Audience participation&Random life14 Mar 2006 06:22 pm

And here’s a picture Lord Bargain brought me back from Holland:

The art of blog13 Mar 2006 08:57 pm

Missy says button it It’s all gone a bit John le Carré here today. Sorry about that. It’s all a ruse to add excitement to what is essentially a rather dull blog at the moment.

I won’t make a habit of concealing posts, but the two below were rather cliquey and concerned only my dearest long-serving regulars. Not much use to the casual punter.

In future such cases, passwords will be emailed to the hardcore Fox massive at the time of posting. See, I told you I’d come up with bonus extras for registered users… OK, not particularly enticing as incentives go, but hey.

No more to say, once again, but hugs to you all and hope you’re enjoying your week. Please do any special weather dance you can devise to bring forth spring. A bit of sunshine would do us all good, particularly in this chilly grey country. Brrr.

Arts&Audience participation&Pop culture07 Mar 2006 06:24 pm

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Arts&Audience participation&Pop culture26 Feb 2006 01:58 pm

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Environment&Random life24 Feb 2006 12:12 am

Ooh, it’s been Controversy Corner here for the last couple of days. To keep the momentum of well-mannered disagreement going, tell me what you think about this. Admittedly, it’s not in the same league as the previous issue, but it could still lead to fisticuffs at dawn depending on your viewpoint.

This evening I was with a very old friend (she’s my age, I mean we’ve been friends 20 years) and she told me that two friends of hers shoot squirrels in their back garden. They wait until their daughter is in bed and then they go outside and gun them all down.

I was horrified.

Call me a lily-livered pansy and/or a Buddhist (neither would be a million miles from the truth), but squirrels are (a) great (b) cute (c) harmless. Surely?

No, the trigger-happy couple say, they are vermin. They strip bark off trees. They must be DESTROYED.

But no… no, surely not? They’re excellent assets to any garden or wood, because they tidy up all the discarded conkers. And they’re very clever too. The ones in Russell Square are so used to people, they’ll wander right up to you and stare at you to see if you might be concealing acorns about your person. That enhances any urban bench experience.

The ones round my home make me happy on a daily basis, just bobbing around the trees and nibbling snacks with both hands. They’re part of the ecosystem. They don’t invade our homes or attack us. They’re fluffy. What’s not to love?

Reader, are squirrels expendable vermin or valuable wildlife? You tell me.

Gender&Human rights22 Feb 2006 05:58 pm

Cunt Ladies! Gentlemen! May I introduce you to Travis Frey?

Travis is 33 and from Iowa. He has been charged with kidnapping his own wife and involvement in child pornography.

Sounds like a special guy, doesn’t he? Oh, but that’s not all.

Travis drew up this marriage contract for his long-suffering wife to sign and adhere to. She didn’t sign it and instead gave it to the police.

In this document, he proposes to award her “GBDs” (Good Behaviour Days) if she complies with his demands, which she can redeem to get out of a few of her duties, and to deduct them whenever she does not comply to his complete satisfaction.

I wanted to pull a few quotes out of it to astound you, but the whole thing is just incredible. Check these out:

(Page 2)“You are to do everything that is requested or expected of you, if you do not you are considered noncompliant. You are also noncompliant if you start something and can or will not finish, even if you state you are in pain and something hurts.”

(Page 3)“Shaving will be done every third day, and includes underarms, legs and pubic area (navel to anus), all areas are to be completely clean shaven. Every Saturday you are to use the Walh clippers with a guard no greater than 1/2″, and then present yourself to me for a measurement check.”

(Page 4)“You are to pose for 20 photos per quarter on demand, unless your quota is filled. Outfits, toys and poses will always be chosen by me. You must be freshly shaven on the day that photos are taken regardless of your shaving schedule. You will also style hair, apply make up and nail polish as needed.”

“By the end of the first day of each quarter you are to choose your ‘pet name’ that you want me to call you by. Your choice must meet my approval, and noncompliance will be a 20 GBD loss.”

Woman and gun He adds helpfully:

“This is not a contract; it is a description of rules for you.”

Nice of him to clear that up.

Oh, but that’s not the half of it. There is much, much more.

Read the original document here (4 misspelt pages) and then answer me this: is it wrong to wish there was a dingy corner of Guantánamo Bay reserved especially for the re-education of Travis Frey?

American politics&British politics&Middle East21 Feb 2006 01:16 am

So let’s get this straight.

You’re a north African Muslim and a qualified pilot. You can work in Britain.

Somehow, you can be falsely accused of training terrorists. You can be wrongly detained in one of Britain’s most notorious high security prisons. You can be threatened with extradition to the US as a terror suspect, with all the nightmarish visions that conjures. Then you can be released after 5 months without charge and told by a judge there is not a bit of evidence against you.

But you aren’t eligible for any compensation for the wasted 5 months of your life, your ruined career or the injustice you have suffered.

Huh?

Lofti Raissi

Luckily Algerian pilot Lotfi Raissi has now won the right to a judicial review, which means he might just get some compensation for his pains after all.

But if he still doesn’t win the argument, it means we have a criminal justice system which allows an Algerian to be banged up in Britain for no reason and receive no recompense for his shredded life even when found innocent.

Well, I feel safer just thinking about it. Thanks once again, government.

Global politics&News media&Self&Writing20 Feb 2006 10:51 am

I spend a small fortune on books as it is, but have just found another book I ‘need’: it is Steven Poole’s Unspeak, an analysis of the slippery language used by governments, media and pressure groups.

Did you know the term “climate change” (as a replacement for the more frightening “global warming”) was invented by a coalition of oil companies led by the US and Saudi Arabia to remove the catastrophic connotations in the original term? Stands to reason, I suppose. Always good to see these things pointed out though, lest we overlook such extraordinary rendition – ha – of language.

Red planet In other news: it would seem that my newborn novel project could loosely be considered science fiction. Not just that, but according to one person, some aspects of it could even be considered a bit science fantasy. Crikey. I’ve never read any so-called science fantasy in my life, to my knowledge. How does that work then? My subconscious mind is a stranger to me, truly.

Self&Writing17 Feb 2006 04:30 pm

As you know, I failed spectacularly at NaNoWriMo this year.

Actually, “spectacularly” makes it sound better than it was. I failed limply.

Old book Anyway, I’m starting again. Now. Here. Just me. No month-long time limit. No hourly word count. It’s a crazy idea but it might just work.

So what I’d really like from you is a virtual kick every now and then, to make sure I’m still on track and still writing for this project specifically. Otherwise I might be distracted by shiny things and flutter off, like the magpie I secretly am.

Would you do that for me?

In return, I promise not to drone about it too frequently on here. Maybe just once or twice a week… no, a month. No, occasionally. How’s that?

Thanks for your help. Have a great weekend, each and every one of you. You rock like plutonium-powered rocking horses on a gondola, and I wouldn’t say that to just anyone.

Quick, have Morrissey’s new video before the lawyers get all shirty and take it down.

Pop culture&Random life15 Feb 2006 06:43 pm

Nathan Fillion After watching about half the series of Firefly, it occurred to me that Nathan Fillion (right) was a bit of a sexpot. Yet I couldn’t work out why.

He’s not an obvious sex symbol. He’s OK looking, but there are a million other celebrities who are theoretically more physically attractive.

It took quite a while to work it out. Finally I realised where his appeal, for me, lay.

He looks his age and he’s had no work done on his face or body.

Yes, that’s literally it.

He’s in his mid-30s and you can tell. You can see every facial expression. No Botox, no collagen, no chemical peels. He’s got bags under his eyes and his eyes wrinkle when he laughs. He hasn’t got a stomach like a ladder. He hasn’t got shiny bulbous biceps or a waxed chest. He’s not eerily symmetrical. He’s got the nose he was born with.

He looks like a real human.

Real humans are a scarce commodity in showbiz. Once I realised what it was that made him different, and therefore sexier, it got me wondering.

If non-celebrities are having more and more cosmetic surgery these days, and celebrities are unable to have a career nowadays unless they’re remodelled, even if they’re natural beauties to begin with – Halle Berry and Sharon Stone have been tinkered with in multiple areas, for heaven’s sake – then will we eventually witness the fetishisation of natural ageing in those rare exceptions who choose to go au naturel?

Am I just an early adopter of a future trend?

In the future, will real moving faces and non-Action Man/Barbie bodies be the subject of cult appreciation?

Will pallid complexions and wrinkles one day be as rare and prized as a real hourglass figure or a natural blonde?

Will Nathan read this tribute to unspoilt beauty and cancel his face lift?*

*Joke. He probably hasn’t booked one. [Please don’t, Nathan]

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