political life. It’s the iceberg theory of bullshit.

Thirdly, the good old American fear factor. Palin is simply too high risk, in a period of American history where high risk has been shown to be disastrous.

Anyway, that’s my three-sided tepee, where I’ll shelter as the nerves kick in.

Right, back to Brown.


Waking up on my birthday, although autumn has arrived and it was a very cold morning, for about 10 minutes I felt amazing, King Of The Universe, not remotely concerned about being a year older. I went downstairs to make Rifa breakfast and ate some rice crispies and then it went to shit.

I should’ve clocked the warning signs. Our house is super dusty because of the decorators. Plus the temperature drop. Add to that my stupid decision to consume what is effectively a bowl of cold lactose: I triggered an intense bout of sneezing and coughing, which built through the morning from an allergic reaction to dust, into what feels like a throaty cold. Ugh! For fuck’s sake!

So it’ll clear in a day or two but I’ll be lucky if it doesn’t leave behind a chest infection that’ll take two weeks to shake off – and increase the likelihood of more chesty shite over this winter.

To battle the day back from the brink of defeat Rifa took me to Terre A Terre for dinner, which was jaw-droppingly yummy. They’ve reinstated their genius veggie pisstake fish’n’chips to the menu and tidied up the rosti without losing its edge. After eating chocolatty/plummy hoi sin tofu starters, olives and a big main course, to my shame I couldn’t manage dessert and missed out on one of their obscenely brilliant puddings. In the past I would’ve had one anyway and accepted the consequences – but I really have to stop when I’m full now if I’m ever going to win the war on shape.

They gave us a free drink (we always get treated especially well there because of having our wedding meal there) and when I didn’t have dessert, they gave me some of their homemade truffles to take away.

I also got some lovely thoughtful gifts, so that made my evening really nice. Frank Turner puts his Amazon wish list on his website, so that devoted fans can buy him presents occasionally. I’m tempted. 

In the meantime – back to normality – I’m trying to put together a blog on the economic troubles (along with a column for MS about how the downturn might affect providers of culture) but it’s really hard to keep it within a readable length and not too ranty. If I get anywhere today, I’ll post it straight away.

Also, I’ll try to post details of my Circle Line walk route today on the Facebook event page.


I put my money in a bank account
I put my money in a bank account
I put my money in a bank account
But the bank fell down and the money’s never coming back out

I save my money for when I get old
I save my money for when I get old
I save my money for when I get old
But the boss stole the money and I was never told
And I can’t pay the bills and it’s getting cold

Ghosts in the machine
Numbers on a screen
Lying by omission
about cash you’ve never seen, you’ll never see

Put your money underneath your bed
Put your money underneath your bed
If everybody put their money underneath their beds
That’s that: revolution and no bloodshed

Ghosts in the machine
Numbers on a screen
Lying by omission
about cash you’ve never seen, you’ll never see