Monthly Archives: August 2004

Hey Jude

A Bank Holiday! I know, sad and always a let down. But nonetheless it’s (!work) so it’s good. Michele and I decided to carpe diem. This involved walking down to Toads Mouth Too (10 minutes at most) and having brunch. We then went to the Brockley Barge for an air-conditioned couple of pints of Summer Lightning which were superb (and under 2 quid a pop). I can now tell you that between the barge and our house are over 12 wireless networks! Fun ahead.

Michele didn’t watch a lot of TV as she grew up – to do with having a “life” or something – and had never heard of “Top Cat” or Quincy to name but two classic shows. Well Top Cat is a tricky one, but I’ve got her hooked on the campaigning pathologist. We watched 3 hours of Quincy on Saturday, which I admit is pretty disgusting, but we loved it. In return she’s got me into Judge Judy. What worries me about that series is that it’s only enjoyable because she’s “fair” by my own standards. What if she was “fair” by the standards of some nutter like Rush Limbaugh or Norman Tebbit ? There would be plenty of viewers who liked the change, but I mean…you know. We’d have to shoot her. Did you know that lefties and the right-wing neo-nazis have different brains ?

What one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away

In previous blogs I have mentioned how lovely my comical bank, SMILE, is to me. They recently rejected a loan application unless I was prepared to give up my credit card. I pointed out that they can fuck right off, and so yesterday they sent me two “secure messages”. The first one was to let me know that instead of cancelling my card they would be prepared to reduce the credit limit on it by a grand. Fine. The second was an automated message explaining that the Master Control Program had deemed me worthy to have my credit limit increased by a thousand pounds. This was clearly issued by their Department of Irony.

Eurostar RMT workers went on strike today. The management and the media have been saying that no services were disrupted. Bob “no-one likes us we don’t care” Crow says they’re lying. Either way, the smug self-satisfied expressions on the suited bald management twats who were scabbing on the front-line reminded me of a sequence from Michael Moore’s first film: Roger and Me.
After GM moved out of their seeding ground in search for higher profits, the town collapsed into miserable poverty, with crime, drug abuse and homelessness the vogue. GM, in a fit of philanthropy, responded by investing a considerable sum of money…so that flint could build a new private prison, to incarcerate the new generation of law-breakers. On the opening night of the new prison, all of Flint’s great and good, paid for a “night in prison”, where they all had a gourmet meal, a dance and, hilariously, all wore cartoon-style prison costume. How they enjoyed themselves!
I wonder if they were expected to crap in buckets, get fucked up the arse by a serial killer or hang themselves in their cells ?

Who(m) do I hate most: Bush, Blair or Michael Howard ? A Trick question! Of course I hate them all!
So it’s most amusing to see the WhiteHouse ban Michael Howard because he criticised Blair’s decision to invade Iraq. I can just imagine Tory HQ phoning the Whitehouse saying “No, you don’t understand! Of course we support you Mr Bush. It’s just Blair we oppose! If we’d have been in power, of course we’d have supported you! We were only obeying orders! We’re your friends, not Labour! They’re all commies!”

Why the world is broken – Part 3 – Copywrong

Why the World is Broken

Part 3 – Copywrong

Here is a viewpoint on the fashionable polemic of Copyright that most people would find “extreme”. It is, however, something that I believe. In a sentence:
“Paying for CDs, Vinyl, and any other recorded media is an anachronism.”

Some history.

When records were invented, they provided a method for ordinary people to hear music in their homes, on the radio, or at the local dance, that they could never have heard before. There was only one way you could get those sounds into your house (apart from booking the band to appear in person that is); you bought the vinyl.
Consequently the record industry was born and found themselves in a very desirable position. They had a monopoly on recorded music, and human beings need music and therefore needed record companies.

When I was a kid, my dad (a former cog in the record industry machine) and I would spend long hours discussing the future and how it would look. OK, a lot of it was bollocks, but one thing in particular has come true: getting music “down the telephone” instead of from a shop.
Do you know anyone who owns an MP3 player or an iPod (NOT an MP3 player) ? These people can get audio of a comparable, or even better, quality than people who go down the shops and buy CDS. No, I’m not wrong about that. Also, they can sit at home and get them without the disadvantages of having to walk to the VShop in Lewisham (rain, insults, risk of mobile phone theft etc etc).

There is no longer any need for the media. There is a better way to get the tunes and it’s either cheaper or free depending on your viewpoint. Now comes the extreme part:

I believe all music should be free, and that morally, music piracy is right. Hear me out. Here are the usual arguments people come up with when I come up with this “ridiculous” argument:
“But making music isn’t easy! It’s a skill that should be rewarded.”
I agree.
“But if it’s free, the artist loses out”
They lose out from the patheic percentage of CD sales they miss, true. But that’s quite a small amount of money. There are also lots of ways to make money from music (concerts, merchandising, donations). Please don’t laugh, it happens more often than you think.
“If you can’t make a lot of money out of music, no-one will bother making it”
You’re clearly insane. Are you suggesting that before the record industry there was no music ? Ever heard of pop music ? It came out of folk, blues, bluegrass, and a shedload of of painful history. People bothered to make the music because they loved it. They still do. There are thousands of pirate radio stations about playing today’s folk: rap, drum and bass, garage etc etc. Most of these people don’t get rich or famous, but frequently they live semi-celebrity lifestyles in their neighbourhoods and love their lives. They make the music because that’s what they like to do, and people like it. They may get paid for PAs and DJ sets, but rarely from record sales.
“The record companies provide opportunities for people to get their music heard”
Record companies are there for one reason: to make their shareholders rich. They don’t give a fuck about the artists (apart from the fact they make the money..until they get dumped in favour of the next big thing). About 2% of the retail price of a CD goes to the artist. Wouldn’t it feel better to buy a CD where 100% goes to the artist..and it only costs a couple of bucks ?
The RIAA are simply representatives of those with a financial interest in keeping the lie about CDs being “music” going. Piracy is killing music ? No! Piracy is killing the record industry! Good! [update: oops wrong. In fact piracy is currently boosting the record industry. I believe that this is only a temporary state of affairs until digital music players are ubiquitous. However there is an odd side effect in the current climate that CD sales INCREASE when the availaility of pirated music increases (eg when everyone was using Napster and AudioGalaxy). The record companies are stupid, but not that stupid. They know piracy is boosting sales…but they know this will only last while people still use CD players. They’re in a panic. Hence the law-suits. ]
They are an anachronism. They’re no longer needed. By the way, here is a great example of how to deal with legal threats in general.
Download! Every downloaded tune is a protest against the lie that CDs are the “proper” way to buy music. One day soon, some one of the poor sods the RIAA have taken to court for piracy (ie downloading something already pirated) is going to get a good lawyer and counter-sue..and win! No-one can prove a crime has been committed.
Worse still – “copy protected CDs”. These are not CDs. They are not allowed to display the official “CD compact Disc” symbol, because they are not CDs. They have broken the standard. If you buy a Copy Protected CD you are buying damaged goods. Buy it, rip it, take it back to the shop. You are being punished for doing the “right” thing. Download!


This morning I had to go back to see the doctor – I took the whole day off because I fancy a break and maybe a long walk. My BP wasn’t as high as last week but the blood-test showed high cholesterol so he loaded me up with beta-blockers and cholesterol pills and packed me off. To celebrate, I had a low-fat fry-up breakfast and read some more of my book. Lovely.

You can’t polish a turd

After getting a load of red-necks to sing along with that kazakhstani country classic “Throw the Jew Down the Well”, I didn’t think Borat could get any better. He has. Download it NOW!.
Lovely evening with my parents after a nice chat with Alex this afternoon. My dad told lots more stories including the one where Uncle Bill proved that you can, in fact, polish a turd. Details in a later blog.
P.S. Roast Lamb tonight – I will sleep well.

Protecting the innocent

Taking a leaf out of Alex’s book, I’ve decided to be less candid with people’s names.
So, a couple of hours after I left Arthur, Benny, and Charlie, in the pub on Thursday, I received a call from Arthur inviting me down to the Walpole to join them for a swift half. Sensing danger I politely refused..and besides, by that time I was all settled in with Michele, Humph and the laptop. On reflection, this was probably the most sensible thing I have ever done.
In a nutshell, Arthur and Charlie performed their magic trick – walking down to the station and then turning into a pub. Strapped for cash, Charlie was forced to use his credit card and therefore opted for double measures to achieve the minimum purchase price. An hour later, they had downed 11 vodkas. Each. No-one knows what happenned next, but we do know several small pieces of information that may help them reconstruct the events. Arthur fell asleep on the tube, and woke up at Heathrow. Twice. Feeling beaten, he alighted, fell asleep on a bench and puked all over the place.
Charlie regained consciousness in a strange land with which he was unfamiliar. In this land, something was preventing his mouth from working properly. Broke and bewildered, he phoned home: his mum and dad. Unfortunately, in his highly refreshed state, he found considerable difficulty in conveying items of information essential to being picked up: where he was, who he was, when he was etc etc. Fortunately, a friendly native cleverly deduced his predicament and shouted “New Eltham” down the phone. His mum, dad and a set of very heavy vibes, drove from their home in Petts Wood and collected him from the pub bench on which he was now sleeping. Charlie has given up drinking. Which means he missed the Music Department do on Friday after work… Well done that man. Sorry – I shouldn’t complain, I knew what to expect. And they had wine. And I ended up waffling on for hours to the HoD about some rubbish or other.

Saturday was great. Watched 2 episodes of Quincy (excellent) and then went up to the HobGoblin to investigate a claim I found on the web that it had an open wireless access point. This turned out to be a lie but I spent a very agreeable afternoon in the sunny garden with Benny, Jez, Col, Welsh Mike, Adele at al. Even had a nice argument with Jez about copyright and piracy (a separate blog entry on this one I think). Even better, Jez gave Michele the recipe for the cider and mustard sauce he does the pork chops in and she made it for tea! Superb. Later that night Benny dropped in, he’d stayed at the pub until the evening. No vodkas tho’.

Summertime Loaf

Work being quiet is one of the greatest joys. Today I managed to get loads done, have a nice lunch, get loads more done and then go out for an after-work pint in the HG. There’s no doubt about it, it’s a good place for a summer evening drink. Paula is off to Italy tomorrow so it was her “last night” drink. Nice day. Still not managed to meet Alex in the Urban75 chat room. Disappointing despite having a couple of very enjoyable chats there with other punters.

Blood Pressure

Went to the quack this morning to follow up on some surgery I’ve been expecting for months. While I was there he checked my chest (at my request – I’m a martyr to mucus), then checked my heart, and then my blood pressure, and then looked worried. He did his best to reassure me that everything was ok, which considering I hadn’t considered anything wouldn’t be ok, got me worried. Now I’ve got to have a blood test and go back to see him next week. Arses. What I forgot to tell him was that last night I’d drunk a lot more than usual.
You see the Hobgoblin has new management and Brodie came up for an “official visit” to introduce his old regulars (before….the troubles) to the new guvnor.
Needless to say it was very fun and very Guiness…
Work’s been pretty good recently. Maybe that’s because of the excitement about the new project…but maybe it’s just because there’s so few people about I’m not getting called all the bloody time…in fact, that’s it. It’s quiet, so I can work. Simple really.


Last night I started feeling cage-bound (a bit like cabin fever but without the sea) and so decided to go out for a pint with a mate of mine, Pete. Annoyingly I didn’t have his number so decided to “cold canvas” him as he only lives 10 minues walk away. Of course, he wasn’t in. Undeterred I went to one of the only, if not the only proper pub in London, which just happens to be 15 seconds walk from his house. I had a beautiful pint of Guiness in the cool, sunny, evening air and enjoyed every drop. After this I decided to walk down to Brockley. Just as I got to the “Brockley Balti”, as was, I bumped into Beth, and we had a nice chat before going into the place to meet Matt and his mate who were waiting for a curry to take home and get bollocksed with. Really nice chat we had. Afterwards, I popped into the Brockley Barge (previously the “Breakyour Arms”) and downed a quick whisky. Optimistically, I called by Pete’s to see if he was there, which, by the amazing effect of passage-of-time, he was! So we went back to the best pub in London and had a nice pint of Guiness together.
All in all a perfect evening, and the excercise derived from wandering around New Cross and Brockley meant that I slept like a baby!
Typically crap day at work, although Scorpio held up; good server.


Piracy is rife, and as a result the world is full of war, hate, floods and famine. If it wasn’t for those evil pirates selling low-price DVDs, CDS and free MP3s to the younger generation we’d all be happy as larry and living happy, fulfilling, lives.

You know what else is wrong with the world ? Bloody Political Correctness! Luckily, the world has Michael Howard and the Tory party, who manage to shock all of the Lefties out of hating New Labour quite as much as they normally do, by standing up in public and suggesting that the Police should abandon “PC” in favour of “proper policing”. Yes, nowadays the Police can’t just beat up black people on the street without having to give them a written report of why they did it. Oh hold on, didn’t the police have to do that anyway ?…never mind, at least all these POLITICALLY CORRECT laws (like criminal trials/needing a reason to stop and search/not being able to beat the crap out of people because their eyes are too close together) are on the way out. Thanks Mr Howard. And thanks Mr Blair who will surely steal these groundbreaking ideas by next week.

Nominet is a bureaucratic cess-pit. More on that tomorrow.