Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Stag's Dead: A victory for common bastards

Stags Head, 55 Orsman RoadThe Stag's Head lies in the backstreets at the border of Hoxton and De Beauvoir Town, in about as unprepossessing a location as you can imagine. It nestles between the sprawling council estates and derelict-looking industrial units, and looks from the outside like the sort of pub you go into to get shot if you happen to have annoyed the local villains. It's on the corner of two of the quietest streets in London, so the footfall is on a par with that at the north pole. Of course it was not long for this world, like all local boozers, it was due for a swift knocking-down and selling on for yuppie flats, except that Matty, Ellie and Zack got hold of it and through a combination of 1) putting on live music, including folk sessions, 2) getting the trendies in while 3) keeping the locals on board, 4) leaving the decor as was, instead of the usual tarting up by people with the interior design sense of a drunk racoon, 5) dishing out free food, instead of charging fistfuls of cash for supposedly organically massaged beef, 6) not raising the prices, 7) some mighty lock-ins, through this combo - in short, by treating their punters like people not cash machines - they managed to increase the pub takings from basically fuck all to a whopping health; the pub is packed several nights a week and throughout the day at weekends; there's a local community interaction thing going on, people belong there, feel comfortable there, get to put their nights on with little fuss there, it is one of the very few pub take-overs by a "trendy" crowd that has managed this fine balancing act and is probably the template all you wannabe landlords and landladies should aspire to, especially in London where the decent pubs, ie. the pubs that aren't just about cashing in or trendying up, are going, going, gone.

Corporate Scum
But what the fuck, you think you can just have this info and that's it? You think that the pub isn't getting closed by their pubco Enterprise Inns? Because that sort of success deserves nothing less than harassment, non-delivery of beer and exorbitant rent rises? Because the pubco realise that they can get more cash from selling on the tenancy to another landlord, who waltzing in fresh from running some All Bar One alike in Clapham and seeing the takings for the last year, will pay far more for the lease than they should. And when that landlord fails to make ends meet, well sweet pubco magically transforms to flat-building co and bob's a good'un; all money grist to the pubco mill, dividends for the shareholders, it's called maximising income, all good business practice, meanwhile a community pub, one of the few that has bucked the trend, a place to go, hang out, meet people, play music, see bands, eat food, get pissed, and still have some money in your pocket at the end of the night, a place I like to go, and I don't like fuck all, a decent boozer, in other words, that is just another bunch of numbers Stags Head, 55 Orsman Roadat the bottom of an accountant's spreadsheet, money talks, and we're all deafened.

Matty seems decidedly sanguine about the whole thing. It's not new, it's not even unusual, and nothing lasts forever, but it stings like a bastard. And I don't care, I'm gonna say it: Enterprise Inns are a bunch of cunts.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Paper Cinema

What happens at the accidental meeting of inkblots, photocopies, cardboard, angle-poise lamps, video technology, a laptop and a banana box?

So I was at this party in a garden the other night when suddenly a woman asked everyone to shush and we all shushed and she turned on the projector and it projected onto a sheet on the garden wall, and then there were these two people and they waved hand-drawn cardboard cut-outs in front of a camera and what they waved in front of the camera appeared on the big screen, and they had a man with them playing music and making sounds and these three conjured up a film right there before our eyes, right in front of us, that we could watch on the big screen, a sort of puppet-animation show, made up of intricately-drawn pictures of characters and scenes and all the elements they needed to tell their stories all waved about in front of the camera in some sort of order and it was like ah! someone's found an beautiful marriage of up-to-date technology and ancient, enchanting technique. An amazing idea and brilliantly executed by Nic Rawling, who drew all the pictures, and his assistants. I happened to be standing behind the puppeteers throughout the films so my eyes constantly flitted from the big screen to watching them perform, which meant I got a behind-the-scenes view, but failed to follow the stories very closely. But the way they conjured up animation from static pictures on sticks was a blessing.

Footage of King Pest, as seen if you just watch the big screen.

A wider shot, including the puppeteers at work, not great but it gives you some idea of what's going on.

The Paper Cinema blog - facebook - interview - bio

Animation bonus: video of Jim Le Fevre (website), talking with others including Nic Rawling, featuring some nifty live animation using a Technics 1210.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hallo Vera! Get em in luv!

If any of you doubted the veracity of my Rosewater Ketamine account, or if any of you have ever read that far back, well doubt no longer, only nowadays it appears they import ketamine in bottles of Aloe Vera juice.

Ooops! Fuckin' Royal Mail!

Love the TV report. First the shopkeeper, saying "oh well it arrived here one day by accident so I just put it up for sale. What was I supposed to do? Send it back?" And then onto a description of ketamine: "Its effects are like a combination of cocaine, cannabis, opium, nitrous oxide and alcohol." Brilliant! Where do I get some? camera cuts to a vet Vet: Yeah, we've got loads. Yeah we snort it all day.

or you can just buy some Aloe Vera juice, I suppose.

Or maybe don't.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I write like

Put a portion of your writing into this writing analyser and it'll tell you which famous writer you write like.

Me? Based on the last few blog posts: Stephen King, Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Conan Doyle (really?), Dan Brown.

I think I'll stop there. It was going so well.

Via (obv), where they deconstruct it until it begs for mercy.

PS. I put my most favourite recent blog post in and got James Joyce. Yeah, the famous comic writer. So maybe this semantic statistical analystical tool don't work as well as I'd hoped, or maybe I should start writing Homer in Holloway.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dr Football

Jonathan Wilson PhD (Football Studies) will see you now.

Jonathan Wilson can explain football tactics. I don't mean talk about football tactics - lobbing 4-4-2s, 4-3-3s and 4-3-XR3is about the place like so many Rory Delap throws, provoking mayhem in the area (of your footballing brain) - Jonathan Wilson doesn't talk about tactics the way that most people do, ie. knowing precisely fuck all, Jonathan Wilson actually explains tactics, explains what was going on when one player came on, another went off, explains why 4-4-2 doesn't work anymore, explains what Capello was thinking bringing on Wright-Phillips for Lennon (well I assume he can, I haven't actually seen it, and there are limits for anybody). Jonathan Wilson may be the Prometheus of football commentary, bringing the fire of genuine knowledge to a realm of hitherto frozen wastes. So bone up now, while the football season is in rare abeyance; and you'll soon be able to unpick England's failings with more rigour than just "Heskey's fucking shit! Lampard's a cunt!"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"If your comic was an ice cream, what flavor would it be?" "Self Hatred Ripple"

I should also add that it’s very difficult to satirize the Jewish world, because just when you think you’ve made something preposterous, you pick up the newspaper and see that events have actually out-satirized what you’ve just done. So it’s always a race with reality. I’m more of a stenographer than a satirist in that regard.
Eli Valley draws comic strips. Comic strips with a Jewish flavour. An un-Zionist, shit-tired of being called self-hating or anti-semitic for offering constructive criticism of Israel's crazed pursuit of armageddon flavour. A flavour with strong hints of MAD magazine. A what if we imagined Darth Vader was half-Jewish and Luke Skywalker was actually leading the charge against any further intermarriage flavour? A yes some crazy rabbi did suggest some (possibly poetic) link between one of these strips and the Haiti earthquake flavour. A probably I need to rewrite this blogpost tomorrow but I ain't gonna so get used to it flavour. Open your taste buds! It's Ethnocentric Parochialism for the Whole Family!

Monday, July 12, 2010


I only realised the other day that the Amazonians were not from the Amazon at all, but Anatolia (that's Turkey to you). Plutarch tells us - well, he tells the guy who wrote the wikipedia article - that Athens and Chalcis (no me neither) both had an Amazoneum, a sort of shrine to the semi-mythical female warriors. Greek battles with the Amazons were known as Amazonomachy, which is a great name for something, either a club night or a cocktail. It turns out that Francisco de Orellana named the Amazon river after a tribe of female warriors who he claimed to have fought nearby, although some apparently believe that these were male warriors who happened to have long hair, and a penchant for Issey Miyake. Medieval scholars credited the Amazons with inventing the battle-axe, thus I suppose explaining the root of that particular little pet name. An all-female military unit of the West African Fon people were known as the Dahomey Amazons (by westerners at least, the Fon called them Mino, meaning "our mothers"). They fought the French in two wars, but they lost both.

All info culled from wikipedia, hence I cannot vouch for it

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I vote for participatory democracy

Friday, July 09, 2010

gettin hot in here

It's hot. Damn it's hot. Apparently, when it's hot, you're supposed to do things like drink hot tea and eat jalapenos, because they activate the body's cooling mechanism. Which makes you wonder why the body's cooling mechanism can't just get activated by, I don't know, it being hot. Which it is. Damn hot. Pan-frying hot. Hot like two radiators in sandpaper suits making love in a sauna. In the Amazon. While smelting steel. It's sweltering. It's hot enough to irradiate bacon. It's more heated than an internet argument about the new Grand Theft Auto: Gaza Strip. And it's only going to get Tarka (the 'otter). Now will the Star run articles saying that it is global warming after all? No, no, I won't sweat it.

Friday, July 02, 2010

the clever speedheads, they called their ramblings Whizzdom

Thursday, July 01, 2010

An excerpt from the Glastonbury programme

Drugs are as illegal at Glastonbury as anywhere else. If you buy, sell or use drugs you are likely to be arrested and ejected from the festival. Glastonbury is not a good place to take drugs and certainly not a place to start. Do not buy drugs at Glastonbury, they may have been mixed with other, more dangerous substances. Taking drugs could have harmful or even fatal results. Reassure anyone having a bad reaction.