woensdag, januari 28, 2009

Best Hostels Money Can Buy

The best hostels guide is out and the top two are in Lisboa. One guess where this Spring's next travel destination is going to be.


Why Hungarians tell the best jokes

“Istvan, please stand up and tell us what Marxist criticism and self-criticism means,” she instructs.

The little boy stands up. “Comrade teacher, Marxist criticism is how we must view my parents, who joined the reactionary counter-revolutionary forces who sought to destroy our heroic workers’ and peasants’ state, and then fled to the imperialist, capitalist west, to continue their intrigues against the Socialist regime.”

“Excellent, Istvan. And what is your Marxist self-criticism?”

“I didn’t go with them.”

The second is set on May Day in Budapest, as the Hungarian armed forces parade past the communist leaders. There is an impressive array of tanks, missiles, armoured cars, and soldiers marching in their best uniforms.

The communist leaders stand impassively as the soldiers and their vehicles pass by. Then, right at the end comes a battered old open truck, sputtering exhaust as it carries three fat middle-aged men in badly fitting grey suits. An apparatchik turns to the defence minister and asks, “Who are they?”

“That’s our
secret weapon,” says the minister. “Economists from the Ministry of Planning.”


The Caviar Left and the Caustic Cynic

Houellebecq replies by acknowledging his “misanthropic apathy”, and noting that his “desire to antagonize conceals an insane desire to please”, to be loved warts, and all: “I don’t wish to be loved in spite of what is worst in me, but because of what is worst in me”. Houellebecq also contrasts his own bleak outlook with Lévy’s humanitarian concern for victims: “In a case of war I would be among those who will have fought very little, and badly . . . those who are indifferent to the fate of democracy, the Free French, Chechnya or the Basque country . . . . I am among the legions of people who endure History, and are basically only interested in what concerns them or their loved ones directly. I find it extremely unpleasant to think that the selfish and cowardly course I stick to should make me more likeable in the eyes of my contemporaries than you, who are advocating heroism”. The clash between the philosopher’s worthy, wordy prose and the novelist’s wry, world-weary style is well brought out in this exchange.


Too Early for Beer So Have a Heineken

from the Facebook group I bet i can find 1,000,000 people who dislike Heineken

De drie directeurs van Maes, Heineken en Jupiler nemen elke ochtend om 10 over 7 de trein naar het werk. Op een zekere ochtend is er een vertraging en ze besluiten samen iets te gaan drinken. Ze stappen een café binnen waar ze meer dan 120 verschillende bieren hebben. De directeur van Maes roept : "Patron, drie Maeskes alstublieft." Nadat hun glas leeg is, roept de directeur van Heineken: "Hallo, barman, kan jij ons nog effe drie Heinekens serveren alsjeblief." Nadat deze uit zijn, is het de beurt aan de directeur van Jupiler: "Patron, drie Heineken alstublieft!" De directeurs van Maes en Heineken schrikken op en kijken elkaar verwonderd aan. Plots zegt die van Heineken: "Man, hoe kan dat nu ? Je bent directeur van Jupiler en je bestelt drie Heineken ? "Wel, ja," zegt de directeur van Jupiler, op zijn uurwerk kijkend, "'t Is nog wat vroeg om bier te drinken !"

zondag, januari 25, 2009

Happy 250th, Mr Burns


Rant of the Day

One, Gordon d'Andilly, writes: "Oh for crying out loud! Can all these outraged sensitive souls just drop it now. Yes, we get the message you don't like Jonathan Ross, we understand you think the licence fee is too high, pointless, an outrage etc etc etc ...

"I am so bored by this false moral outrage by the same bunch of half-baked, slightly loony fruitcakes that crawl out of the woodwork every time something someone may find funny/offensive is aired ... there was very little wrong in September, there is nothing wrong now. Go away! Go back to reading the Daily Mail and the Watchtower and leave normal people alone."


Suicide Invoice by Hot Snakes


Photograph: Patrick Bernard/AFP/Getty Images


50 reasons to make it to France

If I hear another word about the plunge of the pound against the euro, I shall start shooting. I know all about it, thank you.
I live in France, am paid mainly in sterling and so now rely on squirrel traps for the Sunday lunch.
But, despite this new and frisky relationship with the food chain, I shall not be leaving. The landscape – sea, mountains, rivers, forests and lakes – assembles the best of Europe in one country. That costs nothing. Nor does the politeness and general decorum. It’s still possible to take a midnight stroll in a city centre without being vomited upon.
The Beat Goes On




Good Ole Slavoj

while retaining an inner distance and indifference toward the mad dance of accelerated process


dinsdag, januari 20, 2009

The Growing Concern These Twats Don't Know Wot They're Doing

Alistair Darling today insisted he was right to use hundreds of billions of taxpayers' money in a fresh bail-out of the banking sector, saying the recession would be much worse if he did not act.

And that's because Alistair Darling doesn't have a clue about what he's doing. The answer is throw more money into it, like a gambler trying to overcome massive losses by continuing to gamble more and more until there is nothing left to gamble with.

Gordon Brown told a Downing Street press conference that the loss showed the consequences of "irresponsible lending"

Consequences to whom? The bank fat cats on multi-million dollar bonuses they will never have to give back?

Brown, demonstrating yet again a propensity for being wrongwrongwrong, claims that his first priority is "hard-working families who are worried about whether they can afford or get a mortgage and businesses who work hard every day to employ people. They need credit and lending to be made. They need the banks to do their job that the banks say they are there to do. What we want to see is for businesses to get the money they need to create jobs and secure the future..."


So why not give THEM the fucking money instead of the banks who have already demonstrated a clear me-first penchant for irresponsible lending to crony millionaires, most of whom aren't even doing business in the country and continue to fuck over the very people Brown and his Monkey Brigade allege they want to help?

Why throw more money at the banks when £32 billion didn't convince the banks to free up credit?

Just because the only answer Gordon Brown knows is throw money to the banks? Feed the addiction?

Wby doesn't the government tell the banks to fuck off and use these absurd bail-out sum to guarantee savings and create a massive fund for small businesses and hard-working families to borrow from?

Ok, the government are inefficient, corrupt and well, in the pocket of the banks, that's for sure, but logically, instead of giving the money away, dropping it into a black bit bank bailout, why not just admit the banks are fucked and use the money to help people directly?

Ah yes, public anger grows at "irresponsible banks" blablabla - so why are we giving these irresponsible institutions MORE money? And why aren't the thieves and idiots who ran these banks into the ground fighting legal charges to save their lives and having every penny they own sucked back into the government funds?

Frank Dobson, a former Health Minister, said these "severe constraints" should encompass the pay and bonuses of bank bosses, adding that the measures unveiled by Alistair Darling would be acceptable to the public only if they were accompanied by "strict national and international regulation" to prevent further economic catastrophes.

Fuck that. Fuck severe constraints in the future. Make these fuckers pay NOW. They aren't bankrupt, just the banks they ran into the ground. Make THEM pay everything they have, leave THEM penniless, not the rest of us.

Ok, ok. Rant is over.



On to more pleasant things, better news: Obama's inauguration, a Day for Hope.

President-elect Barack Obama and others participated in a "Day of Service" to help commemorate the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King.


Oh yeah, and if you live in Arizona or Pittsburgh, for the next two weeks you're probably going to be happy because YOU'RE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL

And if you live in Manchester and support Man City you're probably going to be pretty unfucking happy because Kaka ent coming to town.

zondag, januari 18, 2009

Eastern European Unrest

Does the misery ever end for these poor bastids? After years of singing in the shadows of the Soviet Union, standing in bread queues and suffering bitter cold they get a little freedom, a little breathing space and now all hell's gonna break out on the Eastern front.

"Eastern Europe is heading for a violent "spring of discontent", according to experts in the region who fear that the global economic downturn is generating a dangerous popular backlash on the streets."

Breakdown in public order, the theme song of 2009.

Layoffs followed by reduction in tax revenue followed by cut backs in state budgets, discontent, anger, riots. It's a pattern of cause and effect spreading like an air borne virus.

"These are often fragile economies ... with brittle political structures, political parties that are not very well formed and weak institutions. They are ill-prepared for what has hit them," Eyal said. "Last year it was the core western European countries which were shaky; now it is the weaker periphery that are getting the full blast of the crisis."


Balkan Hardcore, Pop Culture and Paramilitarism...

"The combination of "porno-nationalism," media overload and constant propaganda across music, television and print could be characterised as a type of "kineto-catastrophism" using speed, immersion and overload as terrorising, mobilizatory forces, bringing to mind Ulrike Meinhof's critique of what she termed konsumteror: the deliberate and violent instillment of a compulsion to consume."


Meanwhile in France, they are turning to hardcore feminism;

"Baise-moi (translation: Fuck Me) lit the touchpaper for a new movement of French extremism in cinema and literature. The movie, which starred two former porn actresses, proved so shocking that it became the first film in France to be banned for 28 years and was only released after an outcry from anti-censorship campaigners.

With its depictions of graphic sex and nihilistic violence, the film has become the visual mascot of a new wave of hardcore feminism in France that seeks to subvert traditionally male boundaries with a savage and frequently uncomfortable honesty."


Speaking of Fuck Me, hold on to your seats, kiddies but it looks like there's a fresh banking crisis set to undo the British economy and send it all reeling into bankruptcy

"Unless we act quickly, decisively and cleverly, the difficulties of our banks could overwhelm us, triggering an enormous run on the pound. Britain, in short, risks bankruptcy."

Yes, as we innocently spend our weekend on relaxtion and keeping out of the pelting rain and gale-force winds, the Brown Boys are sequesetered hammering out another "emergency package" to save the British government. It reminds one of the patient that won't die, the Generalisimo Francisco Franco of the world economy. Just die already. Let's get on with the future and stop bailing out the fat cats, some say from the peanut gallery.


Whilst we have nearly unfettered misery all round, the world is preparing itself for Obama's coming out party which will hopefully lighten the mood for a minute or two before we plunge back into the rollercoaster misery of fear and doom we've been riding on for the last six months.

Even the auld 9:30 club in DC is getting into the act with a "America Feels Kinda Cool Again Inaugural Gala" will feature the Beastie Boys, Sheryl Crow and Citizen Cope


Last night's movies: one heavily depressive (although I sense it was meant to be uplifting trust me, it isn't...) Seven Pounds, yet another Will Smith is the nicest human being alive vehicle...it does holds one interest for awhile whilst you try and figure out what the fuck he's up to in the early stages.

and on the other end of the scale, uproariously funny and just too goddamned truthful for its own good and oddly, virtually unavailable on youtube for some strange, heavy-handed reason, Chris Rock's Kill the Messenger.

You will laugh, guaranteed. At some point.

And finally, Mr Madonna's heavily panned Rockandrolla which proves yet again you can take a horse to the same fucking watering hole over and over but eventually, there won't be any water left...

vrijdag, januari 16, 2009

Dick Clarke And The Dickless Lightbulbs

"that ain't no dress,
that's a rag!"

10. I'll Want Complete Control (this is solely an act. the real agenda is
you can turn dogs into cats. No one knows why. No one takes credit.
Not even God.)

9. One Saturday, I Spent The Entire Afternoon Caluclating Litres Into Gallons,
Pounds into powder, the exchange rate to the money-less.

8. She played guitar because socially, she was disfunctional.

7. If You Like The Dream, Fuck It and Return It To The Manufacturers
and ask for birth control.

6. They will love each other in georgeous moments
and indifference in every other hour.

5. Somehow the praying will create a television
and with it, somnambulism.

4. She loves me, she loves me not.

3. I will cry because it's in the script.
If it were up to me, I'll take a granite face
on Mount Rushmore.

2. How fucking vain can one man be,

1. Here we find ourselves, intertwined.
Let's hope we can unravel ourselves.

dinsdag, januari 13, 2009

Did you ever indulge yourself in something you knew was simply never going to amount to anything positive of productive?

Aye, here I am, two mornings running, working out in the gym with this MTV show on the telly transfixing me called Life of Ryan.

Now don't get me wrong, it's an utterly rubbish, phony and predictable show in the same vein as all other rubbish, phony, predictable pseudo-reality shows produced by MTV.

I couldn't care less about the content but in these last miserable days in Merry Ole with it being dark, windy, wet and cold, what captured my eye were the shots of San Clemente and the beautiful beaches which, if you live in England, you might simple stumble over drooling over.

England versus San Clemente (cheers to View from Above for the hideous overview of Leeds which helps prove my point...

And naturally thinking about San Clemente got me thinking about Nixon, which naturally led to Frost/Nixon, which I've liked but have fallen asleep two nights running trying to finish wathching....

zondag, januari 11, 2009

Ominous Leaflets

Gaza Intensifying

"The Israel Defense Forces will intensify shortly its directed operation against tunnels, weapon storehouses and members of terrorist groups all over Gaza. For your safety and that of your family you are asked to stay away from terrorist elements and from places where terrorist operations occur. Please continue abiding by our orders.”

Probably easier said than done. Question is, where to go when the borders are closed?


Good, albeit somewhat depressing film last night, frequently acclaimed of late = the story of a man wrestling with his own mortality, his failings and failures as well as his passion

Soundtrack by Springsteen, an added bonus...

Also watched a somewhat quirky Vicky Cristina Barcelona, directed by Woody Allen - you get the feeling at times that a bunch of fit birds are simply reciting Allen dialogue so transparent as it becomes at time. And whilst Scarlett Johansson is a real pleasure to watch from all angles, it's nothing to do with her acting, which is beautifully dull and uninspired. Rarily does so little elicit so much attention.


Although the overhyped and uinspirational bands at Mother's Ruin (VILE IMBECILES and LOADED MOMENT)were a disappointment, Friday night was saved by the performance of The Ten Pound Suit Band at Tantric Jazz.

donderdag, januari 08, 2009

Putin's Plot To Freeze Europe Into Compliance Might Backfire

It is hard to see Vladimir Putin’s gas war paying off. Yesterday, in ordering Gazprom to turn off the tap to the European pipelines running through Ukraine, he made it into a challenge to the EU, not just to the perpetually collapsing Government in Kiev. The Russian Prime Minister makes no secret of his determination to use the state gas monopoly as a weapon. Any pretence that this is a commercial row between a gas supplier and a customer is ridiculous.

Putin says "Ukraine has stolen gas not from Russia, but from consumers who have bought the product and paid for it,"

via ice age now

Not that it matters much, arguing semantics when Britain's cold snap has seen temperatures drop so drastically that the sea off the south coast froze over.

and yes of course whilst the thieves energy suppliers in the UK are gradually easing their own stranglehold over the public, this crisis could jack the prices right back up. Oh conspiracies!

this fucking war reports
Several EU countries have introduced emergency restrictions on natural-gas use. On Wednesday Ukraine, which has built up large reserves, also said it may need to curb usage for domestic consumers. Russian imports account for about a quarter of the EU's total natural-gas consumption, and 80% of those Russian imports come via Ukraine.

Alternatively, a little piss-taking on the matter via Fuck France; commentary is golden.

Lonah: is a young French rock band. Music available on Jamendo

(not brill copy but an example nonetheless)



Everyone on board the Atheist Bus

There's Probably No God, Stop Worrying:

dinsdag, januari 06, 2009

newsworthy of note today, so far.

Hidden amid the usual blahblahblahs about the current Big Chill of 09 is the startling insinuation that While the icy weather is predicted to last until the weekend, scientists at the Met Office in London and the University of East Anglia said this year's average global temperature would be more than 0.4C above the long-term average, which would make 2009 one of the five hottest years on record.

Imagine that whilst you can always get warmer from the cold, ie throwing on more layers, more logs in the fire, turn the heat up, stay at work longer, whatever, staying cool in a steaming hot country with little airco is the stuff of a very unpleasant summer. Let's hope they're off the mark as usual. Bring on the dreary British summer!


hints for weekends the rest of the year - basically something to do every weekend although not all of it is either practical or, particularly interesting. Best of the early bunch?

MAY 29-31 Ashburton Blues Festival The problem with Glastonbury and Reading and all those other festivals is that you can’t hear the words. And it’s not music, it’s noise; so disgruntled dads should head instead to the equally ancient Dartmoor town of Ashburton, for three days of proper music that you can tap your feet to. Headlining on the Saturday are Nine Below Zero, while Sunday sees 1960s favourites the Animals rocking out. Tickets for the weekend cost £70 (www.ashburtonbluesfestival.com ); doubles at Gages Mill Country Guest House (01364 652391, www.gagesmill.co.uk ) cost £74 per night.


nothing much on this photo, just amused me - basically related to an article about the dimming of the diamond market in Antwerpen. Per the article, Antwerpen remains one of the world’s few centers of spoken Yiddish. Besides the great beer (Antwerpen pub guide found here, the architecture, art, etc, yet another reason I'm making Antwerpen my City to Visit this Spring.

zondag, januari 04, 2009

Back after a year and a half's absence, wow. Let's hope it lasts.

So here are some of the most recent things to link to:


První ceská filmová reality show Ceský sen


Paris je t'aime.

granted, both of these are not recent films just films I've recently seen which I consider to be the same thing :)

Now, as for activities, there's the FA CUP match on TERRESTRIAL telly, magod, sports on (reasonably free) tv! featuring Aston Villa against Gillingham. Billed as a "dogfight" which is an odd term for two football teams competing in an historic national cup.

or, if travel is in the cards, how about a steam-driven real Ale train

Free gig at Louisiana today/night featuring, among others, Weston Super Mare's own This Summer Sunrise.

others on the calendar check out Bristol Bands which sadly, The Bad Pandas have yet to appear on.

Interesting read, particularly here in Brizzle:

the Seagull Menace (great name for a local band if it were...) - in any event, the Rise of the Urban Seagull; let the culling begin....