...from rabbit on the hop.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Monday, 20 December 2010
The young rabbit also saw Beefheart live at the Rainbow, Finsbury Park way back in the late middle ages but the abiding memory has to be his vocal on the Willie the Pimp track on Zappa's Hot Rats album - way up there in the top demented vocal performances list. Oddly, the album took its title not from a title track but from a phrase - from the lyrics of Willie the Pimp. All together now...
I'm a little pimp with my hair gassed back
Pair a khaki pants with my shoe shined black
Got a little lady . . . walk the street
Tellin' all the boys that she cain't be beat
Twenny dollah bill (I can set you straight)
Meet me onna corner boy 'n don't be late
Man in a suit with a bow-tie neck
Wanna buy a grunt with a third party check
Standin' onna porch of the Lido Hotel
Floozies in the lobby love the way I sell:
Beefheart always dabbled in art and in later life gave up music to concentrate on being an artist. We will not see his like again.
Meanwhile in another part of the world of popular music, the now (as in as from last year) traditional attempt to knock the latest piece of Simon Cowell X-Factor dreck [German, dirt, trash and Yiddish drek, excrement, both from Middle High German drec, from Old High German; see sker-3 in Indo-European roots - definition brought to you by rabbit copy and paste services] from the top of the UK Christmas charts has failed due to a failure to agree on one candidate for the alternative. Last year all people of goodwill rallied around Rage Against The Machine but this year dissent has spread itself too widely and thinly. The above demented video is for The Trashmen's Surfin' Bird which came nearest to knocking the Cowell dreck off its Christmas perch, reaching number three while the other alternative candidate - John Cage's silent song '4:33' spilt the troops while only reaching number 21. Beefheart would have approved of all of this no doubt!
Meanwhile as a cutting edge law blog - albeit somewhat belatedly, the rabbit would like to draw the attention of a wider world to the activities of Judge Beatrice Bolton on finding herself on the receiving end of the criminal law. Woof! Woof!
Friday, 17 December 2010
Well I've effected the move back to London. It was a bit of a nightmare as the rabbit and removal van and two nice Lithuanian guys (not Polish) were whizzing nicely down the M40 until we found it was closed down at Juncytion 11 and we were stuck in an enormous tailback which took about an hour and a half of stop and crawl to get through. The knock on effect was hitting the evening rush hour in London and another crawl. Someone from the agents stayed behind to give me the keys, which was nice, and unloading happened very rapidly. My furniture etc is coming out if storage on Sunday so i'm sleeping on a blow up bed for the moment! To be honest, I don't like the flat much but I had to do something and have a six month break clause, which I will invoke. It's good to be back in London, though - apparently pursued from northern parts by another very cold front (see pic from Belfast above). Here are a few more photos of the snowy weather from the BBC website.
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Saturday, 11 December 2010
In the meantime and more seriously than either of the above, a student protester had emergency brain surgery after a police officer hit him on the head with a baton. This story has got somewhat buried in tthe froth about Charles, Camilla and son of Dave Gilmour. There is a general surprise at the extent to which the protests have spilled into violent or - perhaps more accurately - destructive behaviour. Of course this is the behaviour of a minority but the size and determination of the minority is somewhat surprising. Although finding monarchy absurd, I bear Charles no personal ill-will - the tragedy of his life is probably that he finds himself well into his sixties and still in a seemingly endless rehearsal for a part he probably has no wish to play. He would surely be happier as a gentleman farmer being left in peace to indulge such eccentric theories as he may hold - and there are many. The attack on his vehicle added nothing to anything like other outbreaks of deeply unattractive behaviour.
Of course there is a lot of standard issue huffing and puffing about the disorder - although so far as I can gather no police officer or bystander was seriously injured and there was nothing on the same scale as the November Millbank events. Of course there have been counter-accusations as regards police over-reaction - no doubt with considerable force (so to speak) in many cases - how a student comes to be in need of emergency brain surgery requires some serious explaining - which no doubt will not be forthcoming. Certainly the practice of 'kettling' seems a recipe for cranking up the disorder by giving people a sense of being trapped in a kind of cage which they then try to break out of as a fairly elementary response. Just two points for the moment: firstly, although the protests are about tuition fees I suspect that there are a number of other issues bubbling under the surface, which presently lack articulation. If the protests spill over from the narrow issue of tuition fees to broader issues then the government is in huge trouble. When the rabbit was a revolting student the approach to any issue was to look for links with other issues. Secondly, where is the articulation - and in particular the generalising of disparate issues - to come from? It may even be that the extent of the disorder is a kind of blind rage - reflecting the lack of a coherent process of linking. The English notoriously dislike theory but some theorising seems in order. Do not expect the quintessentially useless Labour opposition to provide any of it, though. There's only one song to end with...
Thursday, 9 December 2010
A flying visit as time pressured with move back to London imminent. The above is I suppose a minority taste but raised a smile from the rabbit. Also of interest is a short piece by Deborah Orr in the Grauniad today on Julian Assange's little difficulties with the Swedish criminal justice system. I suspect that she's got about the right feel for the topic. I liked 'Assange hardly comes over as Prince Charming, but...'
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
The first involves complainant A, who said she was the victim of 'unlawful coercion' on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.
The second charge alleged Assange 'sexually molested' Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her 'express wish' one should be used.
The third charge claimed Assange 'deliberately molested' Miss A on 18 August 'in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity'. The fourth charge accused Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.
Apparently in Swedish law rape is not founded on lack of consent but on the concept of 'sexual integrity'.
Assange was remanded in custody on the ground that he may fail to appear, a point underpinned in the mind of the District Judge by his 'lack of community ties' in the UK. This is despite an array of the great and the good including Jemima Khan and Ken Loach presenting themselves to the court to offer themselves as surety. Assange is of good character and had handed himself in voluntarily at Kentish Town Police Station. If he is extradited, apparently all defendants in Sweden go into custody (this somewhat surprises the rabbit as he was brought up to believe that the presumption of bail follows the presumption of innocence) but there is a two week timescale for charges and a three week timescale for trial. It would be interesting to know what the maximum penalties are for these offences - no doubt all will become clear. Below is the car carrying Assange arriving at court.
Now the US is undoubtedly out to get Assange. Are the extradition proceedings a part of this attack? At the risk of getting all lawyerish I think that the answer at the moment is 'no evidence'. At present, I don't buy it. The more likely view on present information is that Swedish prosecutors are doing some serious grandstanding. The US attack takes different forms. There is a lot of extreme rhetoric emanating form the US right calling for Assange to be variously executed, 'taken out' or 'neutralised'. It will be interesting to see if there is a serious attempt to extradite him to the US in due course. The problem appears to be that it is highly debatable whether he has committed an offence under US law. Oh and Swedish prosecutors say they will not hand him over - though whether such resolve would last following an extradition request remains to be seen.
For the moment, the attack appears to be twofold. Firstly, WikiLeaks links keep being taken down. The rabbit link here is frozen. It hasn't gone down but it is generally stuck. Secondly, US pressure is undoubtedly being brought to bear on commercial bodies to cut off WikiLeaks' sources of finance. Mastercard and Visa have suspended their links with WikiLeaks. PayPal and Swiss Bank Post Finance have also removed support for WikiLeaks. In the meantime hackers or 'hacktivists' have launched a counterattack named 'Operation Payback' and succeeded in closing down the Mastercard website. PayPal and Post Finance have also been on the receiving end of the hackers' attention.
Some comment has been made as regards things you can still do with your Mastercard etc. Well you can still join the Ku Klux Klan. They do have certain rather rigorous criteria. 'You must be a free white male or female of European descent, at least 18 years of age' they announce. Warming to their theme the would be member gathers that 'you must not be married to or date people of other races, nor have mixed race dependants, this includes adopted children'. Uh-huh. Furthermore
'under NO circumstances will we accept for associateship: homosexuals, atheists, or those who have been found mentally insane'. The capitalised NO presumably makes these things clear enough.
Nearer to home, anyone wishing to join the BNP can do so using an array of plastic: Visa/Visa Electron, Mastercard, Solo and Delta.
Then seek help.
Of course the BNP had to comply with that pesky equality legislation to render itself legal. The British People's Party , the body for people who consider the BNP insufficiently nuts, has no such grudging compliance with equality legislation. Would be members have to 'declare that I am of European descent and that I will work in whatever way I can to further the aims of White Nationalism'. We are in KKK territory here. They have lots of jolly merchandising, including a classy Adolf Hitler bust previously featured on White Rabbit, but with lots of new stuff too such as a tasteful SS Death's Head patch.
Visa, Mastercard etc do not deal with the BPP but there is a link to a PayPal account - another body to remove its link with WikiLeaks. In fairness, PayPal may not know who they are dealing with. If they did no doubt they would remove the link pronto. Wouldn't they?
By way of a little light relief, here are some Cadbury's Smash adverts. Smash was an instant mashed potato mixture from the 1960s/70s when such a thing was considered a pretty neat idea. Smash (they may still make it for all I know) tasted thoroughly nasty but their ads were pure quality. Enjoy!
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
'Kinkering Congs their titles take' (Conquering Kings their titles take)
'The Lord is a shoving leopard' (loving shepherd)
To a lady during an Oxford college reception 'You'll soon be had as a matter of course' (You'll soon be mad as a hatter of course)
'A well-boiled icicle' (A well-oiled bicycle)
'He was killed by a blushing crow' (He was killed by a crushing blow)
By all accounts a kindly, shortsighted and academically outstanding man, Spooner nonetheless muddled not only words but entire concepts, once stating of a widow that 'her husband was eaten by missionaries'
This is all very well, the rabbit hears you cry, but what's this got to do with anything? Enter James Naughtie.
For overseas readers etc, James Naughtie is a presenter of flagship BBC radio 4 morning news programme Today. Everyone who is anyone listens to it. Just before 8am yesterday the rabbit was vaguely playing attention when Naughtie attempted to introduce the Culture Secretary James Hunt who had come to talk about something or the other. Naughtie introduced him as - erm - James Cunt. Whoops!!!
Whether the unfortunate Cunt - sorry Hunt - was introduced as the Hulture Secretary remains obscure as Naughtie then lost the power of coherent speech in trying to read the 8 am news headlines. A lot of spluttering ensued. Hunt seemed to take it all in his stride. Naughtie blamed the unfortunate, and very dead, Dr Spooner.
Then it gets worse. Shortly afterwards, Andrew Marr hosted a discussion on the same station about the Freudian slip as a follow-up to his colleague's mistake. 'We're not going to repeat in quite the terms it happened' Marr promised.
That's exactly what happens. Marr repeats the 'C' word on air. 'It's very hard to talk about it without saying it' he explained apologetically.
Was this the end of the national pottymouth outbreak? Nope. We move to the House of Commons. The time is 3.46pm. James Herbert, the Home Office Minister in charge of police is answering questions.
Labour MP Sharon Hodgson makes her bid for Bore of the Month on the topic of the Northumbria police budget. 'Do you think these cuts to frontline policing will make my constituents safer?' she asks all sarcastic like. Herbert opens his mouth to reply.
'I don't accept those are cunts' he pronounces.
Apparently there was then a lengthy silence. One may ask what exactly is happening to the fabric of national life. Happily the news from Adelaide is good - rather wonderful. It almost seems to contradict the natural order of things. Crocodile Dundee, Dame Edna Everage, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo - your boys took one hell of a beating!!!
Above is the moment of victory. Below is little Ponting looking a tad unhappy. Bless!
Oh and with Hat Tip to the rather wonderful How to be a Retronaut via Things To Do In Balham When You're Dead, below is a 1927 film by Claude Friese-Greene showing scenes of London life and called The Open Road London.
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Friday, 3 December 2010
In the meantime, the British Isles are in shock as per usual when the weather turns very cold and it snows. Here are some images of Britain in the throes of a cold snap starting with a man feeding the ducks in Stockport.
Plus a rather fed up looking sheep in Kent.
And finally and with Hat Tip to Babybarista, here is another in the occasional rabbit educational services explaining how not all is well with the world economy.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Ranging further abroad, the US government assessment that it is hard to tell where the Russian government ends and organised crime begins seems a statement of the obvious. That the bloke with the pointy beard in charge of Saudi Arabia would like the Americans to whack the Iranians and that the Chinese would be prepared to abandon Kim Il-Bonkers etc and see Korean reunification is more surprising but not exactly a sensation. What is more interesting is the reaction to the fact of the leaks.
US senator Mike Huckabee would like whoever it was in the US government who leaked the above stuff and the rest executed for treason but there is a general consensus that Huckabee is not playing with a full deck. Another US senator, Joe Lieberman has struck in that his call for amazon to stop carrying the Wikileaks feed has been successful. 'I call on any other company or organisation that is hosting WikiLeaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them' yelped Lieberman. As the rabbit is neither a company or an organisation this blog will continue to carry the Wikileaks feed and there is a message for Lieberman from Spokane below. 'If amazon is so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books' commented Wikileaks.
However, the really weird thing is this. Assange is in some trouble in Sweden. On 20 August 2010, an investigation was opened against Assange in Sweden in connection with an allegation that he had raped a woman on the weekend of 14 August after a seminar, and two days later had sexually harassed a second woman he had been staying with in Stockholm. The evidence in relation to the rape allegation appears to be nonexistent and the harassment allegation tissue thin at best. Ha! cry the conspiracy theorists: we have a US attempt to frame and by extension destroy Assange here. As to what actually happened, I copy and paste from UK journalist Dennis Spence on the Charon QC blog: 'the complaint was lodged by a radical feminist Anna Ardin, 30, a one-time intern in the Swedish Foreign Service. She’s spokeswoman for Broderskapsrörelsen, the liberation theology-like Christian organization affiliated with Sweden’s Social Democratic Party. She had invited Julian Assange to a crayfish party, and they had enjoyed some quality time together. When Ardin discovered that Julian shared a similar experience with a 20-year-old woman a day or two later, she obtained the younger woman’s cooperation in declaring before the police that changing partners in so rapid a manner constituted a sort of deceit. And deceit is a sort of rape. The prosecutor immediately issued an arrest warrant, and the press was duly notified. Once the facts were examined in the cold light of day, the charge of rape seemed ludicrous and was immediately dropped. In the meantime the younger woman, perhaps realizing how she had been used, withdrew her report, leaving the vengeful Anna Ardin standing alone'.
A crayfish party?
For further details read here. So far so bonkers and it looks as if Assange was a victim of some - erm - curious Swedish approaches to sexual crime except it seems that the story still has legs. Assange's details was added to Interpol's worldwide wanted list last Tuesday under 'sex crimes' and says the warrant has been issued by the international public prosecution office in Gothenburg. Swedish prosecutors said yesterday that they would issue a fresh arrest warrant in respect of Assange, the last one apparently suffering from technical defects.
So, what to make of all this? The rabbit reserves judgement. The allegations look thoroughly silly and we have - sort of - been here before. The fact that they suddenly resurrect at this point with a serious international attempt to arrest Assange seems odd but, though the rabbit is partial to a good conspiracy theory as the next warren dweller, we shall have to see. Oh and allegedly the British police know where he is but are doing nothing.
Here is the rabbit's response to Senator Lieberman via a street sign in Spokane, Washington. On a completely different topic, there was a wholly unexpected but nice comment on my piece on - among other topics - Len Shelley from Richard Purnell, who used to live with him. Here is the link to his obituary for Len Shelley and his wife Ang.
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The rabbit approves of this sort of witty, down up dissent. Get the t-shirt! Hat Tip to Fred Langa via Charon QC and welcome back to Carol via assorted indignities of the above sort at Logan International Airport.
Monday, 29 November 2010
Sunday, 28 November 2010
But he won't and there's nothing the judges can do about it. Not so long as the public keep voting for him. What exactly is going on here? And why is something similar happening on Strictly Come Dancing?
For overseas readers and the terminally inattentive, the large purplish blob above is called Ann Widdecombe. The aforesaid Ann Widdecombe, a retired Conservative politician is a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. Before this, she was simply known for (a) being a 63 year old virgin (b) converting from the Church of England to Roman Catholicism in fright at the idea of women priests (c) some unpleasantness when she was Prisons Minister involving pregnant prisoners being shackled to the delivery bed when giving birth (d) looking like a hippo. Oh and the counterintuitive bit is that she is against foxhunting. Now the rabbit has actually seen a little of this programme and can comment on Widders (as she has become affectionately known since she became national treasure and everybody's favourite batty aunt) dancing abilities.
Can she dance? Nope. She is crap.
Has this stopped the public voting for her in the face of noisy condemnation from the judges? Nope. Comparably talentless political journalist John Sergeant withdrew last year (or whenever it was) when it looked like there was a serious danger that he might win. Widders has no such scruples. She's in it to win it.
Now there is plainly a pattern here. Why is the public kicking over the traces? Well, firstly, the British love a loser. It's hardwired into our DNA. As is irony. There is plainly a pair of ironic statements going on. Mostly, though it seems to be about blowing a very loud raspberry to the professionals in general and Simon Cowell in particular. There is a 'Wagner to Win X Factor’ facebook page with 44,600 members (and no doubt rising) run by a 39 year old named Mark Mordue who lives with his mother in her Newcastle council house (bless!). ‘I can’t wait to see the look on Cowell’s face if Wagner wins. I hope it teaches him a lesson' announced Mark.
In the meantime, Cowell appears to have lost the plot, denouncing fellow judge and Wagner baiter Cheryl Cole as 'mad'. Cowell also compared (male) judge Louis Walsh to (very former) Coronation Street character Ena Sharples (below).
Turning to matters cricketing, the rabbit has not commented so far on the First Ashes Test in Brisbane. This is not through lack of interest but because - one way or the other - he can barely look. 'It’s not the despair. I can cope with the despair. It’s the hope. That’s what’s killing me' – John Cleese, Clockwise. At the end of day 4 the scores stand at England 260 & 309/1, Australia 481. It will almost certainly be a draw. Yes, a sporting contest that lasts 5 days and does not produce a result may seem weird - but in the case of the present Test also utterly compulsive. This is as good as it gets. Above is a group of Barmy Army (travelling English supporters) making a lot of noise on day 1 - and obviously annoying lots of elderly Australians.
Oh and with Hat Tip to jailhouselawyer for introducing him to them, the rabbit has become a big fan of the Daily Telegraph animal pictures of the week . The link has this week's crop. Particular fun are images 7 (a bull being chased by a crane) and 11 (a pelican with a beer bottle).
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Phew! The rabbit thought that he had lost the entire content of his distinguished blog except for the first part of yesterdays posting. A very unhappy rabbit ensued. But it's back now by virtue of deleting yesterday's posting and pasting a copy, minus the Janis Joplin song - which I think was causing the trouble for some obscure reason. The comments went too but I'll copy and paste them and re-post!
After that drama, a few musings. Is it necessary to be nuts to be in charge of a major European country these days? Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and his strange statue related behaviour has figured recently here. And the less said about Russian head honcho Vladimir Putin the better. Now the spotlight turns to French President Nicolas Sarkozy (above) whose behaviour gets increasingly erratic. Sarkozy, it should be explained, is a distinctly short person mostly noted for having a tall, attractive wife. He is also noted for having a filthy temper, which does not play well with the French who like their President - well - Presidential.
Sarkozy was in the poo back in 2008 for getting abusive with a grumpy farmer (is there any other sort?) and telling him 'casse-toi, alors pauvre con'. Now the rabbit knows some French and this is very rude indeed, particularly the last word. Various online commenters have attempted translations but the rabbit is saying nuffin. In fairness to Sarkozy, the farmer had refused the Presidential attempted handshake with a rude remark of his own to the effect that he didn't want to dirty his hand.
So Sarkozy has been on his best behaviour since, he having an unpopular austerity package to put through (in the face of the rather splendid French usual reaction to anything that annoys them - namely rioting) and an election to win in 2012 (an increasingly unlikely looking prospect). Now he is at it again. The latest cause of his ire is journalists. There is a scandal bubbling under which threatens to daraw in Sarkozy relating to arranged bribes and kickbacks for submarines for Pakistan. Questioned about this, Sarkozy latched on to one journalist, tipped his little head back and went for it...
'And you! I've no evidence against you. But it would seem you're a paedophile. Who told me? I have an absolute conviction. I've seen the intelligence reports but I won't tell you which ones; I've seen someone but I won't tell you who, and it was word of mouth. But I have an absolute conviction you're a paedophile ... Can you explain yourself?'
As may be imagined, this has not been well received. German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be boring but at least she isn't nuts. And her name sounds like merkin - which is a pubic wig. What is the point of a pubic wig anyway? Jus askin.
On a personal note, the rabbit has secured a flat in London. It's nothing special and isn't as nice as the flat in Birmingham but will do for now. The move is necessary as the move to Birmingham was necessary about eighteen months ago. The actual move is 2-3 weeks away. I've done a couple of blogs on Birmingham and will do another nearer the time. I walked through central Birmingham today at lunchtime on the same route as I described a while ago in the posting here. There was a Salvation Army band today at the Bullring playing Christmas carols but the Socialist Workers Party were in their usual space addressing the passing shoppers on the topic of government of the rich, by the rich for the rich (they are against this). There were also some native South American people who play rather lovely haunting music on pipes in the middle of the (pedestrianised) High Street and, further on and round the corner, a string quartet of middle-aged ladies wrapped up warm against the cold were playing - I think - Mozart. It is time to move on but I will always have a soft spot for Birmingham, a necessary refuge in the middle of last year and continuing (for the moment)... Below is a nice Birmingham related image - the Brindley canal (yes, Birmingham does have more canals than Venice)
The South American musicians made me think of El Condor Pasa - so here it is.
La Berzina is standing by her man, which is nice. 'We are still together, absolutely. But I don't want to talk about what has happened. I don't need any publicity' she announced. Hauled before the Westminster Magistrates Court and after a night in the cells to reflect on the error of his ways, Nords admitted three charges of not paying for goods and services and asked for another six offences to be taken into consideration. He was sentenced to a community order with curfew, tagging and a bar from six London postcodes (the ones where the posh restaurants are). The court heard that Berzina was herself penniless and was very rude to police officers. One can only tut at such bad manners. His lawyer advised the court 'I also suspect there was an element of fantasy in Mr Nords' thinking...'
There's only one song to post with this...
On a completely different topic, the rabbit has just discovered Chinese artist Liu Bolin. What he does is seriously off centre. He paints himself - with a little help from an assistant - to blend in with his surroundings. Like so..
Meanwhile the poor old bishop of Willesden has been suspended following - erm - somewhat excitable remarks about the forthcoming royal wedding. The date has now been fixed for the nuptuals, namely the 29th April. The date has an unfortunate precedent as the anniversary of the wedding of a certain Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun - a wedding that ended in homicide and suicide less than 40 hours later.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
The rabbit would like to take this opportunity to wish all his American readers a Happy Thanksgiving! He now actually knows when it is (we don't have it here - I suppose the nearest equivalent is Harvest Festival - a very low key event by comparison). It's always the fourth Thursday in November! Unless you are in Canada apparently. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday (the rabbit has also learned) and is the busiest day of the year if you are a plumber. This is perhaps not a thought to dwell on.
As a parting shot and on a totally different topic, Mahal draws the rabbit's attention to Miss Plastic 2010 - an event in Hungary for, er, surgically enhanced contestants. Below is a clip for the 2009 version of this auspicious event. 'Nuff said...