Jah Jah Dub

Sunday, October 31, 2004

I was accosted in the street by some tiny costumed beggers crying, "trick or treat!" I muttered a "sorry" somewhere to the left of them and continued on my way, heroically indifferent to the danger of a well-aimed strike with a plastic trident.

I'm sure you can make up your own joke about this.


Friday, October 29, 2004

Dowdy Bee

This is quite interesting, you fans of the contrary interjection. There are some inaccuracies, of course. Stating that Bush has "more or less washed his hands of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process..." is misleading as he is the first American president to ever talk of a "Palestinian state". Compare this with Kerry, who has never criticised Israel. Am I saying that the incumbent is therefore better than the challenger? Come come. You know better than that by now.

I was just outside buying some fruit when a big ol' insect flew into my eye. Luckily it wasn't a bee, sexy or otherwise.

NB: Follow the link. "Surprise him!" I'll say.

Hmmm... See the problem with this story?

If no one is buying singles then why is it easier to get in the charts? If the number of singles released is the same as it ever has been (I have no idea if this is the case), then isn't it exactly as hard to get into the top 40? The point is that sales are down on *all* singles. As the chart is ordinal, it's as hard to get in as it ever was. If released now, blockbuster number ones from the past - The Power of Love, Deeply Dippy etc - would sell fuck-all too. Do you see?

NB A lower volume of singles sold will make distortion of the chart easier. Scoring a Top 5 hit means less now.

Kerry and The Boss

John Kerry:

“The first rock’n’ roll concert I took my two daughters to — and they remember it — was a ‘Born in the USA’ tour,” he said.

Can't fault it.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Oh, here's the karaoke place. Our search was one street too lazy.

Just responding to Laura's points here. The comments are transient: the body eternal.

I've got to say I've never agreed with a word he's said, although I concede that he's funny, if you're a certain type of nihilistic cynic.

I've fallen out of love with Bill Hicks, as well (not that he's got anything to do with PJ apart from their respective loud cynicism).

I realise I'm wrong about both of these people, I just can't bring myself to embrace their world view.

P.J. O'Rourke

It's taken me a while to rid myself of the jerking-knee and allow myself to enjoy his writing. His philosophy can be summarised as a distrust of (all) ideologies* and an intolerance of stupidity. I don't agree with all his points, in fact, I disagree with a lot of what he says, but he usually forces you to define why you don't agree with him. Either way, he is pretty funny; there's a load of his quotes here. Most of them don't work too well on their own, lifted from the text; he tends to use humour as a way of making a point, not for its own sake. I like this one though:

"At best Asian music is off-brand American pop, like Sonny Bono in a
karaoke bar. At worst Asian music sounds as if a truck full of wind
chimes collided with a stack of empty oil drums during a birdcall

It's just a joke, un-po your face. There are serious ideas here too:

"I guess the argument of contextuality is that anything is okay as
long as it's done by people who are sufficiently unlike you."

I think that cuts through most of the nonsense surrounding the Tatchell-Beenie Man furore very effectively.

* Sure can't be bothered arguing with the point that this is in itself an ideology.

Bill Hicks

Appeals to me much less than he used to. For all his preacher-truth-teller-martyr reputation, sometimes he's just plain wrong. He's right about artists losing all credibility when they endorse products. He's wrong about Rick Astley being rubbish (Never Gonna Give You Up is the best song of the '80s. Copyright: Danny Baker). Also, his obsession with that colossal red herring the Kennedy assassination becomes increasingly wearying.

PJ was good last night; I kept nodding with agreement and thinking, "would I once have found this contoversial?" I asked a question but didn't get a book signed. After a few drinks we mounted a quest to try and find the local karaoke bar. This quest was unsuccessful.


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Actually, fuck it. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but I obviously didn't care that much when he was alive or I would have listened to his show. See also: Tony Blackburn.

Steel yourselves for innumerable lachrymose tributes. Now calm down, I'm not saying he's rubbish: I know he meant a lot to many people. But he wasn't much to me, and I'm not about to start pretending.

And I never did get round to regularly listening.

What's that? You want to see a photo of three generations of Johnston males? Very well then:

Of course Ian.

Suspecting that an amused desire to say, "well fit", in response to any earnest query along the lines of, "what do you think of Germaine Greer?" explains my claim to sort-of fancy her.

I've forgotten my mobile today. Call me at work or email me if you need to get in touch.


Monday, October 25, 2004

When you think about it, Johnny Mnemonic is an excellent name for a film.

Warning: Contains football

The Guardian's hilarious pro-Arsenal bias* is evident again today. Obviously I didn't see the game; I only like football in the abstract. But what comes around goes around, my friends, and Arsenal's unbeaten run had more than a whiff of luck about it. This is obviously the best result for neutrals.

* See also the respect given to the French side. However they play. Dowdy English journalists blinded by awestruck misconceptions of gallic flair? But of course.


Friday, October 22, 2004

Thick, lazy rugby-bore gets in kerfuffle outside tedious, pretentious club which allows Dean Gaffney as a member. He's still better than William.

Spotted on Piccadilly: even geekier than a business man on a Segway, an anoraked man wearing a bicycle helmet. On a Segway.

I had a last minute offer to go to a black tie dinner with the England Rugby team last night. I chose to bathe and read P. J. O'Rourke.

Favourite bit so far:

"A middle-aged, heterosexual, college-educated male wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt and a string-bikini bottom and carrying a purse - what else could it be but a vacationing Frenchman?"


Thursday, October 21, 2004

Why not try spotting as many inconsistencies, untruths, simplifications and misleading arguments as you can in this (on both sides, by the way)? It'll while away a few idle minutes.


"...Remember, first Lafayette liberated America from British shackles..."

Oh really? "Shackles" you say? Nice.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

One for the ladies:

So this arrived for me at work this morning:

How many times must I remind myself never to go on ebay drunk?


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

You couldn't make it up. Actually, I just did! Over at Big As A Whale.


Monday, October 18, 2004

I've just been delayed in returning to the office by the "Parade of Olympians". Would it be cruel to suggest that the police presence was larger than the crowd? Yes. It would also be inaccurate. Still, it was hardly heaving. Anyway, I just saw Matthew Pinsent (huge! In a group!), Kelly Holmes (tiny! On her own!) and the 4x100m team - you know, Darren Campbell and... the other three. Note: I did not see any of them win their medals on television but I have seen them wearing them in real life. Who is best? It is me: I can share in the warm glow of glory without the anxiety of watching any races.

Warning: Contains football.

A year ago I was loudly claiming that Adrian Mutu would be one of the most successful imports to the Premiership. I may have been premature. Still, you make enough predictions and some of them will come off, giving you the appearance of a sage. Just ask Nostradamus.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Just spent a couple of hours in the pub for my line manager's birthday. I really didn't expect to spend much of it talking to my managing director about the merits of the Sultans of Ping FC.


Thursday, October 14, 2004

Oh yeah, the meal. Well, it wasn’t so bad, I guess. It was at a posh hotel on Park Lane, I was the youngest person on my table by twenty years, the booze was free and plentiful, this dude gave the speech – long on rugby stories, short on his experience teaching Tony Blair to read, which was a little odd given the largely foreign make up of the audience – which was OK, if overlong, and a terrible classical quartet of young girls played rocky versions of Mozart and a string-heavy take on Britney’s Toxic. Some guy I speak to every day on the phone couldn’t work out who I could possibly be; he thought I must be Italian, due to my continental hair. Then there was more free booze and I had a cab home on expenses – the first taxi I’ve taken in London in two years. It was fine.

Check out the last section of this.

"Many market players were sidetracked by meetings or travelling instead of trading."

Or perhaps they were just tired and emotional.

This is from James's blog. I'm keeping the chain going.

Copy the list on to your blog, put in bold the ones you have listened to (completely from begining to end) and then add three more albums that you think people should have heard before they turn into their parents. Remember: it isn't necessarily your favourite albums but the ones you think people should listen to ... and when we say listen we mean from track one through to the end...

AND Delete up to THREE albums you think shouldn't have made it on.

If you put a link to your follow-on post in the comments of the site where you found it, the chain will be trackable. Maybe!

1) Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
2) London Calling - The Clash
3) Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chilli Peppers
4) Think Tank - Blur DELETED
5) This is Hardcore – Pulp
6) Larry Levan - Live at the Paradise Garage
7) Elastica - Elastica
8) Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols - Sex Pistols
9) OK Computer - Radiohead
10) The Kiss of Morning - Graham Coxon
11) Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars - David Bowie
12) The Wall - Pink Floyd DELETED
13) Setting Sons - The Jam
14) America Beauty - The Grateful Dead
15) Toxicity - System of a Down DELETED
16) Train a Comin' - Steve Earle
17) Folksinger - Phranc
18) Come From the Shadows - Joan Baez
19) Bat out of Hell - Meatloaf
20) The River - Bruce Springsteen
21) Bjork - Post
22) Copperhead Road - Steve Earle
23) Berlin Tapes - Iva Davies & IceHouse
24) (What's the Story) Morning Glory - Oasis
25) The Fat of the Land - The Prodigy
26) Suede - Dog Man Star
27) Kylie - Impossible Princess
28) Michael Jackson - Thriller
29) Dinah Washington - Blue Gardenia

New Additions:

Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Prince – Around the World in a Day
Frank Sinatra – Live in Seattle 1957

I would prune out at least half of that list. You need reasons? Because they’re tired old shite. It pains me to leave The Prodigy and Radiohead, but it seems we must slay our monsters three at a time.

Reasons for my additions? They’re all good.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Christ, this is such a non-story with the usual phoney moral outrage. Geoff Hurst, you can shut your sanctimonious stupid mouth. What have you ever done?

A little... delicate...


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

So I'm going to the London Metal Exchange annual dinner tonight. Black tie and all that. I shall be taking a pen and some paper to keep some kind of record. I'm the man on the inside of international capitalism. Next step: The Bilderberg Group.


Monday, October 11, 2004


"The little-Englander Left..."

"Neil Diamond: better than the Velvet Underground..."

"The embarrassing crushes middle aged journalists have for David Beckham..."

"Marx Shmarx: Theory as a substitute for dealing with the world."

"Radicalism as cloak for misanthropy."

"Americanisms have vitalised the English language."

"Annoying people who actually hold extremely similar opinions to yourself is the new black."

Which will it be? Only time will tell.


Friday, October 08, 2004

“Sacred cows make the best Hamburger.”

1)The Simpsons
2)Chris Morris
3)The Notting Hill Carnival
4)Kathy Burke
5)Will Self
6)Brian Wilson
7)Mo Mowlam
8)Lester Bangs
9)George Orwell
10)Tony Benn

This may become an occaisonal series, here or on Big As A Whale.

Yesterday on the Farm Debbie McGee had to clean away the smegma from under a horse's "sheath" after Vanilla Ice, né Rob Van Winkle, had squeemishly recoiled from the task. In what way has "dumbing down" made television worse?

The Brightest Star of Them All – Jeff Brazier


A clever-clever title about post-modernism, possibly juxtaposing a reference to Derrida or Baudrillard with one to Rebecca Loos.

Famous for being married to a reality TV contestant. That "star", Jade Goody, was first loathed then loved but either way didn’t seem to be acting or have any discernable talent other than being Jade Goody. Jeff's entire media career* consists only of appearances on *Celebrity* reality shows – Celebrity Wife Swap, a cameo in Back to Reality, taking part in Simply the Best, a full team member in The Farm and the forthcoming Famous and Frightened for Living TV – without *ever* having a particular talent or any success to earn the initial fame that TOFAT careers are usually built on. A true post-modern hero. Jeff , I salute you!

* Further research reveals that he was on Shipwrecked in 2001. We’ll gloss over that.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Insecure middle class social climber that I am, I went to a concert yesterday at the Royal Festival Hall. In the toilets I saw John Pilger. Five, maybe six, years ago I read Hidden Agendas and felt my mind blown; a whole world of politics opened up. Following the trail I looked into other writers with a Pilger connection, examined more carefully some of the situations he described… I remember considering writing to him to thank him for this, to thank him for changing the way I think. I didn’t, of course, but I thought about it. Back then meeting him in some public conveniences would seem impossibly exciting and I would probably have spoken to him and been embarrassingly sincere. As it turned out I just thought, “Hey look! John Pilger. Now where was I…” Pilger and I have parted ways of late; I no longer rely on him to make my moral judgements for me. The path he started me on has made me question his own worldview and see, to my mind, his limitations. Still, I thank him for kicking it off. It's all too easy to sneer at those first steps, those "Introducting..." guides and best ofs, but we must all start somewhere. Nice one John, here’s to you.*

*Although I notice that your identification with the oppressed didn’t prevent you from picking the most expensive tickets in the house, right front and centre.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004



Monday, October 04, 2004

I'm climing back into the freakin' womb. First I watch Shrek 2, then I listen to the Goodies, then I install some Lucasarts games. Hi Loom!

Bought from Ebay, the magic key to the kingdom of my childhood:

I love America.


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