keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
One of the few half-decent legacies of the outpouring of bollocks that accompanied the centenary of the Easter Rising is the Belfast finally has a statue of James Connolly to call its own. I've passed it plenty of times on the bus on my way to the match but, until today, I hadn't actually viewed it in the flesh. Still, here it is for all to enjoy.



Long overdue. Heck even Chicago has had one for years and the Americans are so right-wing that they label bloodthirsty capitalist monsters like the Clintons as leftists. Still everyone's a critic and I'm no exception. Inevitably it reflects the hobby horses of the modern "republican" movement so there's a whole bit about the Irish language tacked on to make sure it gels with Sinn Fein's only policy these days (seriously, since becoming leader has Michelle O'Neill done anything apart from witter on endlessly about Erse whilst standing around looking like a hot milly?). Given Connolly's at-best lukewarm reception to the Gaelic movement and his actual preference for Esperanto it seems rather irrelevant but I suppose the Sinners aren't going to include expositions of syndicalism while they were busy administering Tory rule. But I digress.

One other thing - is it just me or does the way the statue is modelled make him look like he was about four and a half feet tall? OK, photographic evidence suggests he was by no means tall (although Jim Larkin was a huge man for his time) but equally he looked about average otherwise and had a stocky build from his years of soldiering whereas the statue has him like a wee scrawny leprechaun. OK, it's in west Belfast and I know blokes are smaller up there (I'm about 6'3" or so but I feel like a seven footer on the Falls sometimes) but let's aim for accuracy. Mind you, I'm sure I could have done a lot better, I don't think.

Still either way, notwithstanding the tacked on Irishian stuff or his tiny, frail body it's good to at last have a statue of Irish republicanism's best ever adherent in my own town and I'll proudly salute my comrade when I pass. Well, something good had to come out of last year, didn't it?!
keresaspa: (Homer rage)
You'll forgive me if I pass on the end of year survey thing this time out as, for more reasons than I care to remember, I'll have little desire to recall 2016 in the future. But nonetheless I'll draw a veil on this most egregious of twelvemonths in my own time-honoured fashion:

Top 100 Artists of the Year )
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Hell, even I think I've been away too often recently. The joys of growing up in a warzone, I suppose. And let it be known too that the following load of old rambling nonsense should have been published yesterday but my internet provider decided to give me a day of no service just to remind me who the boss is. Thanks as ever Virgin Media, I would denounce you as vermin but recent events have drawn me closer to that class of creature. Intrigued? Didn't think so but read on anyway, it's good for chilblains.

Read more... )
keresaspa: (Tijuana toad)
Once again conflagration has broken out in Northern Ireland. Let the Assembly conspire with their masters in Westminster to dismantle the welfare state, punish the poor, wipe out the DLA that supports the ex-paramilitaries and slowly but surely kill off the NHS and the boys will happily sit on their hands (a criticism equally relevant to both sides, admittedly). But pass a law saying the symbol of one side should not fly permanently over the council chambers of the capital and once again the loyalist hordes come out in force, channelling the spirit of Ulster Day, the Ulster Workers Council and the Ulster Clubs by bringing intimidation, violence and disruption to all until their intransigent demands are met. I mean it's not as if the council has voted to hoist the starry plough from the City Hall but still the usual fascist response ensues as the working class Protestant hordes, stoked on by their upper middle class master in the Unionist parties, take to the streets to bully their way to what they want. Where but Northern Ireland would people take to the streets and attack political offices for something so bloody conformist as flying the union flag? Other countries get their "springs" we get an uprising in favour of hierarchy and dominance with a section of the working class unleashing violence in order that they might now their place a little bit more.

Of course the RUC will never go against their own, no matter what they call themselves these days. In England peaceful protesters with genuine grievances are treated like dirt, corralled like cattle and baton charged into a bloody pulp whilst if the Fenians went around smashing up buildings and attacking the filth the plastic bullets would be out quicker than you can say "Robert Hamill" but loyalist mobs are, as usual, free to do what they please when they please. Meanwhile the response of homophobic young earth creationist and hospital closer-in-chief Edwin Poots? Punish the violence by giving them their precious butcher's apron flying from Stormont too. Christ, if he worked for free his wages would be too high! If all those Egyptian protesters still haven't worked out that the difference between dictatorship and democracy is that in the latter you get to pick which inept, corrupt, power-hungry idiots get to order you about then let them look to Poots for confirmation.

In the interest of balance however I will give a rare bit of credit to Peter Robinson for at least attempting to offer a moderate, reasoned response. However I noticed he stopped short of condemning it, no doubt mindful of the votes he'll be seeking in East Belfast in 2015. Good to see that Hilary Clinton has condemned the violence though. Yup, nothing better than some bigshot American breezing in to pat us on the head and tell us how we should all get along with one hand, whilst giving a thumbs up to Israeli genocide with the other. Bugger off home, Hil, you're input is not needed and you've had your run in the pity job that Obama gifted you after wiping the floor with you in the Democratic primaries.

I must admit my sympathy for the Alliance is limited in this issue. They have followed the lonely path of well-heeled moderation previously followed by the Ulster Liberal Party and the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland but, as Humpty-Dumpty so succinctly demonstrated, when you spend all your time sitting in the fence (or wall in the Eggman's case) you will eventually have a great fall. Naomi Long might be seeking to portray herself as a great heroine but, whether by choice or not, she owes her seat in Westminster to the UVF as, without the endorsement of Stephen Matthews at the last election she would still be parking her ample rump on the cold benches of the City Hall rather than the plush loungers of the Palaces of Westminster. Matthews could just as easily have roused his supporters and stooges on the Newtownards Road, Sydenham, Dundonald and the rest to vote for Trevor Ringland or David Vance in order to force Robbo out but he anointed Long and obviously in return it was expected that she and her party would play ball. They haven't and so the special relationship is over. David Ford's decision to leave Marian Price to her fate means that the Alliance have already made republicanism their enemy so by falling foul of the loyalists they have painted themselves into a corner. But them's the breaks. They've been as complicit in the cuts-happy cosiness of the Assembly as anybody else so sorry about your damn luck.

So, plus ça change really as some silly little concession is made, loyalists react like mindless animals and bugger all is done to stop them. It would be funny if the whole thing wasn't so depressingly interminable.
keresaspa: (Max Miller)
Being pedantic is always fun but it really has been like shooting fish in barrel where Jonathan Pearce has been concerned this last week. Jonny opened his commentary on the Serbia-Germany match by telling us that we have to go back to 1938 for the last time Germany didn't make the last eight. Well Pearcey, leaving aside the fact that no team representing Germany as a whole appeared after the war until 1994, I reckon you'll find that the 1950 World Cup featured no German team at any stage as apparently they were persona non grata for some reason. As for this match, both teams started OK, with the Serbs at least better than their dismal showing in the first match. However it very quickly became clear that the referee fancied being the centre of attention, even if for Mick McCarthy a defender who commits murder probably wouldn't deserve a booking. To be fair to McCarthy he is a droll kind of guy and, although I'm not a big fan of the Americanised concept of a "color [sic] commentator", he is one of the better ones to fill that role for the Beeb. He is not at the level of Martin Keown who, despite being an evil gorilla as a player, is a measured, intelligent man of few, but important, words in this role but he is certainly a mile better than Mark Lawrenson, who is the absolute pits as co-commentator. Still, right he was about the ref who ballsed the game up good and proper with the sending-off of Klose and a tendency to wave cards about for fun. The goal was not the sort that a German side would ever concede and it is surely a weakness in Jogi's team that they reacted so badly to the red card. Once again the Serbs gave away a daft handball penalty but luckily for them the resulting kick was a stinker. It boggles the mind that Nemanja Vidic, a player even an ABU like me will admit is pure class, can make such a rookie mistake but luckily for him Lukas Podolski has the first touch of a Shunosaurus. Indeed were The Topper to come back to life and then introduce a strip about Podolski the most used phrase would probably be "erkle". Well, it could happen! A shock then, but one dictated too much by a Hollywood ref and one that I found myself struggling to become too interested in, perhaps because both mobs are hard to warm to.

For the next game the American boys took to the field wearing a fetching little shirt that incorporated a sash design (right). Not sure what it reminded me of! Another game that I wasn't expecting an awful lot from but I should have known that a good show was in the offing when Clint Dempsey threw an elbow and floored a guy in the first minute. One thing is for sure, what with this and a few other nasty ones later on, Dempsey would have been sent off PDQ by the previous referee. The Slovenians showed a lot more in the early goings than they had in the whole of their earlier win and Birsa's goal was a bit of magic and well deserved. The second goal came from nowhere, a few seconds after the Americans had almost equalised, and Onyewu had a bit of a mare here. Certainly this particular Gooch would not have bossed Arnold Jackson around in Diff'rent Strokes. Good to see Rangers own Maurice Edu make an appearance at half time - I wonder if he asked his team-mate DaMarcus Beasley to drive him to the match? His appearance also reminded me of Freddy Adu, who not so many years ago was being built up as the new Pele but is now apparently not even good enough for this limited squad. The new Nii Lamptey perhaps? Still back to the match and Landycakes goal was an absolute peach whilst soon it was Slovenia’s turn to get lucky as Suler could easily have been sent off too. Route one equaliser from the boss's son (no DNA test needed for those doppelgangers) and by that time the match was genuinely end to end at times. Good old Edu was unfortunate to have his goal disallowed although to be fair the ref blew before he struck and it may have caused the Slovenian defence to stand still. In the end neither team seemed willing to muster the necessary oomph to grab a winner but a draw was probably the fairest result. Really neither team looked that good but their limitations helped to make this a hell of a spectacle and either one of them could make the next round with a bit of luck.

Then the big one as mighty England strode majestically to the field, the boy Rooney imperious in his skills and Capello, like the grand master tactician that he is, making nought but the right moves. With the hopes of a nation on their shoulders and God on their side the brave Three Lions overcame the insurmountable odds placed before them and held Algeria to a 0-0 draw. But to be serious, for all the bile heaped on Steve McClaren and all the talk of how great Don Fabio is that performance was every bit as insipid as anything the so-called Wally with the Brolly served up. My only hope is that the drum-beaters will allow a bit of realism to enter in and realise that Rooney has looked ordinary at best, that England have no goalkeepers and a central defence held together by masking tape (in part cause by said Don Fabio opting to call up a player in Ledley King who has been playing injured for the last few years), that their two best midfielders can't be in the same country let alone the same team and that any team forced to rely on the likes of Emile Heskey can never consider itself serious contenders for a World Cup. That's the hope anyway but I know the reality will be different when they squeeze past Slovenia and suddenly the last two games are written off as a dress rehearsal. Credit to Algeria who gave as good as they got but from where I was sitting it just looked like two decidedly ordinary teams playing out a bore draw. If they're world-beaters then it must be a pretty lame world.

Finally in a complete change of pace from recent rubbish here's a little meme donated by [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks that works thus:

1. Reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. List (and upload, if you feel like it) 5 songs that start with that letter.
3. Post them to your journal with these instructions.

I've been given "F" by old Mr. Dirtymind but if you want uploads you can whistle as the ins and outs of illegal downloads are a total mystery to me. And by heck but f is a hard letter to find good songs for!

1) Flor de Azalea - Jorge Negrete Puro ranchero I believe they call it. I'm no expert on Mexican music (conjuntos are another matter but strictly speaking those are Mexican emigrant bands) but I know what i like and this brassy lament sounds good to me, even if it is little more than a Mexican equivalent of the sort of nonsense Gene Kelly and his ilk used to belt out on cheesy extravaganzas.

2) Fine Girl - Frank Zappa One of Zappa's finest pieces of work from the 80s, this disco parody sits well amongst his finer works. As always it's a joy to hear his trademark deeper than the abyss "Yeah" whilst the total collapse of the tune into Pompey chimes style choral nonsense at the end is hilarious.

3) Free Jah Jah Children - Sugar Minott Sugar ran the gamut in reggae stakes, including some ill-advised diversions into lovers rock, but his roots period produced some high quality work, including this bit of Studio One Rasta lark. A pity that he got caught up in the whole dancehall nonsense but we'll always have this.

4) Flying Jelly Attack - Shonen Knife Have to include my girls, don't I? A song recorded by them a few times but the definitive version appeared on Let's Knife and the gibberish lyrics are so adorable it's untrue. In fact here's a decent live version for you all to enjoy, even if they did play it better when I saw them :)

5) Fu*k the USA - The Exploited Perhaps unfair of me to include this song after their performance today but it is a classic. Wattie and the boys attempt to take on the uncertainties of the late Cold War period and come up with a strong rebuke to the excesses of Reaganomics. Actually it's just a bunch of indecipherable shouting and a sing-along sweary chorus but you have to love it. It's to my life-long disappointment that Hillary Clinton didn't take my advice and use it as her campaign theme tune. Who knows where she would be if she had (the poor house most likely).

Took it out of me did that. I'm ready for bed!
keresaspa: (Fletch)
Yowzah what a day. Quite productive all things considered but more than a little exhausting. One of the books I ordered through the library here is subject to some pretty hefty security restrictions as it can only be consulted in the library itself and cannot be photocopied (though I may well just ignore that diktat in the coming days). In some ways it's a good thing as I bombed through the main chapter I needed in record speed whilst were I allowed to take it home it would probably have nestled unloved for a few days until I finally took a first cursory glance at it. On the other hand the very dry academic language and the unfortunate fact that it is German in origin, leading to some clunky translations, the failure to translate of a load of terms from German, assumptions about familiarity with German academic literature that I have never heard of and the use of those crappy German inverted commas where the first set are underneath the word, meant that it was a hard read to say the least. Still, the main chapter is done and dusted and as such I can forget about it for now whilst possibly have a more leisurely look at some of the other, less important chapters in the next week or so. But still, gah!

Elsewhere I am glad to see that Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. Not, you understand, because I am particularly enamoured of Hussein (I believe I have already stated my reservations about him) but because the whole thing has dragged on so long that I have lost what little interest I had in it to begin with. Also Hillary Clinton and her mob have run such a dirty campaign that justice could only prevail by her being sent packing and it has also been annoying that she has insisted on dragging things out so long when even Nick Griffin in an eye patch could see that she has had no chance of winning for ages. Personally if I was Obama I would tell her to go hell with regards to the Vice-Presidency but alas the world rarely works like that.

Meanwhile I see that Brigitte Bardot has been at her nasties again. I despair of Brigitte, I really do. I have thought about this many times but have ultimately decided that I am comfortable liking her for her films, music and hey-hey factor whilst simultaneously being repulsed by her for her wicked ideas. Does that make me a hypocrite? Quite possibly, but it wouldn't be the first time! Oh, and despite her advancing years and the general agreement that her looks have deserted her I reckon I still would. Yes, I am a scoundrel of the first water. I'm not surprised that the prosecution stemmed from her foolishly publishing the letter herself rather than any action from the recipient Nicolas Sarkozy - the little man who can't probably agreed with every word written.

Anyway, that's my two-penneth worth for today as non-stop work and summer opening hours have come together in a pact of steel to rob me of time. Until next time, bye.
keresaspa: (Lester and Eliza)
Well, the hi-fi saga continues unabated. Man with black moustache came round last night and opened the bleeder up. He was able to diagnose the problem but was unsure whether or not it was fixable. Nevertheless he took it away with him to have a better go at it and will get back to me in the next few days, with the outside possibility of a gratis replacement if he can't manage it. Fingers crossed and all that, although not having the thing is terribly frustrating, especially as I have just come into possession of albums by Aucan and Puffy AmiYumi and am keen to hear them from something other than a crappy old telly. Still, I must be patient I suppose. Lousy minor setbacks!

So, what else is happening? Well, we did have Hillary Clinton winning Pennsylvania. I've spoke very little about this US election contest and there are two main reasons for that. On the one hand I believe it is already being given too much coverage in this neck of the woods. Whatever its importance on a world scale it is still a load of pre-election hoo-ha in a foreign country and the BBC in particular need to realise that we don't need to hear about it constantly. The other reason is that I don't think any of the three of them will make that much difference on the world stage. John McCain will be just another Bush, going gung-ho into everywhere bringing this supposedly great democracy through daisy-cutters and enforced masturbation. Barack Obama has already stated that he would consider duffing up parts of Pakistan if the notion took him whilst Hillary Clinton has already nailed her pro-Israeli colours to the mast and threatened to obliterate Iran. All in all, a pretty crappy shower all things considered and not worth wasting my fingers typing over. Whoever wins (and for God's sake get on with it as the whole thing is becoming interminable) nothing much will change and for me they will end up being as memorable as James K. Polk, Benjamin Harrison or George Bush senior (well, if it wasn't for the TV age he would have been long forgotten by now).

Anyway, that's enough for now as I feel the tobacco cravings nibbling gently at my brain so if you'll excuse me I must give into them.
keresaspa: (Buster Keaton)
So Gordon is a definite then. Surprise, surprise. The only thing left to decide is who gets the really very useful job of taking over from Prescott. And what a motley bunch of buggers they are. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree but we'll make an exception in the case of Hilary Benn. The fact that a sleazy tosser like him came from Tony's loins beggars belief. Hazel Blears is an Islamophobic witch whilst Peter Hain is a law-and-order Paisley-loving knobhead. I hated Harriet Harman from the moment I clapped eyes on her as she summed up that early Blairite thing of promoting faceless women who never had an original idea in their lives just to get a bit less penis on the front bench. Alan Johnson is also one of these big ideas that are never thought through types that New labour seems to be stuffed with. Of them all I would probably give Jon Cruddas the most benefit of the doubt for his rejection of constant middle-class vote chasing, his rebellion over the tuition fees and his stance about the necessity of tackling the BNP rather than just hoping they'll go away if ignored. Mind you, he probably has bugger all chance and would be a disappointment if he did make it. Bloody politics.

Speaking of politics, a doff of the hat to [livejournal.com profile] lady_bogside for pointing me in the direction of that Song for Hillary site. Must admit I only know 2 and 7, although the option of entering your own suggestion was intriguing. Mind you, I doubt Slick Willy's missus will be taking up my proposal and going with the Exploited's charming opus "F*ck the USA". Still, it would be fascinating to see the reactions of the overweight Irish-Americans in dinner jackets at a fundraiser as HC enters the arena Wattie's guttural yells.

Well, FA Cup final tomorrow, which should mean that it will be as productive as my usual Saturday. All the talk of a 'dream final' sounds like a load of crap to me, featuring as it does teams who have made ten appearances combined since 1994. Time was when the likes of Coventry and Southampton used to win this thing but since Everton in 95 it's always been one of the blasted 'big four'. Nightmare final, more like. Just to be contrary, and because I haven't forgotten the arrogant hell that was their success in the 90s, I'll be looking for Chelsea to win this one. That being said, I don't think they will.
keresaspa: (Giant Haystacks pissed as a frt!)
Cherie Blair. Do any two words better sum up the expression "gaffe-prone"? OK, Frank Dobson possibly but old Cherie runs him pretty damn close. A rumpus has recently broken out over her taking American money to slabber for an hour. I must agree with Clare Short that it is completely wrong for her to profit just because she lets the PM give her one, but at the same time it has come as no surprise. Since Tony took over Cherie has been rammed down our throats and this hateful 'cult of celebrity' has seen her bizarre face shoved everywhere. This idea of First Lady is very distasteful and surely yet more evidence of Tony's Americanisation of the office of Prime Minister. To me Blair is simply an MP who has been chosen by the leading party as their leader. Who his wife is is irrelevant and she should be anonymous outside her own field. I don't mean this as a sexist remark about the little wifey, but simply that Cherie Blair is unelected and so should be out of the public eye as far as possible. This ain't the USA and Cherie should stop trying to play the Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton role and instead ape the unassuming background role of Mary Wilson, Norma Major or even Dennis Thatcher. Plus she needed a fair old slap for that book with Melvyn Bragg's wife and for singing 'When I'm Sixty Four' in China. The fare-dodging moo needs to lie low and get out of people's faces for a while.

Got and watched that new Best of ITV Wrestling DVD that's out now. Good stuff mostly. Always a chortle to see that match between Les Kellett (surprisingly still alive) and Leon Aras/Brian Glover, and top stuff seeing my old favourites Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki. Plus the wise decision to defrost Dickie Davis and have him fronting it paid off, as it recalled the good old days when sport broadcasting was a gentleman's pursuit unspoiled by the sort of Generation X extreme close-up, shout at the camera style or the painfully stilted "matey banter", calling co presenters by an abbreviation of their surname ending in O style, both of which control the airwaves now. Some of the action was quite ropey however, and Big Daddy was painfully bad. Hardly a shock to know that it was his brother who booked everything, was it? Still, in all a pleasant way to waste over an hour.

That should do for now. I suppose I should try to do something resembling work. Enjoy.

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