Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Today the Zimbabwean dollar stands at Z$1.2 trillion to the £ sterling. That's Z$ 1,200,000,000,000 to one pound or to put it another way - 10 million per cent inflation. ...all those zeros and you still can't buy a single meal.
Monday, 21 July 2008
Zimbabwe has collapsed - the official inflation rate is over 2 million per cent, hundreds have died in political violence, a month's salary won't even buy one meal, the country has no leadership after the single candidate 'election' so what counts as news for The Herald ( the government's propoganda paper)? Why the government's battle against a plague of red locusts of course!
For those of you fortunate enough never to have read a government mouthpiece, it's certainly a laugh, even if only for the surreal, head-in-the-sand approach.
Sunday, 20 July 2008
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Love 'em or loathe 'em, celebrities form the background to our lives, taunting us with their perfect bodies and shiny, shiny hair and their impossibly complicated love lives.
Now ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of Photoshop and some creativity, a form of justice can be metered out...
Imagine, if you will, Elizabeth Hurley after a few months in front of the television, eating Doritos...
Mr. Jolie - Brad Pitt, actor and all round hunk becomes Dave, plumber from Essex and white van driver...
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Music, for all it's freewheeling, libertarian image can be a rather narrow-minded, parochial business at times. Certain music is deemed 'cool' and certain music isn't. If you don't understand what I mean, try telling a scruffy haired, N.M.E. reading, indie kid that you have a penchant for Celine Dion. See?
It can be a treacherous and sometimes puzzling path, trying to navigate the line between trendy toons and Dad rock, with no real indicators as to what's what... Sometimes a band can switch from being cool to being uncool merely because they sell a lot of records. Look at the case of Razorlight. Popularity, you see, is Not Hip. This, however, isn't a hard and fast rule - witness Radiohead's baffling success, for example.
I don't know why it's so, I don't make the rules.
Before we continue, let me state for the record - I love music; many different types of music, both cool AND uncool. There! I feel better now that I've got that off my chest.
Purchasing terminally unhip music can be more nervewracking than buying condoms as a teenager. A couple of days ago I was browsing the racks in Zavvi when I came across 'Rhinestone Cowboy - The Best of Glen Campbell' for next to nothing. Glen Campbell, you see, is Not Cool. Normally I wouldn't have cared less but the guy at the checkout really was cool. And hot as hell. I had to spend the next twenty minutes trying to find something else to buy so that I could sandwich the offending CD between them. I ended up buying two extra DVD's and spending nigh on £20 instead of the original £3 that the CD cost.
Altogether now...'Galveston oo Galveston...'
The twentieth teenager has died in a fatal stabbing in London this year and the media continues to whip itself up into a moral panic, blaming everything from 'hopelessness' to 'a lack of good role models'.
Maybe popular culture should stop celebrating violence and under - achievement. You can't tell kids that it's cool to be a thug then recoil in horror when they actually become one.
Friday, 11 July 2008
Overhead in the checkout queue in Sainsburys.
Depressed housewife #1 (surveying shopping basket full of fruit and veg); ' I'm trying to get my son to eat more vegetables'.
Depressed housewife #2; 'Ooo, I've given up trying to get my son to eat healthy. I can't even make him stop fighting at school and getting suspended.'
Just as I've decided to occasionally award a 'Hero of the Day', so I shall also have to award an occasional 'Villain of the Day'.
The first villain's award will have to go to the girl who washed my hair in the hairdresser's yesterday. I sat down at one of those bowl things - you know - you lean against the bowl thing and the girl stands behind you whilst she washes your hair and all the water runs down the bowl and not onto your shoulders. There's probably a technical term for them, I just don't know what it is.
Anyway, I digress... I sat down and the girl asked if the height of the bowl thing was ok. 'Yes,' I said, 'It's perfect'. It was.
She then promptly pulled the bowl up by about a centimetre. This was now not perfect. It was bloody agonising. It was cutting into the back of my neck and it made me start to see stars.
I bore the pain stoically for as long as I could (about a minute) before I asked her if she could lower the height. 'Yea,' she said as she pushed down with both hands and all her strength on the bowl. I had to abruptly slide right down the seat in order to avoid being compressed to the size of a garden gnome.
'Is that ok?', she chav-drawled.
... er... Let's think about this... I'm practically horizontal in the seat, with my neck at a 90 degree angle... Do I look ok? But of course, I didn't say this. She was clearly crazed and/or simple and I didn't want to enrage her. I mean, she had me in a vulnerable position there, she could squirt shampoo in my face or something. 'That's fine', I replied and spent the next ten minutes gripping onto the arms of the surprisingly slippery chair, trying not to slide off it completely, whilst she vigorously lathered my hair.
I didn't give her a tip but perhaps I should have - "Practise saying 'Would you like to Super-Size that?' You're gonna need it"
Thursday, 10 July 2008
I just can't stop looking at the photographs flooding in from Zimbabwe. I don't want to but I can't stop. Hundreds and hundreds of photos, broken, bloodied bodies. The woman beaten so badly that her buttocks have been reduced to a mass of shredded flesh - the man beaten on the soles of the feet - the six year old boy with the swollen, bruised face - the decomposing body of the MDC driver shot in the back with his trousers round his ankles. On and on it goes and I can't stop looking. I gorge unwilling, on the blood, the flesh and after a while the images merge into one. Maybe if I keep on looking, the pain will subside and they'll just become pictures.
It's the ordinary, everyday details that really jar. See the picture of the man with his fingernails removed? He bought his shirt from the Farmer's Co-op... I can't believe they're still selling those shirts! Look at Tendai Biti, shackled and manacled in prison... he's wearing an Arsenal top just like the man in the greengrocers down the road! Check the photo of the man lying dead on the ground with that stick still embedded in his torso... those huts in the background look just like the huts on the way to the lake! The mundane details of life become infused with horror.
On and on and on it goes. I walk down the High Road to the post office and I look at the faces of the people on the street and I wonder - if this madness was happening here, in Britain, in London, who would be the torturer and who would be the tortured?
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
I've decided to occasionally award people with ... well, an award, when I think that they've done a little extra something to make my day just a tiny bit easier.
The first award is gonna go to the bus driver who waited for me at the bus stop while I thundered the 100 or so metres down the road, in the rain, to the bus stop. He didn't even laugh when I stumbled, sodden, on to the bus, mascara running and caught my umbrella in the door.
So, Mr Arriva Bus Driver, thank you! I salute you.
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
I'm not sure that I agree with all the sentiments shown here - I'm not even certain what they're actually advertising but it's beautifully made and definately worth a look.
Love the use of the Buffalo Springfield track.
Monday, 7 July 2008
It's been a quiet day today.
Yesterday was pretty full on. I was working at the Grand Prix. When I say 'working', I mean that in a loose sense. We turned up on Thursday and loaded in all the lighting gear for the party after the race then stayed on site until Sunday, just partying and watching the qualifiers. Not bad at all. Full pay of course. Naturally it rained but that's par for the course in an English summer.