Random life

Random life03 Jan 2006 01:01 am

Work roadsign Consolations to you if you’re going back to work on Tuesday.

(Disregard that if you do something you love. I’m talking to all those who are working to live and not the other way round.)

I was going to draw you a little picture to provide you with 3 seconds of distraction from your job, but preferred this one by Drew from Toothpaste for Dinner:

Hope your day goes well and that you can embrace the return to routine in a positive way. Soon, oh soon, it will be spring.

Random life&The art of blog02 Oct 2005 07:21 pm

Today’s the day Lord Bargain flies across the Atlantic to visit Ka.

This marks an important development for our loose collective of belles-lettristes, Bush-botherers, reality-checkers, ranters and ne’er-do-wells.

For it means the capricious bumblebee we call Blogworld has at last landed on the gaudy-hued flower that is Real Life, and cross-pollinated it.

Our meadow will never be quite the same again.

Soundtrack to this post: Like To Get To Know You Well – Howard Jones

Random life&Self26 Sep 2005 03:04 pm

I’m supposed to be writing something proper, which inevitably means I am spending all day on the internet, blogging, reading, emailing, phoning people for chats etc.

So as I’m here, please accept with my compliments the lamest joke I have heard for ages:

Donald Rumsfeld is giving George Bush his daily briefing.

He concludes by saying: “And yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing incident in Iraq.”

“OH NO!” exclaims the President. “That’s terrible!”

His staff are stunned at this display of emotion, watching nervously as the president sits with his head in his hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks:

“How many is a brazillion?”

Add your lame jokes here!

Soundtrack to this post: Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

Environment&Global politics&Random life25 Sep 2005 01:50 pm

Thanks to BlondeButBright for this link:

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

Their view is that humanity should seek to die out deliberately, in order to restore some balance to the planet. They suggest this long-range goal is accomplished by opting not to reproduce.

A brief snippet:

“After we’ve seen a few hundred TV dramas where the good guy kicks the bad guy’s butt, it’s tempting to look at the real world with this same knee jerk, zero-sum mentality. We might look for an enemy to attack when championing our righteous cause, but in reality our enemy doesn’t have a butt to kick.

In the end, the real “enemies” are human greed, ignorance, and oppression. We can achieve more by promoting generosity, awareness, and freedom than we can by vainly kicking at a buttless foe.

… Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom.”

No kids, for moral reasons.

What do you think about this idea? (Have a browse through their ‘About the Movement’ page if you have a moment to spare.)

EDIT: Do you have children? Do you want children? Tell us that below too.

Soundtrack to this post: Baby Boy – Beyoncé

Random life24 Aug 2005 02:39 pm

I know reproducing emails verbatim is the lowest form of blogging, but this one’s great. It’s a real art event happening on 9 October. I particularly like the PS at the end, and the line “There are drinks but you may want to bring a picnic, as the food is knitted.”

All knitters and their friends are invited to help us knit the first completely knitted wedding, and join in the celebrations! The knitted wedding is part of a group show “Ceremony” at the Pump House gallery in Battersea Park, London.

Everything at this wedding will be knitted, from the cameras, the dress, top hats, food, decorations, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Our bride is curator of the exhibition and Knitting Doctor, Freddie Robins.

Patterns for cameras, candles, cakes, and canapes, will be shown on our website www.castoff.info These patterns are merely a suggestion…. we invite you to knit what you like! If you have any other knitted items that would suit the wedding, we would love to use them. Please don’t worry about the quality of your knitting, Freddie and Ben will love it all.

The wedding ceremony is at 2pm. Please arrive a bit earlier. At 2.45pm we will throw the woollen confetti, and have group photos and more knitting. The champagne reception is at 3pm, with speaches and knitted cake. You may knit through the reception. There are drinks but you may want to bring a picnic, as the food is knitted. The 1st dance and the wedding disco with our favourite DJ’s will start at 4pm and continue until 6.30 when the Bride and groom leave, and a little bit more after that.

Please send work to the gallery before the wedding, ( the earlier the better) clearly marked with your name and a SAE. All work will be displayed, and also credited in a slide show on the walls of the gallery and later shown in a book ‘How to Knit Your Own Wedding’ published by ‘Cast Off’. We invite all knitters to be in the book, and to contribute patterns.

All work will be shown at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace 13th-16th October 2005.

Rachael and Annie will be knitting in the gallery, and showing films with weddings in, from 28th September to 2nd October, and 5th October to 8th October, 11am-5pm. You are welcome to join us!

For more info ring ‘Cast Off’ on 020 **** **** or e-mail

We will return all work, but we can¹t be held responsible for it’s well being.

Please label your knitting with your name, (sticker or parcel tag will do) and send it with a SAE to the Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ

P.S Freddie is a lady, not a man…sorry for any confusion, this is not a gay wedding. Thank you.

Soundtrack to this post: Do The Strand – Roxy Music

Random life&Self&Strangeness19 Jul 2005 10:46 pm

I just got this in my email inbox:

Great forces are directing you to conform to the patterns of your society. You have DNA that has been handed down from generation to generation, coding repeated behaviour patterns into your being. You have archetypal energies setting the standards for how you behave as a man or a woman, as husband or wife, as father or mother …. You are immersed in consensual reality, whereby the world around you reflects societal understanding of how life has been and is to be.

At the same time, you have an even greater force within you inspiring you to wake up and recognize the reality of who you are. This force, the creative power underlying the entire universe, is urging you to create brand new standards of reality.

The status quo is blind to our creative power. Create a brand new world for yourself, one that meets your deepest needs, and you will help raise the quality of consciousness of the entire world.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
— Gandhi


Soundtrack to this post: I’d Love To Change The World – Ten Years After

British politics&Random life08 Jul 2005 09:50 am

Tony Blair says terrorists will never intimidate “us” into changing “our way of life”.

Which “us” is that, Tony? The “us” who are driven to work in armoured cars flanked by armed secret service personnel? Or the “us” who take public transport to work?

When did you last hop on the tube to Westminster?

And please let us hear no more of this “Seven Seven” nonsense. Giving tragedy a brand name is a vanity peculiar to rich Western countries. I don’t remember Iraq branding any of their especially violent killings, although perhaps that’s because Iraqi people have been killed by bombs every day for years.

The world has been very kind. We are all touched by it. I’d like to take this opportunity to remember that all over the world people die daily in the same sickening way with no fanfare.

British politics&Random life&Self07 Jul 2005 06:35 pm

I am safe and sound. I hope you are too.

Most of my friends in town have confirmed they are safe too. Some have witnessed some nasty events and are extremely shaken.

Having been in a minor Tube fire last year – when I got all uppity about the lack of decent safety procedures in place for underground fires and gave an irate interview to BBC News about it – I can only imagine the horror and terror felt by those in the bombed trains.

London is wounded and in chaos.

The politicians will try to use this wave of public feeling for their own ends (Tony has already started), but we must not let them.

All we can think is that the timing of this attack was impeccable; with half the Met police up at Gleneagles protecting the top brass, it must’ve made the task easier for those responsible.

I’m probably not making much sense, so I will stop here.

Soundtrack to this post: a dignified silence.

Anti-consumerism&Random life20 Jun 2005 09:06 pm

This, on the other hand, is a great idea.

Pop culture&Race&Random life&Strangeness01 Mar 2005 01:00 am

When I was a youngster, I loved Michael Jackson. Not just in the general way I loved all pop music. I mean I really loved Michael Jackson.

For a couple of those formative years, my best friend and I hoarded every scrap of memorabilia and newspaper cuttings we could get our hands on. When it came to Christmas or birthdays, we arranged between us which of his commercial output would go on each of our request lists. Our plan was to ensure no duplication, so we’d both have access to his entire oeuvre.

Our parents didn’t quite understand the urgency of our requirements at times, but we did pretty well nonetheless. In those days, I’d have no qualms about skipping out of school at midday to buy 7” singles with my lunch money, so it wasn’t long before we built up a sizeable Jackson stash.

Of course, we wanted more than just his recordings. In 1988, aged 13, I went to my first ever gig. Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium. Quite a spectacular start to a lifetime of live music. It gave me very unrealistic expectations. At my first grotty Camden indie gig a couple of years later, I was perplexed by the shambolic ordinariness of it all, wondering when the pyrotechnics were going to start.

You see, what Michael Jackson offered was the sort of cool oddness you didn’t often see in the suburbs of southern England. Thriller defined the zeitgeist in a way no musician has since replicated. And the man could dance. Really dance. His audacious talent, coupled with the natural glamour American superstars seemed to exude, left us awestruck. I even – ahem – taught myself to moonwalk. (Yes, I can still do it. No, don’t ask me to demonstrate at your wedding reception.)

In the summer of my 14th birthday, during the Bad era, I read his ‘autobiography’ Moonwalk on holiday. In it, he claims that his gradual facial changes were due to the natural growing up process. He goes on to say that he has only had 2 nose jobs and a cleft put in his chin, and that anybody who accuses him of having extensive surgery or bleaching his skin is lying. Despite the evidence of my own eyes, I believed him. I even defended his position to laughing detractors. “He wouldn’t be allowed to say that if it wasn’t true,” I naively protested.

Looking at the cover of the book now, I’m astonished at how easily I believed his word against the evidence of my own eyes. He’d transformed himself from shy, black, sweet-smiling teenager to milky-skinned, wire-limbed, doe-eyed alien.

Sometime around the start of his solo career in the 70s, Michael Jackson must have decided his own face didn’t fit. So he set about redesigning it. The first sign was when his nose began to narrow. Then, shade by shade, his skin grew lighter. Looking back over his many faces, it is horrifying just how dramatic the transformation was.

From the late 80s onwards, the newspapers carried endless “WACKO JACKO” stories, all about Jackson’s pet chimp Bubbles, his oxygen tank, his odd pseudo-parental relationships with ageing stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross and the comical hygiene paranoia which meant he only appeared in public if masked. His dissatisfaction with his appearance, his perpetual facial reconstructions and his changes of skin colour were considered a joke, proof of the incorrigible eccentricity of millionaires.

It wasn’t until many years later that I realised just what a grotesque freakshow my former favourite had become, and how none of his family or entourage seemed to think this disturbing behaviour warranted intervention. Scroll through the pictures in this post from top to bottom and reflect on the fact that the British press did little more than jeer at him for this self-mutilation, and that professional surgeons saw no ethical conflict in continuing to take his money.

At no point did anyone mention the fact that Michael Jackson is almost certainly suffering from body dysmorphic disorder.

A close friend of mine has also battled the debilitating symptoms of BDD for many years. Thankfully, she has now managed to achieve stability after a long struggle and occasional relapses. It helps that she has no private fortune, nor access to unscrupulous surgeons. If she had been granted every delusional whim, rather than being forced by sheer self-loathing and desperation to seek treatment, she would undoubtedly look similarly unearthly now.

By the time I was 15 or 16, I was no longer interested in Michael Jackson. Hip hop and indie had captured my attention. Sequinned gloves and moonwalking belonged to the 80s. The 1990s, I surmised, held no place for him.

I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Jackson’s sales were already dropping. His public behaviour was increasingly strange, and his face changed shape from one month to the next. The tabloids stopped alternating teasing editorial with expedient respect for his popularity, and started really laying into him.

And then things got even weirder.

He married Lisa Marie Presley. He married Debbie Rowe. He produced blonde, blue-eyed children like rabbits out of a hat, claiming they were his own. He gave two of them the same name. He dangled one of them off a hotel balcony.

He was accused of molesting a young boy named Jordy Chandler.

When the child abuse story hit the headlines, what surprised me most was how certain I felt that he was guilty. And how guilty I felt at assuming the worst about someone I used to admire, without hesitation.

As a former fan, I could have automatically given him the benefit of the doubt. I might have been among the legions who dismissed the allegations as ridiculous. But I wasn’t. And when he silenced his juvenile accuser with money, I didn’t cheer along with his loyal public. I wasn’t glad the charges had been dropped. I was disgusted at his amoral cowardice.

As you know, 46-year-old Michael Joseph Jackson has been accused of child molestation again, and he couldn’t fix it with dollars this time. The LAPD is out to get him. The biggest celebrity trial in recent history has just begun.

(Read the case against him here.)

Did he do it this time? Yes… I think he probably did.

Yet at the same time, I also believe it’s possible he is convinced he has done nothing wrong, and is being honest when he denies the charges.

Michael Jackson is clearly a damaged man, plagued by mental health problems and deeply scarred by a traumatic childhood. His eternal child/Peter Pan complex is more than just a marketing gimmick, it’s evidently an obsession. His ability to relate to children as equals is probably also real. The sinister side of these obsessive childlike delusions is that a grown man, with adult hormones and adult sensibilities, may genuinely believe anything he does with children is therefore normal. Little boys often play strange pre-sexual games with one another. In the crazed parallel universe of Neverland – a universe in which he only has to make a wish and it is granted by a paid lackey – Jackson may see no difference between that and his own behaviour. He may genuinely think it impossible for such activities to be child abuse, because he believes he counts as an honorary child too.

Or perhaps I’m still being naive and he’s just a really good liar. Perhaps he knows exactly what he’s doing. Who knows.

So, you see, the start of Jackson’s trial and the ensuing media circus makes me feel a little sad. Michael Jackson was once a disproportionately significant figure in my life, in the way childhood heroes often are. I discarded him long ago, but he still figures in the story of my life in the same way a memorable teacher might.

I’m hopeful that justice will be done this time, but it really depends on just how low the defence team are prepared to go. And given that they are employed by a superstar, they will probably stop at nothing to destroy the reputation of their opposition. However, the prosecutors seem equally determined to prevail, so we shall see. (Whatever happens, it will be played out in public for all the gawping world to see. Inevitably, the criminal justice system is no more than light entertainment when the protagonists are familiar faces.)

But even more than this, I feel sad at the sheer tragedy that is Michael Jackson. His body of work is packed full of genuine pop classics. (Who can keep still when the bassline of Billie Jean starts? Even you guitar boys have to concede that one.) He seemed to have so much promise. He was a naturally good looking young man, who hated himself so much he carved his face to pieces. He was blessed with rare gifts but exploited his position to gain the trust of children and their families, and used his fortune to build a huge child-friendly lair. If even one of the children’s allegations is true, somewhere along the line a talented, sweet-looking boy turned into a monster. Who – or what – made him that way?

A psychotherapist friend (who specialises in treating abused children) informs me that it is almost guaranteed that a sex offender who preys on children will have been abused him/herself as a child. According to her, abusers will procure children of the same age they were at the time their own abuse started. For example, if a man sexually molests boys of 11, it usually means that he was abused himself by a man from the age of 11. It also usually means he will not be interested in his victims once they grow out of that age group, for example when reaching puberty.

This information is irrelevant if Jackson is innocent. But if he did it, the next question we should be asking is: who abused Michael?

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