Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Scheme: I’ve avoided this BBC TV show for a while (one of many I purposely stay away from) but I accidently saw some of it last night. A sad and disturbing programme that chronicles the trials, tribulations, despair, stupidity and occasional warmth to be found in “typical” Scottish housing scheme. The turgid and repetitive misery must rankle politicians and do gooders in general as the drug abuse, petty crime and circle of squalor and meaningless behaviour is displayed and negotiated. It’s not a great advertisement for the habitual wearers of Glasgow Rangers football tops either. The message is clear; there is no way out and though they are certainly in need of some it’s hard to summon up sympathy for the real life characters all of whom comply nicely with the middle-class view of schemey stereotypes. I can imagine the smug but guilty feeling voyeuristic viewers sweating over the desperate antics of these victims, wondering were on earth our society is going and what is the point of having any aspirations in a place where socially mobility is actively seen to be running in reverse. The cast last night were both desolate and formidable in a way that makes you want to punch your own head and then the head of any nearby politician:
The gangly, inarticulate junkie who’s in a spiral of dependency, who will look forty-nine on his twenty-fourth birthday and who will be dead before he’s twenty-five.
The teenage trouble maker whom social services try to train and educate but who, despite support and cajoling falls back into robbery and violence when he’s bored or disaffected, which is mostly all the time.
The long suffering mother, robbed and abused by her feral offspring but with no option other than grow older and weaker defending the indefensible.
The teenage mum daubed with cheap make up and bruises, abandoned by her child’s feckless father who tries to build a home and find some meaning. Her clueless and dependant approach to life forever supported by a weak system that will relentlessly churn out another lost generation that will in turn make all the same mistakes.
The rough and evangelical carers, trying to build a community with real teeth on the dead gums of a rotting estate. They struggle to milk funds from a frustrated and broken system only to be forever beaten back by bureaucracy, cost hurdles and the apathy and pithy disregard of their own peers.
A well meaning, careworn gardener creating an oasis of expensive floral colour within the rubble, beaten down grass, strewn litter and graffiti who gets only a second prize (presumably for pluck and persistence) year in year out in the local gardening competition. His appreciative wife looks on and shrugs as he is crushed and denied the glory of a deserved victory.
Watching this a few weeks after the SNP victory and the jingoism and bluster that followed I can’t but worry about the soft underbelly of Scotland and the fatal flaws we all know lurk on the edges of our national psyche. Even the most deluded optimist can see that the difference between this version of a civilised pocket of Scotland and any given Third World shanty town is measured in single figure millimetres. There is a big job to do out there and Cameron’s Big Society doesn’t look tough enough to tackle it just yet.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Higgidy, Piggidy Pie
Oh my, oh my, oh my
Your insides are herby
Your outside is curvy
And all of you tastes divine.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
End of the world etc.: The world isn't going to end on 21st May. How do I know this? The time is not right, quite simply, we're all going to have to wait. The false panics of the fifties and sixties, the apathy of the eighties and nineties and the fuzzy thinking of the present day have convinced me that a) we wont end the world via some nuclear mistake and b) God wont end the world because of his great wrath/master plan/indifference or to honour some Biblical prophecy. We will survive beyond the 21st May and slowly but surely find cures and solutions for cancer, hunger, HIV, poverty and so on. Then just as we think we've cracked it, we're stable and everybody is prosperous the Giant Killer Vampire Penguins will arise from their Antarctic hibernation. They will be hungry for blood and (as they'll strike at night) they'll take us all by surprise. That's about it...can't quite put a precise date on it yet, in fact I may not live to see it...keep looking south though. If I'm wrong then I guess it could be the next big asteroid, I think it's due May 21 2012.
5 mad religions:
Prince Phillip Movement. The Yaohnanen tribe on the island of Tanna worship PP as a god. He's the son of an ancient spirit that lives in a nearby volcano. So now you know (my personal favourite).
The Jon Frum Movement. Another island based cult on Tanna. They believe a wealthy American man called Jon Frum will bring them wealth etc. They await his arrival...any day now.
Jedi-ism. Maybe not completely mad, maybe more tongue in cheek but thanks to George Lucas there are many followers out there who fully believe in the Force.
Raelism. Founded by a French racing driver (Claude Vorihons), they believe that aliens created man 25,000 years ago in their laboratory. The aliens are coming back for us for a meeting up in Jerusalem in 2025, just before the giant penguins get here perhaps.
The Church of All Worlds. A neo-pagan religion that began in 1962 and is based on the fictional religion found in the book “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert A Heinlein.
Unrelated rubbish: I'm very pleased to hear that Princess beatrice is to sell the most famous hat in the world on Ebay and donate the proceeds to charity. I hope this leads to other celebs and members of royal households selling off random wedding related objects (and hats in general if there are any available) in such a decent and generous way. I'll surely put a decent bid in for Prince Billy's dad's Aston Martin.