Friday 17 October 2014

Brand new bollocks

The other evening Twitter alerted me to the fact that erstwhile comedian, actor and television presenter Russell Brand had occupied Wall Street. This came as little surprise, as he is turning into a right prat.

Russell Brand is an interesting sort of chap. Most people grow out of the risibly simplistic and teenage desire for revolution, or any other such tearing down of the existing social fabric, in their early twenties or whenever else they have finished college. Alas, Brand claims to be interested in doing so only now that he was reached comfortable middle age. One can only assume that this is born out of a desire for self-flagellation stemming from a lack of self-esteem, because come the revolution the first people against the wall will be big-gobbed Pre-Raphaelite millionaire fannies.

Brand cannot just be dismissed out of hand. He has respect and an eager audience, not least off the back of a lot of his intelligent, sensitive and thoughtful journalism. But his transformation into a slacker messiah is particularly ill-timed. His arguments against voting could not really come at a worse time.

There are elements to his argument which are easy to sympathise with. British politics has been turning itself into a grey-brown morass of sameness for the best part of twenty years, ever since Tony Blair decided that the Labour Party were unelectable without transforming themselves into a nasty bunch of Thatcherite weasel bags. Voting is an increasingly difficult sell in these circumstances.

But there are still significant differences between the major British parties. No-one could pretend that a Labour government would have different inclinations and priorities to the current Coalition one, or that the path of the current government hasn't been influenced or tempered by the lousy, Quisling stink-bag Liberal Democrats. Yes, British political figures are a largely unlikeable bunch of braying, over-privileged tits, but ever was it thus.

The only result of apathy, however, is demagoguery. Political parties will tailor their policies towards those people who are likely to vote and to people who are likely to vote alone. What sort of policy would that make? Well, just check the polls and see how well UKIP are doing. Young, open-minded liberal people may feel increasingly marginalised by this but they're not going to see any improvements by disenfranchising themselves further; worse yet, by disenfranchising themselves through their own choice.

I like Russell Brand. I like him as a comedian, I like him as a broadcaster and I like him as a writer. I respect him. As such find his efforts to turn himself into David Icke all the more painful, not least because of the fact that he - ironically enough - represents many of the good things and positive things that a British government should be interested in fighting for. He is an intelligent, engaging and stimulating presence in our cultural life. But, to paraphrase Chris Rock's thoughts on Flavor Flav during the 2008 US Presidential election, Russell Brand needs to shut his fucking mouth until after next May. Because this is more important than his ego.

Thursday 16 October 2014

The idiots are winning, on both sides

What is happening to the UK now only time will tell, but it's a chastening period nonetheless. Experience and knowledge of national character suggest to me that in the end there will be very little change, as to gain any measure of wider acceptance in Britain has always required a degree of moderateness. Moderation is, however, not currently in abundance. There is a distinct sense of the lunatics taking over the asylum.

On one side you've got UKIP, let's face it. One could try to find some sort of overarching name for them, but it seems a futile challenge. "Right-wing" is too relative a term while "fascists" is far too inflammatory and dense with historical implication. They're just UKIP. UKIP is the name given to the thing that embodies a recognisable British trope: deeply conservative, aggressively against change, NIMBYish, easily scared, blinkeredly nationalistic. All UKIP the political party have done is given them something specifically targeted to vote for.

They don't like Europe, the barmy EU or that crazy European Court of Human Rights. We don't need that sort here. We got by without them before. And by the way: re. World War II, you're WELCOME.

These people are idiots, but they've always been walking amongst us. My grandparents would probably all have been UKIP voters, given the chance. My grandparents weren't bad people. They certainly weren't snarling fascists, though people like that, too, have undeniably also always been part of the Great British melting pot. No, my grandparents were just not particularly clever.

The good thing about people not being particularly clever is that the situation is relatively easy to address: you educate them. Doing so is fairly easy, too, in this case. Tess Daly, Simon Cowell or Keith Lemon strongly coming out against the UKIP mentality would do it. As would The Daily Mail, The Daily Express or The Sun stopping being such unutterable bastards. A little bit of education would go a long way.

Of course, a little bit of education can create problems of its own. On the other side of the British equation these days are people so bleeding heart liberal it's a wonder they can even stand up. Their brand of hyper-equality is so relentlessly unquestioning and accepting that they would be just as big a problem as UKIP if they hadn't been brought up so well. They're less in-your face, but don't ever doubt that these sweaty, hand-wringing wassocks are just as big a bunch of idiots as the others.

They're the ones who argue that a there need to be more black football managers, disabled contestants on The Apprentice and that dogs and cats over five years old should get paternity leave. They are so busy trying to level the playing field that they don't realise that behind them they've been ploughing it. Call me old-fashioned, but I've always thought that the best person for the job is probably the best person for the job. If that person happens to be a 50-year old white man from Surrey, then so be it. 87% of people who live in the UK are white, after all, despite what the UKIPs will tell you, sweatily grinding their teeth down to powder.

The hand-wringers do have a point. It is, sadly, inescapable to note countless times throughout even this country's recent history that someone equally as qualified, as good for the role, will have been passed over because they are a woman, because they are disabled or because they are from an ethnic minority. Luckily, there are now laws against this. The victims of such discrimination have recourse to compensation and the culprits can and should face prosecution.

This is not an ideal scenario. In a perfect world, it wouldn't happen at all. But it is a good fall-back position. Better than the idea that, for every future managerial vacancy at a football club there should be at least one black candidate in the mix. Oh goody. We've (somehow) negotiated our way through the most turbulent and dangerous century in human history and what has popped out at the end? Tokenism. Get a token black candidate in. Make sure someone is disabled, too. There probably ought to be a Muslim, now we think of it. And a Christian, yes, OK. Anyone else for anyone else?

It's a hard-fought battle between two equally blinkered, difficult and self-righteous foes. For the people stuck in the middle it seems like an unrelenting deluge of shite. Luckily for us, social media at least lets us accurately design our own little worlds, free from the bellicose forces of dumb that rain down all around us. They're also a good place to share the latest viral videos! Today's one is of a child with a really very bad case of headlice!

Yes, they are speaking Spanish, why do you ask?

Wednesday 15 October 2014

News from the world of art

I've been neglecting to update this blog, which is a shameful state of affairs not least because I definitely enjoy doing it. The fact that I seem to get as many, or sometimes even more, page views when I'm not updating this site will be of supreme disinterest to me from now on as I try to amend my errant ways. I know what the public want, which is for there to be less of me. As an avowed contrarian and noted sociopath, this is a challenge I couldn't turn down.

One reason that I've not been hammering words into this fountain of knowledge is that I've rediscovered masturbation been doing a lot of art. So much art that it has come at the expense of other things. Principally among these other things is "selling art", which will perhaps not come as any surprise to anyone who has closely followed my business career.

Nevertheless, I have been doing some moving and shaking in the creative community. I put together a collection of some of my better pieces and toddled off to Brighton to decorate (or decimate, depending on your point of view) the walls of Munch Coffee Shop in Kemp Town. If you're in the area you should definitely call in: the staff are friendly, the atmosphere is nice and the food and drink are made on site right under your very nose. Plus it is located just a couple of minutes' walk from the Brighton Magistrates Court, so there's always a chance you might see a defendant or two furtively skulking about with a muffin.

This is all over the walls of Munch, Brighton.

All but one of those pictures are on sale to the public, so just drop by the shop and have a look. If by some strange and inexplicable set of circumstances you don't live in Sussex, you can always instead drop me a line. Contact details, as ever, are in the sidebar on the right of the page.

BUT WAIT! Getting all of this stuff out of the house to stretch its legs gave me a giddying glance of the joy of having a bit of space to put new things in. As such, I've got some other things that didn't make it in time for the walls of Munch but are just as excited by the prospect of finding new homes, away from the moths, at LOW LOW sale prices. Take a look.

THE TITLE FIGHT - 25 x 25 x 3.5cm, acrylic on box canvas. £75

UK BORDER PATROL - 14 x 19 cm, pencil and watercolour on 300 gsm paper. £30

RHINO - 19 x 28cm, pen, ink and watercolour on 300 gsm paper. £40.

GROOMING CAT - 21 x 29.5cm, pen, ink and watercolour on 220 gsm paper. £35,

GOJIRA! - 30 x 34cm, ink, tempera and pencil on 300 gsm paper £50

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS & ELEPHANTS - 21 x 29.5cm, ink and watercolour on recycled paper, £20

ADELAIDE CRESCENT, HOVE - 28 x 38cm, acrylic and watercolour on 300 gsm paper. £75.

DOG - 20.5 x 29.5cm, acrylic on recycled magazine page. £25.

PACHYCEPHALOSAURUS AND STEGOSAURUS - both 15 x 21cm, pen, ink and watercolour on 300 gsm paper.
£20 each or £30 for the pair.

As ever, if anything catches your fancy, get in touch. My contact details are in the sidebar on the right of the page or you can click this link HERE to email me. If buying original artwork isn't your bag of pulses, you can always check out my Redbubble page. There you'll find all sorts of pictures I've done and there's also the option to buy them as prints, phone covers, tote bags, t-shirts or cushion covers. There are also some Christmas cards available to buy, for the fatalistic among you. But there'll be more about that closer to the time, no doubt.

Putting a tree in your house is a pretty daft thing to do, when you really analyse it.


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