Jah Jah Dub

Friday, April 29, 2005

Hey, it turns out theatre need not be shit!

I saw Shopping and Fucking when I was at college. Wasn’t in a hurry to get back in the saddle after that one; and at these prices?

So I went to see Don Carlos yesterday. Thankfully it’s at the end of its run - you probably can’t go now even if you wanted to - so I can praise it without feeling responsible for anyone’s good time. You know what? It was magnificent.

Just when I was beginning to think that nothing was ever *that* good, really, it came along and showed me that I can still be captured by something, that enjoyment need not be a removed, “yes, I can see what they’re doing there. Very Clever.” I’m not going to bother reviewing it - plenty of those about if you’re that interested. But there was a moment about twenty minutes in when Derek Jacobi and Richard Coyle (the one member of the cast of Coupling that you might save from a studio fire) were talking - and may the Lord have mercy on my sinner's soul for writing this – where it seemed as if the set evaporated: all artifice became invisible and I was there and this was happening.

Not for the whole thing, of course: just now and again, like.

Advert I’m not loving at the moment: that one where the prick is walking along the street like a prick listening to music on his phone. Brilliant, as if pricks with iPods and pricks who care about phones weren’t pricks enough, they combine them into one. As the music changes, so does his hair. He’s loving it all, course he is, have you ever seen someone so hip? Then the country music comes on, he pulls a face (Urgh! Country) and settles into some Diet Reggae. What a prick.

You know which advert I’m loving? You know which advert I'm loving.

Why do people like this. It's rubbish.

Update: I had the wrong link in there before. Try it again.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Warning: Contains Football

Why the best result of a tournament is the one that occurred – See you later Dutch ‘78ers, Brazilian ‘82ers, Czech ‘04ers…

It is common for fans to complain that the best team of a tournament went uncrowned, unfairly beaten by some less glamorous upstarts.


The point of tournaments (of sport, even) is their “unfairness”. It’s about who won at a particular time, under particular conditions, within the rules – not who is “best”. Apart from corrupt officials, there is no such thing as an unfair result. The game is won by the team that scores the most goals, not the one with the prettiest passes. There would be no point holding a competition if this was otherwise – just award the trophy to the top ranked team. Or have a series of easily measured tests – passing accuracy, speed etc, add them up and give the award to the winner – no need to play each other. If tournaments are not there as exhibitions, rubber stamping a preordained order, then “better” teams will be taken out by “lesser” ones. And thank God for that.

Warning: Contains football and contrariness.

Why a neutral should never support Holland.

1) Like Arsenal they believe that football is only played going forward, and that other teams are spoiling it for everyone if they don’t stand aside and let them do what they like.

2) The racism and intolerance of the fans and players.

3) Dutch skill is performed with a sneer, to mock and humiliate. Ronaldinho could not come from Holland - his play comes from exuberance and a love of possibilities.

Why a neutral should support Germany.

1) Their long tradition of nurturing stylish talent – Beckenbauer, Klinsmann, Effenberg, Ballack etc.

2) Their respect for football as a contest, not an exhibition.

3) Their courage, strength and indefatigability.

4) Because they really wind up the Dutch.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jah Jah Dub Sports Book Review


Jah Jah Dub Sports Book Review


Jah Jah Dub Sports Book Review


Jah Jah Dub Sports Book Review


Jah Jah Dub Sports Book Review


Jah Jah Dub Sports Book Review


TV's great!

Jah Jah Dub Sports Book Review


The early morning and the sun have made London alien: a foreign city visited for a long weekend.

I'm in work, kids.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Real reactions I’ve had when reading a particularly pleasing development in the Flashman books:

1) Head jerked back, a short “Ha!”
2) Head shaken, delighted smile, a whispered “brilliant.”
3) Lips pushed into a circle like a baboon; from deep inside me blows a stunned “No!”
4) Book thrust onto bed; swept out of the room, arm pumping like a golfer who's made a thirty yard put.

Hitchens on Blair.

Nothing is more guaranteed to make one feel effeminate than wrapping a towel around one's head in the manner of a turban.


Monday, April 25, 2005

Warning: Contains Football

Following on from a comment stream below, I thought I'd make a post of it.

Chelsea, because of their riches, are restricted in who they can buy. If they show interest in any player then the price doubles. All the players they have brought in would have been obtainable under the old regime, and half the Premiership could have afforded them.


The two highest scorers in the Champions League last season were...

Didier Drogba: transfer cost to Chelsea - £24 million.

Fernando Morientes: Transfer cost to Liverpool - £6.3 million.

Some defenders who made their names in overachieving teams...

Ricardo Carvalho: Cost - £19.85 million.

Theodoros Zagorakis moved to Bologna on a free transfer.

Money has bought them one thing that was previously unavailable to them - a top manager. This is Mourinho's team, and the success is down to him.

Good article here for those of you that quite like William Blake.

I was waiting for Iraq to become more of an election issue. Turns out that those who *opposed* it are bringing it up! Imagine my surprise! Kennedy seeks Iraq war 'justice', apparently, seemingly unaware that the only just outcome would be the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in disgrace, revealed as the opportunistic worms they are. Tony Blair should return triumphant, with a majority of 400, an appropriate reward for running the best British foreign policy since the Second World War.

Working these crazy shifts has allowed me to discover a new favourite TV programme: Page Turners.

Warning: Contains Football

Apparently neutrals will be supporting Liverpool in the upcoming Champions League semi-final. For the first time I feel completely out of step with public opinion. Liverpool are quite fun, I suppose - amiable foreign manager, nice mix of excellent and hilarious imports, marvellous inconstistency - much like a recent Chelsea team. But their story has yet to gather momentum (though it has started well). I may be wrong, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but it seems to me that actual real-life people are not nearly so riled by Chelsea as are the (Mourhino dismissed) press (see also: Prince Charles). Come on, they're brilliant! Obviously!

NB: Three words for those of you tempted to cheer on Liverpool - Steven Bloody Gerrard.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Dude, I'm playing Singstar on my own.

What happened to that fresh-faced young lad, 19 years old, just back from Israel, smiling in his matriculation photo for King's College Cambridge, his blue Grandad shirt optimistically open? A nervy delight at what the future might hold beams from his face. It is almost unbearably poignant to behold.

Unfortunately The Playstation Man is unimpressed with my George Jones inflections.

UPDATE: G-Unit's back in the house! I have spoken less than 100 words *in real life* today. Now I have the chance to push that up to respectable hermit levels.

UPDATE 2: We did every song except Carl Douglas.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Pamela Anderson is coming across pretty well.

UPDATE: Actually, she's quite annoying.

Robert Downey Junior was on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross: somewhere between them lies my hero. Covered with the audience applause, shaking hands with Ross, Robert says to him, "Dude, you were awesome."

I would look to Downey Junior's life for inspiration, but I don't think I have the energy to go off the rails then heroically pull myself back from the brink.

Just got home from work: the house is empty. Guess I'll read some James Joyce and go to bed.

Party on, Al!


Please let it be good.

Interesting article about Iraq. A teasing quote:

Everywhere the British unionists go, they are congratulated on the virtues of prime minister Tony Blair.

That's not all it's about - read the whole thing*.

* If you're interested, like.

Party-comers may be interested that this is currently taking up floor space in our lounge/living room/sitting room/front room (delete according to socio-economic background). When I'm controlling Elizabeth from Essex, there's just no stoppin' my poppin'.

Yeah. That's what I thought you said.

I've seen this group live:

They're called Bond. Extraordinary. Almost as unlikely as my having seen Proud Mary twice.



Thursday, April 21, 2005

You may remember that there's a party at ours (me, Marty, two nice lads who don't have blogs) on Saturday 30th April. If you do not remember, then here's your reminder. If you read this blog on the sly, without having met me in real life, then why not come along? Could be fun - and, more importantly, a good and mysterious anecdote. Email me if you fancy it, we'll work something out.

I'm looking at you, Jake.

Great thing about being on your own in a five storey building, you can sing out loud as you walk around the office.

Managed to get some good reverb from the toilet walls on "Can't Take My Eyes off You".

Lessons I’ve learnt playing Singstar on the Play Station 2:

- Westlife have done at least one tune, "World of Our Own".

- Lemar’s 50-50 is quite good.

- Eternal Flame is a banker.

- The Ace of Spades is much easier than you might expect. You won’t sound like Lemmy, but you should score highly.

- Livin' La Vida Loca is pitched much higher than you think.


Monday, April 18, 2005

My shifts changed today, so I’ve just started work. Normally I’d be fixing to split about now to apply the nosebag, but I have a full day to go. I had the morning to myself, of course, cooked myself some easily-reheated dinner and got down with the Flashman. I have different responsibilities now, and as yet have no idea how onerous they’ll be. The office is deserted from six, so I guess I’ll listen to CDs. I might work my way through the stack I never listen to, review them here as I once did G4.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Ah, School of Rock: when have you ever failed me? Sweet memories I have of you, and you have never failed me yet. Although "Fancy pants", the designer, I could live without.

Best entertainment of the decade? Without question.

Oh, and Jack Black? I've had my eye on him since The Cable Guy.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Just turned to BBC3 and it's the only good episode of "Two Pints of Lager And A Packet of Crisps"! And at exactly the right moment too, just before Johnny's biscuit song!

Gonna say it again 'case you missed it!

UPDATE! Check out the BBC's review of *their own programmes*. It's true what they say, the cast is marvelous (Ralf Little is one hell of a left back). The writing, dismal.

You who (wrongly) rage against "Americanisms" (that is, old English words, dynamic synonyms, necessary neologisms and jazz improvisations) be aware: that way madness lies.

Anatomy of a Murder, one of my favourite films, is on at the NFT. I'm going, for sure. I really recommend you go too. Ever been to the NFT? It sure is po-faced. If you haven't, but have always meant to, then this could be your excuse to give it a try.

I won't bother selling the film to you, it's easy enough to find stuff out about it if you're interested. A brief summary though: it's too long, and the end is far too abrupt. It's a big shaggy imperfect film: brilliant. James Stewart confirms his place alongside Cary Grant as one of the finest actors in cinema history (*and* he plays piano with Duke Ellington), and George C. Scott is coruscating as the prosecuter dropped in from the city.

Article by Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president.

Those who used a concern for the Iraqi people as their reason for supporting or opposing the war might like to contribute to this campaign. Those who supported or opposed because they like to posture are free to spend their money on Mars bars, CDs and alcohol.

Chirac: vote for the constitution, the English hate it!

Cheers, Jacques.

Fancy voting according to politicians' tastes in music? Now you can! Best: probably Geoff Hoon. Beware George Galloway's affected choices.

UPDATE: Liam Fox's are alright.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Look! I'm *just* Labour and I hate everyone else!

I might try and alter the size and that of what follows:

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:


Your actual outcome:

Labour 10
Conservative -11
Liberal Democrat -4
UK Independence Party -22
Green -13

You should vote: Labour

The Labour Party is broadly pro-Europe and takes a strong line in favour of all anti-terrorism measures, and of course supported the war in Iraq. Labour is against explicit increases in income tax to fund public services and against the abolition of university tuition fees, but has pledged to reintroduce maintenance grants for students.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For


If you're a Labour supporter and you live in Folkestone and Hythe, Haltemprice and Howden or West Dorset, vote Liberal Democrat.


"G-spot Tornado, which I want played at my funeral..."

Can anyone tell me if Frank Zappa's any good? I dipped my toe when I was about eighteen, but became bored of the wackiness. But Germaine Greer likes him, and that makes me think I should take a second look.

Oh no! Damon Albarn doesn't like B-liar!

This is great.

When Blair's Labour Party chose the popular U2 anthem "Beautiful Day" for its general election campaign, the Irish rockers were quick to distance themselves from him.

"It is not an endorsement of the Labour Party on U2's part," a spokesman for the band said. "The group is flattered that Labour likes the tune, but they reserve their right to fall in and out with any political party and its policies."

The case recalls Ronald Reagan's use of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" for his 1984 election campaign, which prompted an angry reaction from the singer.

Yes. U2 sure sound angry.

And some vintage Michael Moore:

Even with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt on his side, Kerry failed to remove George W. Bush from office.

That failure forced Michael Moore, director of a hugely successful documentary lambasting Bush for the war on Iraq, to defend Hollywood's involvement in the election by saying that at least it prevented a Republican landslide.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Guardian blog has had a contest, "What should Bush have on his iPod?" As you can imagine, it's terribly lame.


Sorry Michael, I should have told you earlier.

Who would join the Conservative party? Who would vote *for* them rather than against Labour? There was a chance once, perhaps there still is, that the Conservatives could become radical rather than reactionary, could dictate the debate. If they came out for free trade, low taxation, small government, personal freedoms – gay rights, anti-racism, liberalization of drug laws, all those things that distort the market – then they would attract new support. A commitment to efficiency and equity (of opportunity if not outcome) across the board would mean constitutional and market reform. They would have ideas – or one big idea – and people who would never vote Conservative now might find that they make sense; no need to worry about the old Tories, they're not picking anyone else apart from UKIP, and can be written off. Quietly drop the nostalgia and “common sense” and they could actually progress.

Isn’t it obvious?

Article here by Simon Jenkins and what the Tories could/should have done.

"I will keep my fingers crossed that Chelsea will win the semi-final and the final."

Felix Magath joins the cult of Mourinho.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"sensible driving in sensible vehicles"

Mmm... that'd make for good television.

Remember kids, a reduced Labour majority means more seats for this lot.

Marty tries to keep his blog apolitical, so I'm sure he won't mind me posting about some idiocy he spotted.

What? Even worse than Eric Idle?

Terry Jones: if you can't be right, at least try to be funny - you manage neither. If I was on a desert island with this, I think I would rather eat it than read it: two less imaginative satirists it's hard to imagine. But I should focus. This article. We'll tactfully turn a blind eye to the humour - it's about as funny as sickle cell anaemia - and concentrate on the content. Apparently child malnutrition has increased over the last two years. So therefore:

Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.

It's pointless even going through this article pointing out the inconsistencies and errors, it screams them of its own accord. Summary: invasion was bad; sanctions were bad. What would have been good is left to the imagination, coexistence presumably, the most amoral of all the options. But there! I've fallen into his trap! I've taken it seriously! It's not even supposed to be reasoned. It's lazy, empty, mindless and immoral.

At least Eric Idle did the One Foot in the Grave theme tune.

UPDATE: Gary Kent does a much more thorough job on the article here.

In fact, I think College Football could be the cornish choice of the connoisseur.

Go Penn State!

Thinking about affectedly getting really into American Football; and then never shutting up about what an amazing and intricate game it is.

If you don't already - despite yourself - have just a little time for George W. Bush, check out his iPod.

My Sharona! MY SHARONA!

Thanks to Beefqueen for the tip-off.

Date: Apr 12, 2005 12:14 AM
Subject: Party

Dear Derren,

We are having a party at our house in South London on 30th April. If
you're free why not come along? We're not expecting any magic from
you, but you seem like a nice guy and maybe you'd enjoy yourself? We
saw you in Croydon about a year ago - you were great! Anyway, if you
fancy a night out then let me know.

Yours etc.



How kind of you to take the trouble to write and make such a tempting invite.
Derren is on tour and is unable to take up your offer.
Have a great time.

But, above all, Labour supporters who vote against Blair would not be endorsing policies they abhor: the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the anti-terrorism measures, privatisation and the like.

It sounds reasonable. The only objection seems to be that the calculation involves a kind of intellectual cowardice by people who want to keep their consciences clean while relying on others to get on with the dirty business of voting in a Labour government.

But the real problem isn't intellectual or moral but the practical possibility that political sophisticates are nowhere near as wised-up as they like to imagine. All the calculations and the striking of daring positions stand on a reckless gamble that the polls are right.

Nick Cohen.


Monday, April 11, 2005

And Derren Brown has a new series.

Life is sweet.

What an excellent night.

Gary's birthday so we went bowling. Three games, three wins: forgive my boasting.

Then back to the house for Singstar karaoke. I'll stick up the tunes tomorrow, but Mis-Teeq: Scandalous was pretty special.

If we were to have a party on the 30th April, would anyone come? It may be a Bank Holiday, is that going to be a problem? It's a movable feast, barbecue and karaoke.

Guarded optimism from some patsies of US imperialism.

Who's throwing eggs for the Chechnyans?*

You see this? Did you see it? Sickened to your stomach?

Listen, if you live in Bethnal Green and Bow constituency, please vote for Oona King. If you need reasons, I'll give you reasons; at the moment I don't trust myself to be measured.

Oh, and how come no one (even British Muslims) cares when Muslims die under brutal despotisms? Is oppression OK as long as the oppressors don't have white skin? Where are you, you defenders of Muslims?

* Good name for a band?


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Is it me, or are ATMs more reticent, more timorous with the card return nowadays?


Thursday, April 07, 2005

There's a hail storm outside. Thunder and lightning and all that.

The meteorologists make a monkey of me once again.

Fair play, they replied:

To: Lembit Opik

Dear Mr Opik,

Or may I call you Lembit? It's so hard to tell nowadays! Email has led
to a confusion over etiquette, don't you think?

I am trying to promote my blog,, and was
wondering if I could feature a quote from you? Something along the
lines of:

"Hi, I'm Lembit Opik, and I read Jah Jah Dub every day (or whenever
the busy parliamentary calender allows)."

My friends and I think you're quite the "cool dude", so my credibility
would soar!

Keep up the good work: thanks to you, I'm now terrified of meteorites!

Best wishes to you and yours,



Dear Alastair,

I work for Lembit in Westminster. The great man asked me to tell you "Good luck with the blog"- feel free to put that on the website.

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Liked your line about George Plimpton and the "ease and charm that only an upbringing of extreme privilege can give." He's good in When We Were Kings- the M Ali Doc.

All the best


John *********
Parliamentary Researcher
Office of Lembit Öpik MP

Literary Hitch

That's nice, I got there before him for once. You see, one of my latest affectations is the learning of verse. His case for it is here.

Nor can any student in any of my English classes produce a single sonnet of Shakespeare: not even to get themselves laid (the original purpose of the project).

I read this recently, so I'm obviously an expert. This could be momentous (though if there's a split, not in a good way).

The Boss is back.


For reasons I can't fathom, Strictly Dance Fever doesn't seem to be getting the blanket coverage it deserves. The format is magnificently flawed. Graham Norton’s doing his best - shorn of the armour of innuendo – but we’re introduced to far too many couples at this audition stage. It’s compulsive though, and there is always a loathsome couple in love with themselves to boo and a couple of charming kids to cheer. And it’s on early enough that you can get out and do other things. I predict that Casey and Toby will be the story of the series. Inspired by them, and my new maxim, “what would Plimpton do?” I may be about to take my first wobbly steps into “Jive” and “Lindy Hop”.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I have a new hero : George Plimpton.

With the ease and charm that only an upbringing of extreme privilege can give, George Plimpton ambled through a magnificent life.

Item! He went to King’s. Just like me! I only found that out yesterday. Extraordinary. They should have renamed the college.

Item! He pitched against Willie Mays and a host of All Stars!

Item! He founded the Paris Review!

Item! He trained with the Detroit Lions as a lanky 36 year old rookie!

Item! He wrestled to the ground Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy’s assassin.

Item! Everyone loved him!

Item! When Scorsese made The Age of Innocence he instructed his cast to talk like Plimpton!

Item! He was in EdTV and LA Story!

He is best.

There's an overview here, and a late interview here.

Sell out.

I’m sure I’ve used intemperate words to describe those who would join political parties. I am now one of those herding morons. They almost lost me with that fox hunting nonsense, and I’m not so keen on that “Brown” fellow, but their sterling work on tuition fees and the Iraq war carried the day. I’m coming out squarely for Labour in this election.

I’m speaking to you now, you who may have voted Labour once but now are not so sure: before you decide to throw your vote away on the loathsome reactionaries of “Respect”, or the ridiculous and cynical Liberal Democrats, think hard. Do you remember what it was like having the Tories in power? Really? Is this a risk you want to run? When evaluating the present government’s record it is obvious that they could have done more. However, think about what the Conservative party would have done in response to asylum pressures and terrorism. Think of the positive changes of the last eight years.

I’m glad of the result in 1997, and I’m glad of the result in 2001. I hope I’m glad of this result too, but this time I’m more worried. I can’t be bothered going door to door so I’ll canvas here. Just a little.


Friday, April 01, 2005

I sent this to Sony last week. No reply as yet:

Two minutes on google and I still can't find Louis Walsh's email
address. I would be grateful if you could pass this on to the relevant

I have tirelessly promoted G4's career through my website,, visited by more than a hundred hipster
movers and shakers a day. Right from the early days of X-factor I
realised that I was witnessing something special, and I tried to
spread the word.

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not claiming credit for the recent
number one album; but I can't have done any harm.

Any chance that you could throw me a couple of tickets to the Albert
Hall concert on the sixth of July? Failing that, a t-shirt wouldn't go

Many thanks, both for the music, and in anticipation of a wonderful night!



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