Wednesday, 27 June 2007

2 Points

Can Kanye West not come up with his own songs? His whole first album did nothing but sample infinitely better and more succesful songs, and now he's at it again with his newest work "Harder" by using the robot gods Daft Punk and a sample of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger". I don't care whether they agreed to be in the video, come up with your own stuff for God's sake and stop putting laughable lyrics ("It's going off tonight/You can be my black Kate Moss tonight" (DOes this mean Kayne West is the black Pete Doherty? Either way, thank you but I'll pass)) and bland "beats" over a (Inter)stellar riff!!

Now. The other, far more important point; Ed Banger Records, the electro scene and its increasing influence on fahion, coupled with the decline of rock and indie. Look at through the pictures at:

Now look at:

You can see the obvious influence. The sunglasses styles, the colours, the cuts, the sense of anarchy and very discordant attitude in the mix of clothes, combined with a very light, very beachy/surfer/sun, sea sand.Ibiza ("ravers paradise") kind of feel. It seems rock and roll and the indy scene's grip on pop fashion is finally fading after the last four or five years, and that nu rave is seemes to be passing fad in the transfer; it's the way to bridge the gap between rock and electro style of fashion. Of course, these are Spring 2008 collections, so don't expect to see it really take off until the summer of the same year, but it seems that for many designers the straight indy style has had its day in the sun. Unless your Dolce & Gabana, in which case rockpunkS&M seems to be the way forward...

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

The Islamic States Are Throwing Tantrums Again

Apparently the wider "Islamic World" is up in arms over the knighthood of Salman Rushdie. They're burning effigies of the Queen, complaining incessantly and generally behaving like a spoiled child that just stomps its feet until it gets its own way. In fact, the Government of Pakistan has requested a formal apology from the United Kingdom and a withdrawl of the peerage.

Let me make one thing clear:You govern your country, and I'll govern mine. If you have a disagreement (and this is the part that so many of the Islamic states fail to grasp) TOUGH SHIT.

I don't see British people burning effigies of Pervez Musharraf, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Abdullah bin Abdulaziz whenever they stomp all over the rights of women, homosexuals or non-Muslims. We disagree with it, yes, but it is not our country and (unlike George Bush) we believe in countries being allowed to rule themselves and make their own decisions. However horrifically ancient they may be.

You didn't see members of the Catholic and Anglican churches burning effigies of Dan Brown for writing The Da Vinci Code do you? Or Ron Howard for directing the film version? No. Did they disagree? Yes. Did they protest? Yes. And that's all. They didn't whip up entire nations into a frenzy of religious ferver just to try and change get things done their way.

It goes back to the problem of last year with the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. Everyone had every right to complain about how The Prophet had been depicted as a simple terrorist with a bomb in his turban. They had no right, however, to try to tell the rest of the world that they may not produce images of Muhammed because it is against their faith. THEIR faith. Not mine. Not yours. THEIRS. You stick to the governing tenents of your belief system, and I'll stick to mine. But I can - and will - produce images of Muhammed because I find no problem in it and it does not affront my beliefs. Tough shit if it affronts yours.

Iran ran a competition to find the most anti-Semetic cartoon in the NATIONAL NEWSPAPER! Where were the masses of angry Jews burning effigies of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Did they all vehemently disagree? Yes. Was it disgusting and wrong? Yes. Did they try and change things? No. Why? Because it's not their country.

xThis is what the Islamic world seems to need to realise. There are things in this world that can, and will offend or upset their beliefs. Knighthoods will be given out to authors who write things they disagree with. And I'm afraid they are just going to have to live with that. The world does not have to make its decisions based on how the Middle Eastern nations will view it. And of all places, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - a thousand year old monarchy, one of the oldest DEMOCACIES on earth and one of the nations responsible for the way of life that exists today, should not bow to the whinings and tantrums of religious nations a thousand miles away.

The motto of this country is "Dieu et mon droit", which translates from French into "God and my right". My right. My right to free speech. My right to freedom of expression. My right to live my life openly and freely and to make my own decisions about my life. And the right of me and my fellow countrymen, my Parliament and my monarchy to govern our own land. Not the right of Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, UAE, Saudi Arabia or anyone else.

I don't tell you how to rule your country and how you should hand out peerages. Don't you dare think that your religious zealotry gives you any RIGHT to tell me how to rule mine.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The Ghastly Gourmond Gagmeister Is Gone!

So the fat man is dead. Bernard Manning is no more. Thank God? I'm not sure. Looking over message boards and "tributes" it has been interesting to see a considerable amount of ugliness about the way Bernard Manning was viewed.

One thing you cannot take away from Bernard Manning was his ability - as a comedian - to delivery a joke. His timing was absolutely perfect. And for that he deserves credit.

Unfortunately it was the material that kept him off television and cast aside from the mainstream for the last twenty years of his life. His fans will blame the "PC Brigade", I believe they are creating excuses.

Manning's comedy was at its zeitgeist when Britain was still coming to terms with its rapidly changing cultural identity. After the Second World War and the collapse of the global empires of Western Europe there was a massive movement of human life across the globe. A lot of people came to Britain, helping to create the society we see around us today. Manning's comedy appealed to the national concern and interest at what was happening. I do not believe that his comedy is rendered any less incorrect based on the time frame, as I feel that laughing at someone based on their ethnicity is wrong. But the people of Britain were still a little less enlightened back then (for the most part) and Manning captured that feeling expertly.

Where he fell down was his refusal to move on. His refusal to change onto more relevant issues, and continue to make jokes about the differance between us (generally white, working class, Northern men) and them (everyone else).

People have been trying to defend Bernard by saying that he was one of the last advocates of free speech and resolutely fought the "PC Brigade". This is incorrect. "Political Correctness" has only really gone into its crazy overdrive in the last several years; Manning has been off television since the '80s. Because he was stuck in the humour of the '50s and the '60s; the lair of the Alf Garnetts and The Black and White Minstrel Show.

What has been more alarming to see, is how many fans of Manning's seem to be blaming politcal correctness for preventing them from spewing a kind of vitriolic hatred towards anything they don't consider "the norm". Political correctness had nothing to do with people being disgusted by Manning frequently calling Asians "Pakis" or "Gooks", or black people "Coonss", or gay people "Queers". Political correctness didn't reduce those words to the gutter, the general public did it because they are abhorrent terms. It is shocking to read how many people seem to be blaming their own closet racism on the "PC Brigade".

The other thing that his defenders have jumped up to point out is that "Bernard picked on everyone", which is another flase truth. Bernard picked on everyone except white, working class Northerners, who were apparently the salt of the earth and could do no wrong. Was it also a coincidence that the majority of these ignorant, uneducated people were the ones that kept his career afloat since he fell out of public interest? I think not.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am all for outrageous, offensive humour. I find it amusing. I find humour in painting images and using jokes that go so far beyond the realms of offensiveness that they become farcical. If it was said with seriousness and malice, the views and the jokes would be so morally offensive it would be untrue, but they are not. They are said with full knowledge that it goes so far past "the line" that it becomes humorous again. Bernard Manning's jokes were always just on the line. They were never outrageously offensive like a Jerry Sadowitz, they were just observations of how different other people were to him and his kind. And that - and only that - therefore made them the subject of his comedy. Manning and his audience in the vile little billiard hall; the "world famous" Embassy Club (a run down ex billiard hall somewhere in the middle of a parking lot in north), laughed at other people because they were different.

They were ignorant, intolerant and tremendously bigoted, whether they want to admit it or not. And trying to talk about Manning's "charity work" would be like trying to say that the KKK are alright because they give cash to animal shelters. It still doesn't change the message. It still doesn't change the fact that a fat, uncultured bigot, way past his heyday that appeals to a bunch of equally intolerant bigots were clinging to a decaying idea of what Britain once was (hint: WHITE). He were pointing and laughed at anyone different from him and his audience. At anyone that couldn't defend themself. At anyone that wanted to do more than drink beer and eat "pie and chips" and drone on about how wonderful Britain is.

Keep the north, keep Blackpool, keep you're "salt of the earth." I have a brain and an opinion and can change with the times and I'm proud of it.

Laugh at me all you want Bernard. I'll quite happily take what I've got over what and you're kind have you ended up as.