Thursday, September 20, 2007

say hello to the Clintons

this probably says a good deal more about me than it does Hillary or Slick Willy, but when i saw this picture i laughed and cried so hard that Michele thought i was having some sort of medical seizure and wondered how she was going to get me the needed medical assistance.

i am not sure if this scan reflects the magic of this picture correctly, but you can find the glorious original of it in the edition of Time that covers the presidential running partners.

i appreciate the fact that the wedding took place in 1975, when the fashion-free revolution had really taken hold of the world, but that really is no excuse at all for Bill to be looking like he does.

i trust that you all enjoy this image as much as i do. it was very wise of him to have a substantial image change before becoming president, no?

and for the record, i have nothing at all against the Clintons - every day of Dubya is another day that suggests that Clinton was a lot better than people like me gave him credit for at the time, and Hillary would be my tip to win in 2008.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Man Who Would Be King

Many thanks to The Guardian Newspaper for this fine interview with Ian Brown. i do not claim to support or agree with everything the man says in this, but by my word i agree with his right to say it.

Would you vote for this man?

Ian Brown slides into a booth in a West London cafe looking every inch the weathered rock icon: a camouflage jacket, fancy trainers, raffishly fringed hair. His cheekbones protrude so starkly he looks like a man peering between jammed lift doors.
Today though, Brown doesn't have anything as trifling as rock or his place in its hall of fame on his mind. The former Stone Roses singer is about to release his fifth solo album The World Is Yours and in it, he sets out his stall on a number of pressing geo-political issues. New single Illegal Attacks addresses the Iraq invasion in starkly undiplomatic language: "So what the fu*k?" he begins before going on to deal with Israel/Palestine and the Taliban. Elsewhere on the album he tackles South America's street children, and the plight of Africa.
On Some Folks Are Hollow Brown turns to old campaigner Sinead O'Connor and with her specialist knowledge of religious affairs advances the theory that there is Nazi gold buried under the Vatican.

As notional "rock PM", Brown has assembled a motley cabinet of what he calls "rebels" for the this album: Steve Jones and Paul Cook, guitarist and drummer from the Sex Pistols, come in from the political wilderness after performing on the band's 1970s neo-Nazi anthem Belsen Was A Gas. Former Smiths bass player Andy Rourke and Happy Mondays bass player Paul Ryder also feature.
Brown is an unusual artist. He refuses to discuss the Stone Roses, except that the last offer to reform was last year: £5m for five shows.
"I can't be bought," he shrugs. "I'm proud of what we did. But I'm happier solo now."
He manages himself - while we chat he fields a call from an Australian promoter and agrees to some gigs on the basis that the man will cook him a barbecue and let him use his swimming pool.
He hasn't been drinking since 1998 - the year he was sent to prison for threatening to cut an air stewardesses hands of with plastic cutlery after she offered him duty-free in a dismissive manner. The prison experience was formative. Entering Strangeways Brown declared himself a Muslim, although he now states this was to "wind up the screws" and also to "guarantee chicken for my tea". "Otherwise they give you pies and you don't know what's in 'em."

Muslim or not, there is undoubtedly an Eastern tinge to his plans for the UK. His ideas he says have been influenced by the decision not to smoke ganja during the making of this album.

"People in the past have tried to make out I'm some kind of space cadet or a stoner," he says. " I gave it up for nine months to see if it would give the music and my ideas greater clarity."

As he slurps a coffee and sets forth policy ideas for an alternative Brown government, no one can accuse him of not taking up the old Blair challenge and thinking outside of his box...

Foreign policy
Lambs On The Pentagon Roof
"America won't accept that there is global warming. It's not good enough. We can't all perish because of their blindness. We need to ban all air freighted food. Carrots from Holland. Potatoes from Egypt. It's got to stop. Lamb from NZ. Let's get lambs grazing on the roof of the Pentagon or on the lawn of Buckingham Palace.
Permacultures - where you use the immediate environment to grow food - should be mandatory.
We should be growing carrots up the side of the Empire State Building or Big Ben. Round my house I pull the kids off Xbox and make them dig soil in the garden. We grow parsnips, carrots and potatoes. I like to see 'em grafting. They appreciate the taste."

All Cars To Be Filled With Sh*t
"It makes me angry that they've been able to build cars fuelled by corn oil or chicken sh*t for years. But the oil companies won't allow it. Same with tyres and light bulbs: everlasting versions of these were invented years ago. The big corporations bought the inventors off . We're all going to perish because of their greed. The chicken sh*t-powered car will only do 60mph but so what? Leave your house a bit earlier."

Restraining Orders For Pink Floyd, Bono And Geldof
"I get angry about how African kids have to live. I thought the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in 2005 was a real missed opportunity. I applaud how Brown and Blair tried to put it at the top of the agenda. I didn't like the way Bono and Geldof hijacked the G8 Summit demo with their pop concert. The only result was Pink Floyd sold a few more million albums.
People have to realise you don't help African children singing along to 60-year-old men playing their tunes from 40 years ago. It was like 1750 all over again: we are the great white do-gooders. If there is another G8 meeting then there should be a court order banning Pink Floyd or Geldof or Bono from leaving their houses until it's over."

Send JCBs To The Vatican
"The Nazis looted gold from Spain and Portugal. Then when Mussolini took over Italy he stored all the gold in the Vatican. After the war the Catholics let the Nazis escape to South America dressed as priests on jets. The Nazis were religious nutcases who thought they were mentioned in the Bible as saviours of the world. Hitler converted to Catholicism just before he died.
Let's dig up the Vatican cellar and get the gold and the treasures and use them. They stole them. Let's steal them back."

Melt Down The Space Shuttle To Feed Farmers
"We've got to stop kids thinking of Space exploration and astronauts as a fun and glamorous thing. Nasa is an arm of the US military. The International Space Station is a military undertaking. We need to melt down the rockets. We've got to divert the money to the poor. The rural poor in this country are overlooked. The country mouse - he needs feeding."

Recruit A Panel Of Dolphins For Crisis Planning
"Here we are with the polar ice cap melting due to global warming. Everyone wondering how the humans are going to survive. Well, we could do well to consult the animal world for clues. Dolphins used to walk on the land because they have warm blood. Also, they have the same bone structure in their flippers as humans have in their hands. Something made him go back to the sea - Now what was it? A lack of food or a terrifying predator on the land? If we could get some answers from dolphins then we'd have a fair idea of what to do next ourselves."
Domestic policy

Taliban Patrols Of UK High Streets
"The Taliban are demented right? But they did have TWO good ideas. No booze. No gambling.
I thought the news footage of them running over bottles of whisky and brandy with tanks was brilliant. In our society liquor companies run the world - they ruin lives and make high streets no-go areas on a Saturday night.
Also casinos. I've got a friend who went on the internet gambling and he lost his house. His kids went to bed - and by morning he'd lost the house on online poker. It's evil. They're building a super-casino in Salford which has got enough problems already. Gambling is all based on 666 which is the number of the beast."

Bring Back The Hoodie
"This is what I'm saying on the track Me And You Forever. Teenagers are being demonised for wearing hoodies. I've got a 15-year-old son and he can't walk with his two mates through the Trafford Centre in Manchester. What's that all about? The hoodie happens to be the perfect piece of clothing for up north. It gets flippin' cold in Manchester. My dad wears a hoodie and he's 72! The hoodie is one of the best and most useful items of clothing ever invented and it's attacking northerners, anyone who is genuinely cold, to ban them."

Starter Homes In The Grounds Of Balmoral
"It p*sses me off when I see pictures off the Queen or that Duke husband at Balmoral or Sandringham or wherever. I don't look at them, I look at their surroundings. All those little salmon rivers, beautiful creeks and beaches that they've stolen from us a thousand years ago. Let's have them back. Gordon Brown says he wants to build three million new homes then that's where we should build them. How many homes could you build on Balmoral? Loads.

Wembley Arena Designated A Cathedral
"There are some beautiful Bible stories - it's just that in UK schools the teaching bores you stupid. The feeding of the 5000 isn't meant to be taken literally. Jesus spoke to the people and that fed their spirit - that's your two fish. Then he spoke some more - that fed their souls. That was the loaves. Then his posse went among them and the baskets were overflowing - that was the vibe in the air. That was the energy, the feeling. No, I don't have a Messiah complex but I think music is the nearest thing to achieving Christian ends. It unifies people and sustains them. It uplifts them and makes them closer to love. You get a great gig at Wembley or somewhere and that is modern Christianity in action."

Citizenship: Accent Tests For All
"It annoys me that everyone in this country under 18 wants to talk like Ali G. What happened to REAL accents? We need authentic accents from where people are from. You shouldn't be allowed to talk like someone off the TV or off a rap record that you heard. It's fake."

Bring Back Boredom
"My kids laugh at me when I tell them about life when I was 14. They say "Go on dad, tell us again". There was no Walkmans, videos, Nintendo or Xboxes, no internet, no mobiles. No computers. No DVDs. There were only three TV channels. They cry laughing. But it made us hungry and thoughtful. And we had great things like the Sex Pistols.
We're breeding a generation who won't invent anything. They've got everything. They're stimulated all day and they're never bored. I think there should be an hour of total boredom every day for all kids."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


hey everyone

my my my, doesn't young Lyla look cute!! no prizes for guessing who decided to put the pig tails in her hair - hmn, Erika????

on a more serious note, here is Lyla's father in the next picture. Richard "Einstein" Ricketts would appear to be growing what he calls him "Bepe" again.

if you are of a mind to do so, by all means seek my dear brother out on this face book thingamajig. he will teach you more about the film Convoy than you ever thought was possible to know.....

Neil's Heavy Concept Album

i was in a nostalgic mood, and thus looked up Neil's Heavy Concept Album on the interwebnet thingie, and discovered that many people recall this work as fondly as i do. it is with great delight that i report that it is also available on this "Compact Disc" technology business for you children of a digital age to enjoy. but it is better on vinyl.

how does one begin to explain the magic of this work? Neil Pye, and his alter ego Nigel Planer, operate on a different spiritual level from you or i, dear reader. to enter his world is to go on a journey that is all things psychedelic. i urge you to seek out the original vinyl of this to appreciate the full psychedellia within, but the CD will do.

the lead single for the album, a somewhat esoteric and perhaps even bewildering reinterpretation of the classic Traffic number Hole In My Shoe is in many respects the key to obtaining focus and understanding of what Neil is all about. Neil delivered unto us a breathtaking extended version of this song too, giving us insights into his kitchen and general cleaning duties. If Hole In My Shoe is to be seen as the blessing of intelligence, however, then the b-side, akin to Neil's Yin and Yang concepts, is to be known as The Brain Smasher. no b-side in the history of the 80's was ever as bold, daring and intellectually challenging as Hurdy Gurdy Mushroom Man. you must hear this song or your time on this planet will have been unfulfilled.

there, that which has not been said has been spoken now.

hello again Daniel

well, here's another picture of Daniel from New Zealand. Thank you Gillian & Grant & Katie & Sheep for sending it along, Michele says that he looks just as gorgeous as his beautiful mother in this pic. why, exactly, my wife is making seductive comments to my sister is a bit beyond me, perhaps in a past life we were all from Alabama or some other, um, "limited scope for development" U$A state.....

....i digress, somewhat. the towel Daniel is wrapped in after his bath looks like it is made from the most exquisite wool on earth, something New Zealand is well thought of for. New Zealand has a monopoly on the world's stock of sheep. it is rare that you see a sheep anywhere in the world other than New Zealand, and if you do, there is a very strong likelihood that it is in asylum from New Zealand.

Dwarfs and otherwise short people tend to be from or flock to New Zealand too, apparently. well, that was the impression i was left with after the Lord Of The Rings films.

be, or baaaaa, most excellent to each other, please.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

in theory.....

....this film should be good. There Will Be Blood is based on a somewhat obscure novel called Oil! - out of curiosity i have seen if the novel is available anywhere, but at this stage it seems difficult to find.

whereas i do not rant and rave about the abilities of Daniel Day Lewis to the extent that a number of people do (not every film he has made has featured a dazzling performance by him), he is rather gifted, and any film which he agrees to be in would usually have some interest. Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer and director of this film, is of course a genius in my eyes - he made Boogie Nights and Magnolia.

however, the concern is the Gangs Of New York factor. in theory, Daniel Day Lewis working with Martin Scorsese for a 2nd time (Age Of Innocence was, ahem, not all bad) on Scorsese's pet project should have been mindblowing. instead it was a dull and dour three hour expose on stealing watches and butchery skills.

ho hum, fingers crossed that this turns out to be well worth the anticipation associated with it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hat and Bull-Whip time

the next Indiana Jones film shall be with us within a year - it even has a name :

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is something of a mouthful, but who cares if the film is good?

the meeting of two great(ish) minds

hey everyone

i have decided to have a whirl at bringing motivation to the workplace, or, if you will, verkplace.

i believe everyone should have inspiring images around them at their desks to allow them to maintain focus, and aspire to grandeur, or whatever is the right way of wording it.

the result is that i have this picture framed and on my desk -

very few images of mid-70's (or whenever it was) America (or wherever it was) can claim to be as dynamic, fluent and inspiration as this one. this is particularly true if you are quite an admirer of either Elvis, fallen-from-grace Presidents or, perhaps, both.

i have let it be known that i will gladly arrange for a copy of this image for anyone else at verk who wishes to be equally inspired, but thus far no one has taken me up on the offer. they will, oh yes, they will.

be excellent to each other.................

urgent correction - Daniel.....

well, i have just had a message from Gillian, who pointed out that the picture of Daniel from earlier is in fact Daniel dressed in a sheep outfit, not a teddy bear or bunny one.

this should have been somewhat obvious to your humble narrator as (a) the outfit is white; and (b) these pictures are of course from New Zealand, which is, as everyone knows, something akin to the Suez Canal of all things sheep related. well, not maybe the Suez Canal, but something of equally impressive stature and size. although with perhaps less quarrels regarding fishing rights.

erm, in glorious retrospect, let me rather say that New Zealand is the place to be if you think that being surrounded by sheep is a quite class thing. or something like that.

righty-ho, as i have accomodated Gillian's correction, let me hope that she reciprocates and reviews her stance on Ian Brown in the not too distant future. Gillian, just say the word - i will send on as much of his stuff as you want.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Happy Gardener


and, after all those updates of his cousins, here are some pictures of the man himself, James!!

James was at Grandma and Grandad last week, and as ever was keen to help around the garden. well, give his version of help i suppose - he certainly seems to think that it's fun the way he does it!!

sometimes the water in the can ends up where it is supposed to be, which would be on the flowers around Grandma and Grandad's garden.......

but often, as you can see below, the flowers sit there and stare at just how much water James can get on himself........

and with a tap and a hosepipe, James can give himself a very good soaking - no wonder he is growing to be so tall...........

when Marmite digs a hole in the garden, Grandad relays the earth and grass, and along comes James to water it in.........

and, quite rightly, he is always proud to show off the beautiful flowers which he helped water - and all the flowers which he did not pick off and hand to Grandma......

be most very excellent to each other :)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Twins!!


OK, OK, i will do some verk eventually, but for now here is a rather recent picture of Jade and Skyla, or Skyla and Jade. everyone else is very good indeed at telling immediatley which one is which, i am hopeless i am afraid!!

as you can see, they certainly have healthy appetities and are doing rather well!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!

hello there Katie!!

OK, maybe no rush for verk on my side of the world, then!! here's some recent pics of Katie!

first off, just as a proper young lady should, here she is wearing her butterfly wings correctly as she takes lunch and afternoon tea. apparently, and this is a guess that i am almost certain might as well be taken as fact, a lady is expected to wear butterfly wings with every meal taken in New Zealand.

and here she is in, if i am not mistaken, a Barbie t-shirt. again, this is mere speculation but you can probably take it as fact - your average New Zealander is under the impression that everyone else in the rest of the world lives and breathes for Barbie merchandise, and thus they follow suit. it is because of illusions like this that the fine people of New Zealand are seldom, if ever, allowed to leave their borders.

and here is Katie the kitten with her Mummy, my sister Gillian. i love Gillian dearly, but it has to be said that she is the sworn enemy of all Ian Brown acolytes. she would rather, get this, drive over and smash an Ian Brown CD instead of listen to it and enjoy the vibe of the great one. her loss!!

erm, i appreciate that this update has had more to do with my theories on New Zealanders and celebrating Ian Brown than news on Katie, but i hope you liked the pics of Katie anyway!!!

be excellent to each other!!!

Daniel!!! (and Katie sneaks in)

hello again

well, as promised, here we go with some more updates. here's Daniel, who i sadly have not had the pleasure of meeting as of yet. oh well, we will meet one day!!

with this whole interwebnet global village type thing, though, i do get plenty of pics. here's one of him in, if i recall, a teddy bear outfit. it would appear that we all enjoy dressing our children in outfits with ears on the head!!

and here's Daniel with Grant, ever the proud father. Daniel is, at this stage, somewhat shorter than his Daddy, but i am sure over the years ahead he will catch up. Grant has all the potential in the world to be one of Ian Brown's greatest fans, but unfortunatley his wife, my sister Gillian, is somewhat shortsighted and very narrow minded in regards to how much Ian Brown she allows into her home. oh well.

and here's Daddy with Katie and Daniel. Gillian, presumably, was on the other side of the camera!!

right then, i had better do a little bit of verk and then get back to updating this site!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hey, LYLA!

hey everyone

well, there has not been too many updates of late - partly because i have been rather busy, but also because the chaps that run blogger seem to have forgotten their roots somewhat and have made the site all but impossible to use with a dial up connection......which is a shame.

anyway, never mind that, here's some pics of Lyla at last. a couple (ahem) of weeks old, but still she is a beauty!! here she is in a very cool outfit - not sure if it supposed to be a bunny or a teddy bear, but either way it is most excellent!!

and here she is, kind of surrounded by toys and all sorts of noise making devices, sat patiently waiting in her feeding chair! Lyla does not seem to spend a lot of time trying to climb out of it and dive off, unlike her cousin James.....

and here we are with walkies time!!! it seems that Lyla has got the hang of how the walker works - her Mummy & Daddy told me over the weekend that she is going in all directions in it now, smashing in to all that she can find!! the buttons and levers on the front all make noises, which makes for some fun!!

righty-ho, pics of Daniel, Katie and of course James coming very soon!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Spring is Here

hey there

well, a busy week here so this is a touch late. September marks the dawn of Spring for us in the Southern Hemisphere, so what better way to celebrate it than with an extract from The Canterbury Tales, interrupted by a picture of me celebrating the occassion!

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
Bifil that in that seson on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
At nyght was come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,.

And wel we weren esed atte beste.
And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
And made forward erly for to ryse,
To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.

The Full George W Bush

hey everyone

well, depending on what you read or watch or listen to, you may be aware of a rather interesting new portrait of the leader of the last remaining superpower.

if you have heard of it, you may want to have a look at it below. if you have no idea what this is all about, by all means enlarge the picture below, but do so at your own risk.....

i like the artistic reasons for the picture, as much as i like the fact that the events of the right ear are, apparently, illegal in dubya's home Texas state.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

every dream has a price

well, we are on the threshold of the 20th anniversary of Oliver Stone's Wall Street being celebrated, and as the movie popped into my head for some inexplicable reason this morning, why not do a post to celebrate this remarkable film.

i doubt i need to present the plot of the film here, but if for some reason you are unaware of this one, it deals with the days of junk bonds and insider trading in the 80's. it also depicts the greed and excess of the 80's, as well as the magnificence of the decade. a round of applause for being able to do so with skill and accuracy, if you will.

Charlie Sheen, in a very real sense, is Bud Fox. he's the ambitous broker caught between two pillars of influence - his steady, reliable and if you will old fashioned father on one side, and on the other Gordon Gecko, the man he wants to be.

the moral questions thrown up by the film are fascinating. the most obvious is its most famous quote, paraphrased to "Greed Is Good". what exactly, after all, is wrong with wanting success, in whatever form it takes. the question is greed for what? money and happiness seldom equate to the same thing, no matter how hard you try to say that it does.

the disposability of people also crops up. as Bud follows his Gecko dream, people seem to become irrelevant to a degree, relationships deteriorate and slip away as if they were yesterday's newspapers. the influence of his father wanes, but never leaves, which leaves our protagonist in an interesting spot, however.

the wealth and fortune Gecko builds leaves a wake of dislocated, unemployed people too. this is referred to in similar ambivalent terms, as if they were the "hardbodies" so easily dispensed in the American Psycho.

does this represent the 80's approach? yeah, to a degree. the decade was all image, style over content, and the self was very much a priority. but never, if this makes sense, in a sinister or negative way as it became in the 90's - you were celebrated and appreciated for it, by and large. only later when the world started getting neurotic and wanting constant counsel did this become bad, apparently.

back in the 80's, actors won Oscars for outstanding performances instead of political reasons, a la the 90's and 00's. here Michael Douglas deservedly won, and the only shame is that neither Martin nor Charlie Sheen got a look in for a supporting award. ho hum.

whilst not strictly speaking being a capitalist, i love Wall Street. it's a tough choice, but i would argue this is Oliver Stone's finest hour. there is not a wasted moment in this two hour journey, and if you have never seen this film find a copy as soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ian Brown - Illegal Attacks

the first single from Ian Brown's new album is almost with us. Illegal Atatcks is a very funky duet with Sinead O'Connor, and you should buy this record or cd. if you click on the name of this post, you will be taken to a very nice site where you can purchase the two 7" singles of it as well as the CD single for a most excellent price.

what's my take on the single? well, of course i have heard it (ahem), i managed to find it and give it a play as soon as possible. it is very funky and has an awesome instrumentation display, but...........well, this is Ian Brown, and thus the "political statement" being made by the song is, shall we say, heavy handed and rather ham fisted. whereas it is difficult to argue with the sentiment or the morality of what the man is saying, and he rarely if ever speaks anything but the truth, sometimes you just wish he could be a calorie or two more subtle and symbolic in what he has to say.

that said, this is an Ian Brown record, and thus you should either own a copy of it or you should not have a stereo.

in the words of the great one,

call the bomb squad, man...........