Friday, March 28, 2008

Bits of inconsequential unconnected minor good stuff

Something I have got quite into lately is pulling,( the programme, not the process of going out and acquiring a sexual partner, that's not bad either). I didn't expect it to be all that good, but turns out it's funny and honest with some good female characters. In the first episode Sharon Horgan's character is miffed because all her friends went out and had wild adventures on a night she stayed in. Definately one of those 'Damn I'm so like that' moments of TV
(the first time I ever felt that I was 10 years old and it was whilst watching an episode of the simpsons where Lisa gets pissed off because there is nothing left to protest about. Luckily as I grew up I realised there is always something to protest about)

I guess I mention this because I am in and it is half past 11 on a friday. Prime adventure having time. Tonight instead of an adventure I went to lidl, but I must have been in the adventure frame of mind as my shopping bag resembled a game of 'when I went to the supermarket I bought' played by precocious middle class children.
I always thought planning meals was for losers, but I may have to start doing it as I came home with blueberries, wine, little ranch farmyard jelly creatures, green tea and most excitingly crabs - 8 for £4 complete with shells and faces. Now I am thinking about defrosting one of them and carefully placing it in various uexpected locations within our flat. mwah haha.

I was in a good mood today for no reason, so I thought I'd blog as I generally tend to write when pissed off. It started off well, I got 2 fantastic books in the post, Black British Feminism - a reader, and Blue Pills. Read quite a bit of the feminism book, it has some really good essays in though I felt guilty for sitting about reading academic stuff which is completely not related to my impending exams. Blue Pills I read in one sitting and is just wonderful. It's a graphic novel about one man's relationship with someone he learns early on is HIV+. It is absolutely fantastic, I never thought I could love a graphic novel so much.

Blue Pills was so good my walk to work was almost joyful, and I noticed all the things about Edinburgh that make me feel happy, and strangers didn't seem like a sea of morons but interesting people with lives and stories..
my thoughts were somewhere along the lines of
'SOLIDARITY, EQUALITY , ORGANISE REVOLUTION!! Hell yes, I'm with you, when does it start? what brilliant graffitti- someone wants things to change so much they have sprayed it on the wall, look that pigeon has a tuft on it's head that looks like a mohecian, brilliant - hey look at that EMO girl wearing flares and a big black T shirt just to hang out, how fantastic, isn't youth brilliant'
and so on and so forth. Far too happy, in retrospect.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Up yours Enoch and The BBC

I got a letter from the BBC complaints department which I thought I would re-produce here for shits and giggles. I was quite excited to get a personal email back after my complaint about their 'Enoch Powell might have been right, everybody better go out and buy the Daily Mail so they can beat a black person to death with it' - 'documentary'.
Ok , so I don't think it was called that, but the whole thing basically tried to suggest that old Enoch was right, a patriot and that his concerns were legitimate. It had a definate pro Powell bias, it's horrible and can be veiwed here ( for the next 6 days) should you wish.

Naturally the idea of someone complaining to the BBC conjours up the image of some grey haired old fusspot, with too much time on their hands, whinging because someone said fuck before the watershed. All this has changed with the internet and if you are annoyed you can complain very easily.
Now this isn't a very well written complaint because it was late, and its rushed - but here it is anyway :-

"I am writing to make a complaint about the so-called examination of enoch powell's speech which was both racist and inflamatory. I found the documentary to be very oversimplifying, it completely failed to look into racist immigration legislation, the consequences of imperial history or infact the way the media was itself racist in the 60s and 70s. The programme continually asked if enoch was right, which is completely objectionable. It harked back to some kind of working class nostalgia by portraying working class white people as somehow the voice of the british.
>It made multiculturalism and immigration seem like the problem, without ever asking if it might be something to do with the fact that racism is, and always has been inherent within British society.
>Dockers were not portrayed as racist, but the students were labelled 'radical' for taking a stand against racism. Enoch's speech was called a 'prophecy', you said without any proof that communities are divided, there was large amounts of racist footage without any qualifiers, and the programme ended in a way that suggested that Powell was right
>The whole thing was objectionable and highly offensive, racist veiwing. I thought the BBC was better than that."

If you want a much more academic veiw from an actual historian, Joe Street* wrote a much better letter of complaint here:-

It has a lot of proper facts and makes the point much better than I did.

Anyway the BBC responded - however I have just noticed that the email they sent me is apparently 'confidential' and may not be republished anywhere without their permission. I am very tempted to ignore this - but instead I will paraphrase their response. If you want to see the real thing then ask me and you can read it.The BBC did not say the following...

" I can see that you thought our documentary was a racist piece of crap because that's what you said in your lettter'

" Powell was super dooper, he was a very smart man who had a lot of ideas on different policy areas (economic/identitiy which are still pretty important now" ( ideas like send home the 'pecanninnies'? Hitler was a very smart guy but you don't see documentaries waxing lyrical about his intelligence and foresight - I am not saying he was Hitler but my point remains)

" There were more anti powell than pro powell commentators" I don't think this is actually the case, but still you don't see many pro hitler comment on documentaries about him. There is a reason for that.

" We used footage of people in the 50s 60s and 70s with veiws that make us feel squirmish' exactly yes you did, without every condemning them as racist, you made that all seem ok and normal.

"Look we did try and challenge Powell's use of language and criticised his racism" ahem no, you didn't, I watched the documentary and work for an anti racist organisation. I can tell a challenge to racism when I see one, that was not it.

"Immigration is important and a real concern for loads of people, and even big important people think so, like MPs and opinion formers and even the arch bishop of cantebury, so stop moaning"

Who the fuck is an 'opinion former'- what kind of creepy thing is that? Am I an opinion former cos I write this blog, do you mean Richard Littlejohn and his satanic ilk? Is it some kind of computer telling us all what normal people think? Who are these opinion formers and what do they do? Also I never said immigration was not a worthy debate, it is one that should be examined in a non simplifyingway which considers the issue from many sides, not just the racist side of one Tory MP. Also the arch-bishop of Cantebury? Whoopdie shit, who cares!

* is it me or is that the coolest name for a historian ever?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More of the same then...

The essay is done and I am in one of the library computing labs.

I thought I would write some more blog partly because it's so theraputic. Virginia Woolf wrote 'To the lighthouse' as some sort of therapy, I have this blog. I guess it's up to you to decide which is better.

I also need to look busy to justify being at a computer, before the guilt of watching people meander about the place who really need computers ( probably to finish typing up their PHDs on curing all cancer no doubt) kicks in, and I get the hell out of here.

I am stalling partly because I'm tired, and partly because I have misjudged time. I have to be somewhere a bit far away in 2hours 45 minutes - I could go home, I don't live too far away... I fear if I go home I won't actually be able to leave the house, ever again, ever. I'll just sit there ordering takeaways until the bank come round and demand that I pay off my overdraft,by this time I will probably be so fat that I can live off incapacity benefits, and my life will resemble a cross between one particularly funny episode of the Simpsons, and a channel 4 documentary/freak show about hyper obesity.

Anyway yes, so my options are - hand this essay in, bum around uni, bum around town- which I will probably do in a zombiefied stupor like the zombie who just realised that their existence in zombie form is really meaningless, and all anyone ever does is consume at the expense of others (hang on a minute....)

One thing that made me despair today was taking out the bin on my way here. I had finally left the house, (only about an hour after I had decided to - wow)

I decided to take out the bin bag like the concientious flatmate that I am. I am about to fling it in to the big bin when, to my horror the bin liner collapses. A moldy apple falls at my feet, the bag breaks apart and last nights takaway container drifts down the street. All I can do is stare at it with bin juice all over my hands (is there anything more gross than bin juice? I mean last night I made rice and drained it in a collindar, and there was all this white rice water which was just like semen, and it was all over the dishes in the sink.That was pretty gross - but not as gross as bin juice)
In my tired state the takeaway container looked like a metaphor for umm, I dunno 'sad'?

anyway that killed 20 minutes....

There was a happy ending, the bin bag made it into the bin,I washed my hands and this essay though crap is finished - hurrah!

Wasted Wednesday

I am tired, so tired, the sort of tired when everything stops making sense, and the world is tinged with a kind of horror and weirdness and your whole conciousness feels like it's full of fluff. I am not yet out of the house, I will get there at some point, I do have stuff to do, I just keep having to stop and stare and remember to keep my body moving.

I stayed up doing an essay, actually that's a total lie. I stayed up until 1:30 doing my essay, inbetween writing nothingy comments on friends walls and 'oh so pithy' status updates, so that the facebook world remembers that I am a bag of hilarity. Then I gave up - but the half litre of coffee I had consumed was reluctant to quit. Luckily I found a lush song which is, like, totally about my life, so I listened to it again, and again and again. I mimed the words, i thought about putting it on compiliation cds for parties, I surfed the web.

I love coffee and I quite like the effect lots of coffee has in speeding you up (I have never taken proper that obvious?) but not on a weekday, it's not good to have a burning desire to dance around at 3 in the morning when you are alone, with a flatmate sound asleep in the next room. Obviously you can dance, but it involves putting headphones into your computer at which point you start to feel like a tosser (or flicker lets not be phallocentric here), but hell - it's 3am and you are 21 and full of caffine!!! At points you do wonder - what if my flatmate comes in, what if I am accidentally making too much noise,this music is just in my head isn't it? I would honestly rather be caught masturbating, everybody definately does that, I am not sure that everyone abandons their totally shite essay at 1700 words in favour of miming to mid 90s britpop.

Speaking of masturbating, something similar is eating a takeaway food alone. Eating a takeaway alone makes me feel sadder than drinking alone because at least that has some pretence of glamour (if it's red wine and you are me, and you wear a beret). Luckily my flatmate came back and ate a pizza whilst I ate my satay squid and pork dumplings so I didn't dispair. I reheated them just now and am currently worried that squid and pork left overnight unrefridgerated and then reheated might be a surefire recipie for food poisioning. I feel ok so far, though in my super tired state it did dawn on me how weird it was to eat tentacles for breakfast.

Anyway I am going to go now as I am still not in the library. Sometimes I worry that this blog doesn't suit it's title -today is not one of those days.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Miserable Mondays

I am starting to notice a pattern to my life - I don't like mondays, I'm not sure why,It's probably because I tend to read the paper inbetween lectures.Mondays do seem to be the origin of general dispair at the state of things.The generally make me want to shoot the whole week down, the rest of the month and perhaps certain political figures into the bargain.

Such as John Hutton, the labour minister for greed, who has today said that we should be congratulating people* with huge salaries. As if money and power are not enough, apparently they deserve a pat on the back for doing so darn well with their lives. Apparently we should not question the morality of money, I mean morality is for losers and poor people - who needs morality when you have a fuck off house in Surrey?

You can read the story here

He reckons we should question why this success isn't open to everyone, it amazes me that people can be so stupid.

Speaking of stupid there is the BBCs White Season which started at the weekend. I must admit I haven't watched anything so far but perhaps later, if I feel like being embarressed by an institution I will generally defend, I will have a look on iplayer.
However this advert for it makes me feel very uncomfortable.

I know for a fact that the British working classes have a raw deal, see any comments I have made about castleford below. The reason that working classes have a raw deal is because the middle classes dominate institutions like the BBC and put out stuff like this which is at worst horribly racist and at best incredibly misguided.

Watching this advertisment is like watching some kind of BNP recruitment video - I mean a brown hand writing on a male white face in black, until it disappears into black?!! Who are these brown people putting down the working class? In the main, what are the colour of the faces of those in political power, what are their gender (with one hideous exception from 79-90 - though I would question whether non human beings actually have gender)

Class is a structure of opression like race and gender, and I do think the working classes should be better represented, working classes of all racialised groups and genders -all this does is fuel race tension in an insidious fashion. The white working class doesn't have much of a say in things, I dare say they had little say in this programming. They certainly don't write articles for the sun, or for Eastenders or any of the other patronising stereotype peddling media.

Anyway I have much studying to do , Yuri Prasad expresses writes about this well here

I ate a really good sandwich today, from a new sandwich shop on the corner of buccleuch street. They use really good brie - it was really strong and flavourful - and they used lots of it. It had ham and rocket on a seedy roll.It has been the highlight of my day so far, thank goodness I made it into the middle class...

* I use 'people' but I could use 'men' here quite comfortabley - though I have too much to do to find a list of the 100 best paid in the uk to prove that most of them are men

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sporty Saturdays !

Somewhere along the line it occoured to me that getting exercise would be positive (possibly I realised that heart disease wouldn't accept 'but I have period pain' as an excuse).

I have always hated sport, i come from a family that is genetically lazy (my dad has been known to drive to the corner shop) at school I had puppy fat that bordered on childhood obestiy, and even afer I lost this i was still the worst in the class by quite a long way. Luckily being smart, having a sense of humour and being a girl, nobody really cares.
Anyway I have decided to try and get more excersize through something that I enjoy because, well, I really would like to live a long time. I have great plans for my old age, most of which involve dyeing my hair bright blue, being cantakerous and weird and maybe even acquiring a toyboy 'ala Harold and Maude.

With all this in mind (particularly the toyboy) I think it's time to get active. Filled with enthusiasm and joined by a friend I embark on some saturday morning Badminton at the University of Edinburgh's Badminton club. Firstly getting dressed - now obviously my wardrobe is not over filled with sporty clothing.I have some red trouser things that are like a cross between joggers and skinny jeans (which I bought at connect festival because I was too stupid to bring anything warm to sleep in) I also have a baggy black Gorky's Zygotic Mynci T shirt and some maroon trainers. I think to myself - this will have to do. I look like a chubby indie geek, not someone who can really hit cock, but never mind.

First step get some badminton racquets - we find one in the Bethany shop, and then we pass this junk shop near Peckhams. I recommend everyone goes check this shop out, it's absolutely fantastic. It's run by this old guy who is misc foreign, with a lively sense of humour, and it is just piles and piles of stuff. Nothing has a price on it, he has everything- boots, bikes, accordians, badges and a lot of badminton racquets - which he gets out for me to look at. I have my eye on a very fetching retro wooden thing and I ask how much. He asks how much we paid for Amreet's, we say £2 - he then wants £6 (!) but I get it for £4 in the end, which I know is possibly too much, but it's such a fantastic shop.

Anyway we have racquets and we are now on our way to the pleasance, when it starts absolutely pissing it down. I have no other shoes just tatty old trainers and I begin to wonder if we have come to play badminton by mistake.

We eventually get there and leave our stuff in the changing room, first thing I notice is that there are a lot of people here - why are they not at home in bed? I begin to feel rather self concious as I obseve all the toned legs and proper gym wear. I usually enjoy looking a bit different, but not now - now I feel like a fraud, like it is very obvious that I do not do sport on a regular basis, and someone is about to come up to me and direct me to somewhere I would feel more at home, the nearest place that dispenses cake perhaps.

The courts are very full, and I revert to my P.E self of years gone by, and stand around making jokes with Amreet about how crap we are (I refrain from cock jokes as I am sure that these badminton people have heard them too many times before, and it may lead to some sort of social death within the badminton world). We completely fail to assert ourselves and get a court, and I feel very daft even though I can actually play badminton. It is quite conspicuous that we are outsiders and one of the friendly regulars takes us under their wing. We play a game, it was fun. My racquet was mocked by the regulars and they said I should play with one of thiers ( tsch! but it looks so cool, and it has a picture of an aeroplane on it and everything)

Anyway we play one game, and then fail to assert ourselves some more and do some kick ass standing around. After this I went to the parliament to give out abortion rights news letters. I am the pro choice majority! Actually there were 4 of us, which is quite funny - I guess the rest of the pro- choice majority didn't know about this, are asleep or perhaps out playing sport. - for more information.