Miscarriage Of Justice

Lots of us don’t care much for our neighbors. But this old fart has set a new record:

Axe-wielding pensioner, 67, threatened to chop his neighbours’ heads off and burn down their house because they’re SCOTTISH

Apparently this is a Bad Thing in Britishland, despite the fact that many Stout Bulldogs share his sentiments. What disturbs me are the charges the man faces:

Rattigan was found guilty after a trial of using abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of violence and racially aggravated harassment

Now I’ve heard some bullshit laws in my time — and since when was abusing Porridge Monkeys a “racial” issue, anyway?

Still, considering that said old fart is a Pikey, we can probably file this whole matter under “Nobody Gives A Shit, Either Way”… because apparently, calling the so-called “travelers” (a.k.a. gypsies) by the name “Pikeys” is also a racial issue.

I report, you decide.

 

NEW OLD STUFF!

In an earlier post on music, I griped:

 I’ve become sick of all the old music, “old” being defined as 60s-70s music of my rock star (uh huh) youth. I mean, if I hear “Sweet Home Alabama” and anything by Led Zeppelin one more time, I’m going to slip the safety off the 1911.

So maybe that’s what Classic Rock needs: for new guys to reinterpret their music (as opposed to just reproducing it), much as Dred Zeppelin did to Led Zeppelin (I love the Dred, by the way).

And it’s happened, in (of all places) Finland (!). Have a listen to the Leningrad Cowboys (!!) performing the aforementioned Sweet Home Alabama live with the Red Army Choir (!!!) and be entertained by all the rest of the Cowboys’ interpretations of the old hits as they appear on the page (e.g. the turgid Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door and even the syrupy Those Were The Days).

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am a happy man today, and I have The Englishman to thank for bringing these guys to my attention. (I know they came on the scene in the 1990s, but somehow I missed them. More fool me.)

And now, if you’ll excuse me… I’m going to buy the album.

Nobody Cares

Apparently, Rolling Stone magazine is on its knees (not to the Democrat Party, although that’s often been the case). Tim Sommer explains why that’s a Good Thing, and I can’t disagree with anything he says.

Even apart from its political stuff, I always thought that RS epitomized Frank Zappa’s trenchant comment about rock journalism: “people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t speak, aimed at people who can’t read.”

And their music critics were worse.

Read Sommer’s whole piece: it’s brilliant, and absolutely true.

Girlyman Alert

Oh good grief. Apparently there’s a talk show for men scheduled to appear on TV sometime soon.

I use the term “men” in its most penumbral sense because:

“We have all the shows in the world that empower women to talk about these things – which they should exist by the way because, let’s be honest, women deserve a safe space to have these conversations – but men don’t talk,” he says. “Even the idea of this show made men scoff, like, ‘Oh, who’s going to watch men talking to each other?’ That’s how rare this is. This is not The View for men. This is a conversation show. This is a show where men create a comfortable space for each other to go deep and have a conversation and we hope that this stuff happens in real life, too.”
Topics include personal subjects like body image, fatherhood and dating/relationships, but Baldoni also hopes to cover current events when appropriate.

My prediction: this show is going to tank worse than the upcoming “Lena Dunham Gives Harvey Weinstein A Pityfuck” Christmas special on the Disney Channel.

For those who can’t get it: men don’t talk about their feelings, body image or dating relationships. We already have a comfortable space; it’s called a pub or bar, and it’s there where we discuss our problems: the broken transmission on the truck, the dickhead boss, why [insert sports team of choice] sucks so badly this season, why we did badly in [insert relevant competition] last week, and why we have to call off the annual fishing trip (because the doctor says that the wife’s going to have the baby prematurely, or some such bullshit).

Discussion of dating relationships is of the “So, did you score last night?” variety, followed by a sympathetic shake of the head if negative, or a high-five if positive. If we talk about “body image” it’s of the “The Doc says I need to do something about this gut or I’m gonna die soon” type. That’s it.

You got it right, Baldoni: men don’t talk, and we don’t watch shows about men talking either. Maybe if your guest list included actual men (e.g. Clint Eastwood), we might be tempted; but the problem is that such a show would include a few terse sentences, lots of nodding and even more sips of single malt. Unless the men start showing off their latest gun- or new car purchase; oh, then the conversation will flow, you betcha. But that’s not your typical modern-day TV entertainment, is it? Oh no: just look at the list of participants, and note that one is a transgender butch dyke of indeterminate gender who specializes in Wokedom or some such crap. That’s yer conversation fodder eight there, you betcha.

So having turned off real men, all the viewers of this crappy little show will be women and girlymen, and no doubt these same viewers will start Volume-11 whining and hashtagging the moment any one of the participants says anything remotely manly or controversial, or anything that isn’t part of the Universal Pussification Zeitgeist.

Then the show will be ignominiously canceled, and it’ll be All Men’s Fault, as usual. So much for a masculine “safe space”. What bollocks.

I’ve told the story before about my incredulity towards the stupid Hollywood production process as portrayed in the movie “The Player“, and the acid comment from The Mrs., “They aren’t even that smart.”

Here’s proof of that statement.

Always Classy

Question: How can a burlesque dancer and sometime-nude model be called classy?

Answer: When she’s called Dita Von Teese. Here’s another strong contender for Kim’s Online Object Of Desire:



…and oh yeah, she’s not shy about taking it all off, either:


Yeah, I know… not that classy. But remember: burlesque is her job; how she looks when she’s not performing is what I’m talking about.

Update: I know she’s only in her mid-40s. Hey, life is all about those little compromises, right?

Music, Lyrics and Wisdom

I can’t remember if I’ve written before about my fondness for the romantic comedy Music and Lyrics, starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, but I will now.

Grant of course plays his typical screen persona of the diffident, occasionally-clueless Brit twerp — it works for him, and clearly works for pretty much everyone, so why not? — this time, as a has-been 80’s pop star who can write a lovely pop tune, while Barrymore is a ditzy girl who just happens to have a soaring, but unrealized talent as a lyricist. The movie shows how they meet and fall in love, and that’s all we need to say about the romance. But that’s not what interests me about the story.

You see, the movie is filled with all sorts of insight into the creative process. Anyone who wants to make some kind of living at being “creative” should watch this movie a dozen times, because there is so much received wisdom in the script that it should be used as a college text. A sample  is when Barrymore professes to be unable to write a couple of lines because she’s “not feeling inspired”, and Grant excoriates that nonsense by shouting explosively:

“Inspiration is for amateurs!”

No truer words were ever spoken. If you earn a living at anything, Rule #1 is that you have to show up for work every day — and not just show up, but produce something. It’s as true of the creative process as it is for an assembly-line worker.

I’m often asked how I can write something new for this blog each day, and my answer is quite simple: I sit down at my computer, and don’t get up until I’ve written at least two or three posts. Not all of them will get published — I’m very harsh towards my own writing — but I do this every single day, circumstances permitting. Note I use the word “circumstances” and not “inspiration”, because if you are truly creative, as Grant reveals above, you don’t need inspiration to produce something.

When I’m writing a novel, by the way, I spend at least ten hours a day writing. It could be new content, it could be research, or it could be editing; all of that is part of the creation of the work, and all of that is productive.

I remember fondly that when Jack Kerouac revealed that he wrote On The Road in one, long continuous explosion of creation, Truman Capote aptly commented: “That’s not writing; that’s typing!” And he’s absolutely correct: On The Road is a long, muddled and ultimately incoherent tract, and if it can be used for any “teaching moment” it shouldn’t be for its brilliant writing, but as an object lesson in how not to write a novel. Kerouac wrote a lot of other novels, and most of them are better than On The Road because he actually worked at them, rather than relying on creativity (fueled, it should be said, by booze and amphetamines: not the best of influences).

I know, I know: writing a pop song is not the same as writing a novel; but the process is the same.

Incidentally, Music and Lyrics also features a couple of other star turns: Haley Bennett is quite astonishing as a pop diva, and Kristin Johnson equally so as Barrymore’s middle-aged groupie wannabe sister. Come to think of it, there are no bad performances in this movie — and how often do you get to say that?