Friday, December 12, 2003


I'm sitting at the traffic lights in my car when a cyclist jumps the red lights, narrowly missing a pedestrian. So I see where he's going, then I follow him down a side street, knock him off the bike and run him over. And I'm the one that gets arrested!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Mobile Phone Accessory Corner

1) Blocking numbers. Someone bothering you? Set their number on block and they'll just go straight to answerphone. So simple I bet its been done already.

2) Mobile phones for your keys. And your remote control. Remember that terrible whistling keyring thing? Well that was shite, but nowadays you could attach a tiny mobile phone to your keyring and when you lose them ring it. Thats all. Thats a fucking great idea. Obviously I've copywritten it already but get in touch if you want to give me loads of money to make it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Great Cocaine Excuses Of Our Time #1

"I need to have some to remind me why I shouldnt do it"

Friday, October 31, 2003

Archway Bridge, London

This spans the apparently artificially created valley of Archway Road, which was cut into Highgate Hill in the ice age, as locals needed a less slippery way of getting from East Finchley. The quick deflection of a passing glacier et voilá. The bridge itself is famed as a popular suicide spot, its notoriety greatly enhanced by its close proximity to a well established mental institute. Emblazened on the side is the number 1897, which many assume is the year it was built (which was actually 1821) but is in fact a throwback to the days when the Canon of Highgate would keep a count of the suicides for his popular Morbid Society. This slightly notorious practise was stopped when a five man fight over who would get to be the 1900th suicide spilled into Lauderdale House and upturned Lord Lauderdale's fine collection of watercolours. The 1898th to jump was actually the Canon himself, giving lie to the oft-stated opinion that the Morbid Society were just voyeurs with no empathy for the suicidal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


The gas man came around to fix the boiler this morning and told me a interesting tale. He said that OFWAT, the water watchdog, told the local water board to reduce their leakages by 50% in two years. Instead of fixing the leaks the water board reduced their average water pressure from 4 bar to 2 bar, saving 50% of water lost to leaks in a stroke. Is this not the brilliance that made Britain great (again)? The knock-on effect, however, is that combination heaters, ascot boilers and electric showers sited above about the third floor are all fucking up. How's that for joined-up thinking?

Monday, October 20, 2003

Diet Bill

A Lo-Cal drink for Lo-Cal people

Friday, October 10, 2003


I've been reading Coetzee, the writer who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature (or something). Not having read many works of literature I feel distinctly ill-equipped to write about them when I do read them, but Coetzee is a writer, rather like Kapuscinski - but for different reasons - that I would quite happily read endlessly. He is not flashy, like my first love Julie Burchill whose writing crackles with the crunch of a hundred wraps of amphetamine. He does not draw any particular attention to the writing, but he conjures something distinctly ineffable, a kind of music, out of the words, and it is not at all clear how he does this. (This would be the meaning of conjure, but I'll make the point twice anyway). His words seem to come out of a peacefulness, slightly reminiscent of the peace that the Hindus claim, somewhat against the odds, is our true self. He tells his stories economically. You could often almost forget about him, which is the true art of the writer, I guess, and diametrically opposed to the self-absorbed hacks that I have got so used to reading. Perhaps to Coetzee the reader is more important than the writer. It is a refreshing sensation to have someone's skill used for your benefit, instead of their self-aggrandisement; nothing is greater than the great being humble, and Coetzee is both great and humble.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Getting my head down/ doing my birds

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Commentary commentary

watched Lokomotiv Moscow v Arsenal today but the novelty of an afternoon kick-off and being able to watch in the comfort of my armchair were soon wiped out when I realised I'd not be spared the grimmest commentary since Dan Maskell used to regularly force me to watch Wimbledon with the sound down. Peter Drury and particularly Jim Beglin' Belief spouted nonsense endlessly, criticising Arsenal players for moves that didnt come off (thrown into stark relief as I considered Beglin's skill-laden playing career) and at the nadir having a pop at K-Lo for being offside. "Oh he was offside from very early in the play" intoned Drudgery and Beglin fell over himself to agree just as the replay showed Kolo precisely onside.

Commentary is one area of English football that is resolutely stuck in the seventies. These guys have stuck to the template for what feels like hundreds of years. At worst football commentary is reminiscent of those magnetic poetry fridge stickers which you rearrange to make a new phrase, only this lot rearrange stock phrases with only a rough approximation of the game. If we've imported all these continental stars why cant we get some of those foreign commentators with their "GOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL" and overeffusion, instead of this dour banality where a couple of dull nobodies get to criticise decent footballers for not playing perfectly all the time.

Monday, September 29, 2003

David Blaine

Went to see David Blaine the other day, while I was on my way somewhere else. The night before he'd been rudely awakened by a catapulted paint ball and I was thinking there is something quintessentially Londonian about the barrage of abuse and assaults that he's provoked. Perhaps in the future, when people are probably vaguely aware of the stunt in the way we're aware of the Crystal Palace Exhibition, a London historian will take great pleasure in noting in his opus that "the Blaine stunt seems to us now rather miraculous, but the Londoner of the day was rather more sceptical, and frequently turned out to berate him, occasionally attacking him with golf balls, air rifles and - one adventurous night - huge balloons filled with pink paint, so keeping alive a tradition of cockney irreverence which stretches far back into medieval times."

I would agree that its nice that Londoners maintain a healthy cynicism for the posing spiritualists of our day; it didnt actually occur to me to go and throw something at him, but I'm happy that other people have got around to it. Having said that there is something...different about seeing him sitting in a box hanging 40 feet above the ground. When I first saw it I did say to myself, "so, he is actually doing it then." He's a bizarre guy clearly, and he's doing something very original, but the publicity that he brings on himself kind of demeans it all, turning it from a serious (and possibly life changing/threatening) "quest" into a Sky Box Office "stunt". The American Indians used to fast for over a month as part of their "vision quest" to let the spirit of the world take over them. And Jesus, of course, fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, after which the devil himself appeared before him to offer him the kingdoms of the world. My guess is that it might be worth tuning in towards the end of Blaine's "tele-vision quest", because that would definitely make some good TV.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Notting Hill Carnival

Calling it a carnival is a fucking insult.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Big Chill, Eastnor Castle

A three-day music festival, widely derided as a "posh glastonbury" which is, however, notably popular amongst people for whom that sounds like a good idea. Set in beautiful surroundings, the overly eclectic line-up and exceedingly "tight demographic" of the punters led me to initially dub it The Big Nil; such cynicism couldnt, however, survive the overwhelming hospitality of a load of slightly trendy yuppies in a field. The blazing sun helped a great deal, and the absence of any of a festival's usual problems - crowding, mud, Bristol hoodlums selling shit hash - along with with a suprising lack of pressure to enjoy yourself combined to provide a pleasant enough time, as long as you werent expecting anything particularly good. The music, in particular, was shite.

Calling it a festival is rather like calling the nails in a coffin the dearly departed. This event has none of the openess of a real festival; Glastonbury has year on year battened down its hatches but it has never dreamed of the punter/performer separation that the Big Chill and its ilk achieves. At a festival worthy of the name, people bring themselves and make the festival themselves, instead of buying tickets, attending and passively being entertained. The tragic English licensing laws dont help, bringing a curtain down on proceedings just when they might be expected to get interesting, but the nub of the problem is in this consumer culture which manifests itself in an artificial and unnecessary gulf between performer and audience. In a real festival the crowd are the performers, even if only a few actually make in onto a stage. This openess and freedom this entails is completely absent at this event, which was veering as close to Glyndeborne as to Glastonbury. The only thing to do was to eat the Mexican mushrooms that everyone seems to be growing in their airing cupboards lately and wonder around the magnificent surroundings, as far away as possible from the tragic range of uninspired "artistes" they'd got in on the cheap.

It wasnt Glastonbury, but then nowadays, nor is Glastonbury.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003


( 11:04:38 PM ) bill
"My work attempts to frame human experience within the voices of myth and history. The figures in the selected pieces - ranging from a visionary Orpheus to an imprisoned child-emperor to the son of Jack the Ripper - offer a distant mirror to our own lives. Even as they seem to fade away, these archetypes remain meaningful, placing our current, seemingly disjointed existences within the continuum of myth, and thus offering a great hope to our lives, loves, and losses: relevancy."
nice photos

if I could only write like that, my future as a bona fide ponce would be assured.

( 11:09:55 PM ) bill
My work attempts to frame human experience within the twin yellings of drunkeness and depression. The characters in the exhibited spasmodes - ranging from a delusionary oesphagus to an imprisoned child-within-a-man to the kind of fuckwit you trip over in shoreditch after another empty meaningless sojourn du nuit - offer a decidedly close mirror of my own life. Even as I seem to fade away, this nonsense remains palpable, placing my distinct lack of achievement in a contextual arrangement uncannily reminiscent of flock wallpaper within the continuuuum of drunken vomitting in the back of a cheap Indian restaurant

cor, its actually harder than it looks

Monday, July 07, 2003


Watching Wimbledon yesterday I was left wondering why they dont just go the whole hog and give both guys bazooka launchers to serve with. This could not only shorten the "game" considerably but also have the added bonus of sparing us some of the most vacuous rich kids to ever burden the celebrity mantle.

Friday, July 04, 2003

New Front Opens in Downloading War

Music bootleggers came together today to announce the start of a new campaign to stop file-sharing software. Said one leading bootlegger of Illinois, "things were great when we were the only people who could afford to make copies of music, now every kid with a phone line and a bag of blank CDs is a frickin congressional library. Its frickin' ruining us." The organisation, Bootleggers Against Peer-to-Peer Software (BAPS) is also campaigning for a high tax on CD-Rs and copy protection on new CDs. The head of the campaign, John Baptiste, stated, "we'll be able to bypass the tax, obviously, so its a win-win for us and the federal government." He also reminded the government that bootlegging used to bring in tax revenues through sales of printer ink and also generated some US$15 million in carboot sale fees. "This is all nearly being wiped out by kids not paying anything to anybody," he stated.

BAPS have previously asked to join the RIAA in their campaign, but at present there has been no formal agreement between the two campaigns.

Friday, June 27, 2003


"as for the US, they all coke snorting /
gave birth to hip hop, but now its an orphan"
Chester P

Thursday, June 26, 2003


If someone constantly lends money from everyone he knows, avoids them tenaciously when he has money and then reappears when he's spent it to borrow more, does that make him a borrowshark, or maybe a loanwhale?

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Third Degree Show

Passed by Camberwell Art College to see the degree show, not because of any great yearning on my part, I should point out. I was just accompanying someone viewing their cousins display. A more tedious array of pretentious nonsense I could barely imagine. It does really bring out the Brian Sewell in you when you wonder round acres of uninspired nonsense unabashedly parading itself as vital. Every scrap of paper seemed to be accompanied by a long-winded essay expounding relentlessly, if not always coherently, on the display's inner meanings. I mean, is the title not enough? Isnt that rather the point of art, that it speaks for itself; otherwise you may as well just write the essay. It appears that a work of art needs its own PR team before it can be taken seriously by the artstablishment, ironically daubing it in a big clown's nose and wig for everyone else. I've never had such a strong sense of talent being ruined by education than I did down there.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Depressive Induction

Government sources today were cock-a-hoop at the success of their latest mass control strategy, known as PDI, or public depressive induction. Involving a surreptious London-wide release of thin gas containing mild serotonin-inhibiting neurotransmitters, the government has received results back suggesting a four-fold rise in reported depression amongst Londoners in the four weeks that the gas has been circulated. Since doctors are estimated to only see around 5% of depressive episodes - since most people dont necessarily see the doctor as an answer for their symptoms - this figure suggests that close to 65-70% of London's population suffered a tangible and negative response to the gas release, a wildly successful figure for this type of activity.

However, the whole project has been criticised because despite the evident success of the gas, the actual results of increasing depression in the capital are more difficult to establish. It is well known that many people react differently to mild depression, only some succumbing to the desirable langour whilst others engage in all sorts of unpredictable behaviour in response. In this light, the popularity of depressive-inducers as a tool of public governance is quite courageous and unexpected. Some experts suggest the rather cynical idea that once the mild form is easily created, the more serious and predictable form could be used. Of course, powerful depression, whilst a potent inhibitor of public disorder, is frequently responsible for suicide, which is frowned upon by the industry and treasury ministries. However, the government report which first recommended the experiment, seems to be content with the results purely from mild depression induction. We have exclusively obtained a copy and excerpts are reprinted below.

"Mild depression is useful to be able to cause, because it tends to make people choose from a smaller pallette of options. Because it is generally quite prominent, even in mild form, in the sufferers consciousness, it will force the person very quickly to make otherwise unnecessary changes to their plans and habits. The form that these changes will take are dependent on several factors, but are quite easily split into four groups. These are 1) langour 2) hyperactivity 3) religious observance 4)alcoholism. The problem is, of course, that which of these four any one person will choose is not easily predictable. Even if one person has a tendency to choose one, another may be chosen with no apparent or obvious causation involved. Of these 1,3 and 4 are perhaps best suited for this public policy although both 3 and 4 can have severe downsides, involving typically violence and/or terrorism. 2 is too dangerous to be seriously used in this public policy, due to the unpredictability which is in its nature, although as it tends to affect less than 25% of those affected, it may be felt a reasonable price to pay.

"In so far as the unpredictability makes the experiment useless, we take the view that since largely the results will follow statistical predictions, chaotic individuality is not to be a major concern. This is the why, of course, such a policy is better suited to large urban areas where statistics have a chance to off set each other, instead of small villages and towns, where individual cases may have a far greater impact on the result of the entire experiment. For this reason we dont recommend the use of this policy on conurbations with populations smaller than 500,000 (five hundred thousand), and preferably not less than 1,000,000 (one million).

"The purpose of causing mild depressive instances in the general public is three fold. Firstly the immediate effects, which have been detailed above. Secondly, the unexpected and unattributable cause of the instance (to the sufferer) greatly enhances his impression of self-uncontrol and of insecurity. This is clearly beneficial to any serious public policy. The third effect is to coincidentally undermine any alternative treatments being sought for non-government-induced depression, since the sufferer will be certainly be distracted by the apparent failure of the treatment to prevent the episode. Whilst initially only a knock-on effect, this may yet play a very important role in the longer term public policy, in that pulling the wood out of the fire of alternative and independent treatment facilities will certainly be beneficial if and when a full mind control facility becomes available."

Monday, June 09, 2003

Ideathon part three

The Vindictaphone. Automatically send nasty messages to people you hate.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Suicide Nets for Goalposts

Hackney council are to launch new anti-suicide measures on their tower blocks after it emerged that the "suicide nets", hung about 30 feet in the air to catch suicidal jumpers, were being used by kids in daredevil contests. Several tenants have reported children as young as seven flying past their windows and landing in the nets, some from as high as the nineteenth floor. One tenant described how one child liked it so much that he jumped four times in one hour. "He must be getting very fit," the tenant told us, "since the lifts aren't working."

All the children on the Hackney Green estate we spoke to denied being involved but several, after fleecing us of several items with small resale value, agreed that they had seen others taking part in the contests, which they described as 'stunting'. The best at 'stunting' were said to be two 9-year-old twins who not only have jumped from the highest point, but also perform various gymnastic feats, in the manner of competition divers. They also told us that at night kids throw lit fireworks down after their free-falling friends, in an attempt to knock them off course and away from the nets. Thankfully, no-one has succeeded, although one rocket did fly through an open window and set fire to the flat of a 86-year-old widow. Neither has anyone jumped from the roof of the block and the council have already installed a net at the nineteenth floor height to prevent that. Locals say, however, when the youth are not actually jumping into the nets they like to climb into them and smoke marijuana, hanging 190 feet in the air.

No-one has apparently been seriously injured yet, although the local hospital had reported a previously unexplained rise in whiplash amongst the estate's kids.

Our man on the underground writes meanwhile, the local underground station's management are quietly campaigning for the removal of all suicide prevention on the estate. They say that since the introduction of the nets suicides at their station have increased eight-fold. They point out, in private, that the cost of cleaning one body from the floor of a tower block is minimal compared to the cost of scraping it up from between electrified rails, not to mention the cost from the loss of train service and most especially in sick pay to distraught members of staff. The council have given them short shrift however, and informed them to consider setting up their own suicide nets.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Ideathon part two

Instead of penalties at the end of a football match, instead of silver and gold goals, instead of all the other nonsense that they always come out with, why not simply remove the two linesmen and hence the offside rule. Someone would score in roughly two minutes. In fact the score at the end of extra time could get basketballesque

Monday, June 02, 2003

Ideathon part one

Why dont trains have exercise bikes? That way people can pass the time on boring journeys by getting in a little cardio. They could even help the train go faster. Stick them on the roof and they'd not only save space but also air conditioning.

Sunday, June 01, 2003


Excitement for people who dont want to do anything too exciting

Tuesday, May 06, 2003


Saturday night. Shaka at the Rex. His first night since he burnt his hands in a fire that consumed half his record collection. The dance was absolutely full from start to finish and Shaka had lost none of his trademarks - shattering tops over iron basslines. In Shaka's hands reggae is stripped of its niceties, the melodies razed apart to reveal an angry, glaring bass, the hidden message lurking under roots' sweet harmonies. A true legend who continues to provide an authentic reggae experience, who has spawned a hundred imitators, Shaka's particular style and sound seems almost as important, at least in Britain, as Tubbys and Lee Perry. The rumours are that he is contemplating retirement, but the crowd left him in no doubt of their feelings by the widespread and heartfelt clapping at the end of the dance, a rare occurance at the best of times, but which showed exactly how glad the people were that he's recovered and is back, sound undiminished, heavy, rough.

Friday, May 02, 2003

May Day

The government announced today that yesterday's May Day celebrations were successfully corralled in part due to the new weather co-ordinating technology they have been developing. Previous attempts at crowd control by making it rain heavily have generally been unsuccessful but improvements in the orgone technology and better weather prediction models have vastly improved the capacity for weather-led public order operations. Cynics on the Commons' Secret Conspiracies Committee were heard to complain that the rain actually only fell in the morning and that the afternoon, when most of the protests were due to be held, was actually mostly warm and dry but the minister batted away these gripes, pointing out that the police have problems using tear gas in a heavy downpour. They had, however, requested a wet surface to facilitate dragging away protestors and to inhibit street sit-downs.

In all, the minister pointed out, the whole operation was a success. The public's right to congregate was successfully curtailed and many otherwise ordinary people were made to feel criminalised for no other reason than they wanted to take part in a legitimate if somewhat unfocused protest, with the added prospect of rioting late into the evening. The police chiefs were also reporting a rise in morale, after many police managed to discharge some of their general frustrations on a crowd mainly made up of lacklustre students.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Sports Corner

Meanwhile I'm watching the snooker, a curiously relaxing way to waste your time. Tonight Peter "the alien" Ebdon is playing Tony "Dago" Drago in a match reminiscent of the hare and tortoise. Drago, the Fats Waller of the snooker world, races around the table as though he's got much better things to be doing, whilst Ebdon, bald pate and wide eyes shining, measures up each shot endlessly, like a carpenter on an important job who's had a few too many at lunch. They're almost playing different games, one ice hockey and the other five-day cricket.

In football, Man Utd hosted Real yesterday but emphatically failed to stop them scoring which, like with all great teams, is much harder than scoring against them. In the first match Real seemed to sit on the edge of United's penalty area, making sporadic incursions at will, rather in the style of the Marines at the outskirts of Baghdad. This time, with the Embassy world championships just starting, they seemed to stroke the ball as deftly as a snooker player. Beckham came on as a sub, immediately had a free-kick to take and no doubt with his wage negotiations with Madrid at the front of his mind, scored effortlessly.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

The Acne of Marketing

Viral marketing took a new step forward today when McDonalds announced their latest campaign. A hormone injected in their new range of burgers has the effect of causing McDonald's logo-shaped acne to form on the foreheads of the diner. Teens across America were said to be flocking in droves for their new dish. One said "if you're going to have acne, at least let it be in a fashionable arrangement." #

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Ou Dede and his Daughters, Channel 4

A terribly sad film from the beautiful and dramatic hills of rural China as a folk musician tries in vain to balance his ancestral obligations with modern realities which, if not clearly evident in their poor country lives, cast an ever-lengthening shadow. Dede is required to teach his instrument, the daria, a rudimentary guitar, and his songs, which his family have compiled over many generations, to his son and not a stranger. Unfortunately he has three daughters. Already fined for his zealous procreation, he begs the junior village elder to allow him to try again for a son but the elder wants him to teach the daria to outsiders, as part of their Nu culture. It is the 21st century, the elder tells him, he needs to modernise.

Meanwhile his youngest daughter loses a goat out on the hills which then eats his neighbour’s crops. They arrive to exact recompense and when a belligerent Dede refuses they brandish machetes at him before taking one of his goats and beheading it outside his front door. The cameraman observes this before re-entering Dede’s hut where he sits in the near darkness with his family, as the daughters cry. Dede warns them that if this happens again the men will force him to let them marry his daughters.

In the absence of a son, Dede finally decides to teach a daughter and he lights upon his youngest. She refuses, however, because she wants to go to school. When the teacher asks her why she refused, she coldly points out that the daria has barely brought her father any success. The teacher admonishes her, however, advising her to learn it, in addition to her book studies. The school is a hut and the class consists of the girl, about 12, and two boys, one about 4 and one about 6. After a foreshortened lesson, since the textbooks haven’t arrived, they sing a song.

Dede is now singing his songs on his porch. In a scene reminiscent of a blues singer, he bemoans his fate, pointing out in song that nobody is listening to him, that only the Gods can hear him. The villagers despise him, he declares, because he will not modernise.

The middle daughter is fuming that Dede will not teach her the daria, instead teaching the youngest who says she doesn’t want to learn. She is convinced that he prefers the youngest, despite both her mother and her elder sister assuring her that it is not so. This comes to a head at a special family dinner at which they are eating pork. In his speech before they eat Dede outrages the middle daughter by seeming to say he does indeed favour the youngest and the youngest then tells her she is illiterate. A massive row ensues, first bowls smashed and fighting and finally Dede himself kicks over the table on which the pots are sat.

In desperation he goes to see his father’s grave and in a terrible, terrible scene, weeps and blows his constantly running nose as he begs his ancestors for advice. He complains about these new fangled ideas of teaching Nu culture ‘I don’t even know what the hell culture is’ he says bitterly. Finally, after losing patience with the unforthcoming spirits, he smashes the daria on the rocks.

The overall impression was of a man being driven to destruction. It was horribly poignant perhaps partly because for all that Dede brought it on himself, his instinct was to preserve his tradition. Perhaps the romantic in me couldn’t resist the poverty and simplicity of their life but in a few years none of this will be left at all. They were so poor it seemed as though he wouldn’t even be able to afford another daria at all, let alone one passed down through generations.

This was of course to ignore completely the film crew, whose presence at some moments was determinedly peculiar. Many of the scenes had a certain staged feel to them, although substantively they were convincing, and if Dede was acting in his final scene the man should be given a Oscar by special delivery. Presumably the film crew will have given him some money, but the problems he faced have no easy solution. Dede gave the uncomfortable impression of a man who was soon to find too much solace in a sake bottle, as everything collapsed around him. Modernisation is like a virus which consumes everything in its path and this film neatly illustrated the costs and subtle losses we endure to feed its rapacious appetite. It was unbearably poignant and I would never have written this if I thought I could easily see it again. As it is at least this will keep a memory.