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During [Colin] Powell's speech [to the United Nations, 5/2/03], he also described a compound in northeastern Iraq, run by the Islamic terrorist group Ansar al-Islam, as a "terrorist chemicals and poisons factory."

When reporter Luke Harding of the Observer visited the site three days later, however, he reported finding "nothing of the kind". Describing the site as a "shabby military compound at the foot of a large snow-covered mountain," Harding said that it was "a dilapidated collection of concrete outbuildings at the foot of a grassy sloping hill. Behind the barbed wire, and a courtyard strewn with broken rocket parts, are a few empty concrete houses. There is a bakery. There is no sign of chemical weapons anywhere - only the smell of paraffin and vegetable ghee used for cooking."

Harding added that the people of the town of Khurmal, located about five kilometres away from the compound, were fearful of an American military strike once the war began, "since Mr Powell gave their town's name to the alleged chemical weapons site." And in fact, Khurmal was bombed by U.S. cruise missiles on the first weekend after the war with Iraq began, killing 45 villagers.
pp 98-99
Sheldon Rampton & John Stauber
Weapons of Mass Distraction ·
The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq
[Robinson Books]

posted by Ian 7/12/2003 01:53:00 PM
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Just reading a proof copy of:

Selected Writings
Volume 4: 1938-1940.

Came across the following in a footnote from Letter to Adorno on Baudelaire, George, Hofmannsthal:

Adorno has published his essay "Uber Jazz" under the pseudonym "Hektor Rottweiler" in the Zeitschrift fur Sozialforschung in 1937. In a conversation with Adorno during the latter's visit to Paris in October 1936, Benjamin voiced some objections to the essay, which he had read in manuscript.

But said nothing about the PSEUDONYM???!!!?

posted by Ian 7/12/2003 01:34:00 PM
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U.K.-based readers please note:
Great Samuel Fuller movie on BBC2 this afternoon:

2.35 House of Bamboo (Samuel Fuller 1955)

Brilliant use of widescreen & Technicolor; like Antonioni with Robert Ryan v Robert Stack punch ups.
And you really can't say better than that ...

posted by Ian 7/12/2003 09:36:00 AM
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OK: just so I don't give the impression of being a terminally unbudging realpolitik wonk ...

What I'm actually reading {page by page, at night, in my Noam Chomsky jammies}:

Outlaw · The Lives and Careers of John Rechy
by Charles Casillo [Advocate Books]

Eye opening {just don't ask which eye ...

- ---- +

HEY! Here's an idea.

Why not resettle the PALESTINIANS in the Big Brother house, while we're at it, uh? It must be getting to the point where they're the only people who haven't been considered as A LAST DITCH DESPERATE GIMMICK!

{Ye Gods! Even Chief Cheerleader Graham Norton flamed out last night AND not just bitchily, but he broke the rules and mentioned how THIS ALL ULTIMATELY CAME DOWN TO SQUEEZING MORE MONEY OUT OF THE PUBLIC.}

+ --- -

Hey! Here's another idea!
Why not let's have a BIG BLOGGER vote!
Me, I vote we get the old friendly BLOGGER back in the House!

I mean, thanks guys, to all the tech-heads I know ... who've written in saying, oh, Ian, but it's so simple!, just reconfigure your GIFs on an editing plane like Word and then copy, cut, paste, tie up, shoot up, nod out, and then re-rout your bunny ears thru a klactoveesedstein programme. Not forgetting to tie down your mainframe if there's a small wind blowing from the South.

Well, yeah. But WHY SHOULD I?
The old Blogger, you could throw in an empty Fresh Soup Carton and Old Friendly Blogger would duly post it.
Which is the way it SHOULD be: this is about public access, not dicking around with the coded syntax of PCs-as-hobbyzzzz ...
I'm not a tech head and don't want to be. If I'm still half asleep at 7 in the morning or completely pissed after midnight I don't want to be thinking about bloody RUSES that might MIGHT get me where I want to go.

- ---- +

Seen last night on A TOUCH OF FROST [ITV1, repeat]:

There's a dead junkie in a public lavatory. Murdered, OD'd, liver explosion, who knows yet. But there's a half-drunk bottle of "rum laced with industrial alcohol". Everyone is up to their ankles in piss and blood and vomit and god knows what else. Perfect abjection.
Then, just visible behind Frost's head, a graffito on the Public Loo from Hell's porcelain wall:


Thanks, guys. Always nice to find one's natural level reaffirmed.

posted by Ian 7/12/2003 08:26:00 AM

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Anyone else notice this?*

"Britain could be on the rbink of a gang war between factions in the garage music industry after the stabbing of a young DJ in Cyprus.

The warning came after a member of rap band So Solid Crew was quizzed by Cypriot police following the attack on Dylan Mills, known as MC Dizzy Rascal [sic], in the resort of Ayia Napa.

Mills, 18, described as the "hottest new talent on the London garage scene", had emergency surgery following a brawl which left him with serious wounds. He is expected to leave hospital in a few days.

Dwayne "Megaman" Vincent, a founder member [of So Solid Crew], helped police with their enquiries last night and was released without charge. Cypriot police are seeking two other suspects but believe they have fled to Britain.

One industry source said: "It's south London garage wars but the battlefield is Ayia Napa. This attack - whoever was the perpetrator - happened due to pure jealousy."

{source : Evening Standard 10/7/03

{* ... ah, I see diSi has already got there. Still, how much do I now wish I had published my thing on Dizzee+Tricky+racism+etc - which was PRECISELY all about the dust up between REAL and ROLE and fatal braggadocio and so forth.


Elsewhere in our wonderful free press ... after all the flak hurtling back & forth between GERMANY and ITALY the past week or so, how refreshing to see this fair comment from a Spanish journalist about the UK's current Victoria regina, Mrs Beckham:

"She's stiff and arse-faced. She looks like a boiled potato."

No, no: no potatoes allowed on the Arseface diet!

Ah, European unity ... donchajes'luvit?!

- ---- +

posted by Ian 7/11/2003 01:37:00 PM
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Current INtre readings}

· Elliot Weinberger · 9/12 · Prickly Paradigm Press
· Ellen Meiskins Wood · Empire of Capital · Verso
· Lewis Lapham · Theater of War · The New Press
· Sheldon Rampton & John Stauber · Weapons of Mass Distraction ·
· Danny Schechter · Media Wars · Rowman & Littlefield
· Philip Jenkins · Images of Terror · Aldine de Gruyter
· Yosri Fouda & Nick Fielding · Masterminds of Terror · Mainstream
· Baruch Kimmerling · POLITICIDE: Ariel Sharon's War Against the
Palestinians · Verso
· Noam Chomsky· Middle East Illusions · Rowman & Littlefield
· Lord Russell of Liverpool · Nazi War Crimes · Greenhill
· Neil Levi & Michael Rothberg [Eds.]· The Holocaust*: Theoretical
Readings · Edinburgh Uni Press
· Samantha Power · "A Problem From Hell" America and the Age of
Genocide · Flamingo
· Raoul Vaneigem · A Declaration of the Rights of Human Beings · Pluto

So the next time anyone shrugs and says, you know, the media doesn't tell us the stuff we really need to know, doesn't challenge us, what you gonna do? ... gently remind them that books are a medium too.

{*Don't know what this parapraxis means, but I originally typed: "Holocause". Which, I have to say, does fit in with the slowly dawning perspective that far from being the awful End of History, the monumental Never Again, the matchless Disaster ... it looks increasingly like the blueprint for an epoch. As see the Pulitzer Prize winning Power title [now avlble in p/bck]; dream traces from her RWANDA chapter woke me up sweating/sobbing the other night ...}

+ if your really want to JOG your realpolitik perceptions, go jogging in this man's wonderland of fact-log and investigative revelation.

And big meow! out to PB reader Brian D. for his Giorgio Agamben nod.

posted by Ian 7/11/2003 12:33:00 PM
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From Andy Warhol to William Blake ...

Two of my favourite artist theorist poets of the ordinary ... and debatably in one way or another avatars of the sacred or where the profane meets the inner sea sky breath aspiration of the sacred - let's hazard 'profane AS sacred' as in, why NOT piss paintings ... ?

I'd like to write something about Warhol as sacred artist.
A Sistine Chapel by Andy could have been 1000s of Polaroids of little Truman's Black and White Ball! But no, I mean this to be taken seriously or, I don't know, who knows, who cares, maybe he was, maybe he wasn't, he was cool either way, cool like cobalt cool like Mexican women serving you in their pharmacies when you ask habla? for something with a sky high codeine content cool as delicate pressed meats cuts off the head tongue baby lambs balls eaten by the very rich so rich their drivers have it maid service but like Andy said, the rich go to all that trouble to have their special delicate pressed meat starter preserved and imported and presented and then they serve frozen peas with the entrée, now that's not cool and Andy knew ... he knew when it came to mass produced produce, he had a palette for it ... he knew its place, knew when it went POP! and when it was sheer lazy poison ...

"Andy always said the blandest things; it drove people crazy, they were forced to read meaning into his words, but we knew different. Andy was not only dyslexic but he was uncomfortable with words. [...] I think the only reason he liked me was because I was Catholic, like everyone around him ..."
{Mary Woronov swimming underground

Andy is for starters a great 20th Century boy name for an artist. Artists were meant to be either cool and cruel and detached; or die of syphilis unknown unappreciated YOU HAVE NO MESSAGES in a bowl of their own absinthe laced vomit owing that week's rent to an old crone who then took their masterpieces as rent and threw them on the fire to cook her dog stew when it got too cold ...
They weren't meant to be Andy and have a silve halo: an unnatural silver halo.

He couldn't speak, he couldn't see, his hair didn't grow, his skin didn't breathe, he didn't like being touched, secretly hated not being touched, made an art whose dialectic was touch and coldness, distance and ache, feel and frieze, he PLUNGED into 20th century things like telephone television polaroid microphone tape recording and when he used them he left IN the tinniness {TIN-iness! I honestly didn't realise!} OK then let's also say SOUPiness and static and the phatic the PAUSE the masking tape the track the tracks the price tag all this broke the Law of art and art conversation in a way you weren't supposed to, he somehow thereby annulled or transcended - which is to say that as per Heidegger's advice, he wasn't simply on or off or couldn't care about Technology {here, the technology of mass repro} - he courted it was giddyhup schoolgirl excited by it set fire to it made ...

posted by Ian 7/11/2003 11:28:00 AM
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...love to it ogled it let it sit astride him let it whisper midnight thoughts in his head let it guide his hand AND-HE let himself go into a trance a polaroid tango a xerox or polaroid reflex action unfold whirrr inside his head zzzz click! so was he so different from artists who still pay due obeisance to old notions - or, timeless notions, expressed in that anachronistic lingo, like, 'Oh, it's just floating around in the air and I just pick it up,' or 'It speaks thru me' etc, and, I ask you, how is that different or BETTER than what Warhol did, if anything, he exerted MORE aesthetic control, he was the ANTI fascist artist, he didn't run from the mass, from mass repro, he didn't lock himself away in a Long Island studio doing formal variations for the sake of a few 100 people in the artworld, he TOOK on reproduction and won, out ran it, owned it, signed it over to himself 20th Century boy heretic ...

Only a FOOL could do this ...

A boy with a plan
A natural man
Wearing a white acryllic wig

And there on the screen
A man with a dream

Holy fool St Andy did ICONic portraits.
{I recognise that, it's Liz, I recognise that it's Marilyn, I recognise that it's Elvis, I recognise that it's ... Death. Memento andi.}

After his own death they discovered all these late, Last Supper paintings: the Last Supper endlessly duplicated and repeated and reproduced {maybe the Immaculate Conception was the first Coming Out, the first Girl of the Year, the first 'reproduction' that went round the world?}

The Last Supper as a recognisable trademark. {In a sense: The Last Supper II. Or: The Last Supper™} This was 'nice' 'accessible' 'real art', recognisable faces and things {faces as things: reifications, fetishes} but always also acute subversive x-rayed meditated upon.

And he shows how REPRODUCTION has made the Last Supper {as imago, press photo, false memory, re-presentation of that which was never present to us} just a recognisable emblem or icon or trademark just like the CAMEL camel.
Christ as travelling salesman.
Religious art as repetition.
Halo as plastic surgery.

{And every day, all those thoughts and feelings I recognise as Andy reactions. Like, an e.g., I just turned on the TV to see the fantastically awful and instantly addictive Through The Keyhole - and I was so disappointed they'd replaced it with this dreary FUNERAL type thing from RAF Brize Norton - just coffins coming off an airplane, and how un-televisual is that?
I mean - I actually thought this; and I wasn't ashamed.

Which is just why all those smart alec broadsheet TV critics always get it so wrong when they write about TV as pseudo Art form, rather than this ghostly second chamber part of our un-reel real lives, how we TUNE IN regular as clockwork to certain things, how we fall in love with certain TV faces, and, as I did the other night, get all giggly happy when I discovered that my West Wing alter ego Toby Ziegler is the "same age" as me! ... and it is no coincidence that the 'best' or most contemporary TV - whether West Wing, Sopranos, Simpsons, Seinfeld, the Petit/Sinclair London Orbital documentary, even Big Brother in its gruellingly souffled way - are things that MIGHT GO ON FOREVER in tandem with the exquisite boredom of our own lives ...

+ any body / Andy body / anti body / retrovirus // -

And you FEEL NO PAIN ...
Only a fool, fool, fool ...
I heard it was YOU
And only a FOOL would say that ...

posted by Ian 7/11/2003 11:21:00 AM
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realMadrid's president, a post Warhol football manager, last week, on the real David Beckham:

George Bush, standup comic, last week, on Iraq:
"We did not choose this war ... "
{huh?? WHAT???!!!}

Turn on any TV set and you'll see BoBo the Clown caricatures of Beckham and Bush.
The 'new' Beckham skit/doll on Bo' Selecta! is, not coincidentally - or am I alone in thinking this? - the only completely flat, NON FUNNY thing in the programme. [ie Beckham in MMouse ears, a spoiled kid, 'I dun a poopoo' etc.] It's so bad and so pointless and so wide of the mark, it could almost be a comment, in itself, on how badly wrong the Media are about Beckham.
I'm sorry - am I missing something here?
I mean, remind me again.
The most powerful man in the world and the richest (and quite possibly happiest rich) young man in the UK.

You think they care that a few refugees from Radio 4 or an ugly guy with a big nose and thinning hair {whose only notable talent seems to be not quite convincingly enough looking like celebs who we couldnt care less about them so why then are you taking SUCH trouble to BE them then Alistair?) or someone who goes out at 11.15 as a minority taste make nyah nyah FUN of them?

{NB: Rory Bremner's Bush - no tittering Missus, please - is a far more ruthless, calculating, nasty piece of work, someone who just bulldozes through things like a Xristian basketball coach determined to get the pennant: someone who knows how to make TACTICAL use of his not especially cerebral or reflective or contemplative or conscience struck mindset . . .}

These are the post-Warhol ubermenschen: once upon a time that would have seemed like an oxymoronic idea, but no longer.

Wow. Gosh. Gee. Into battle.

Class: correlate between the inbuilt structure of implied transcendence in Nietzsche's "over man" and the beyond-criticism unflappability of post WARhol icons like Bush, Beckham and ______________ add one of your own choosing.

Contextualise that unflappability with e.g.s. E.g.:
BUSH///Blair. BECKHAM///Gascoigne

{It pains me to admit this, too, but I may even have to reconsider Jools Holland in this light. Well, if I'm going to obsess, Avid Merrion style, about him, it might as well be productive ...

posted by Ian 7/11/2003 11:03:00 AM
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23 Messidor

A lot of you have probably already caught up with this witty squib,
but latecomers go to Iraqi Explorer


{NB · I tried to post the above - look: one sentence and a web address - yesterday evening but NEW IMPROVED BL*GG*R was having none of it.
One sentence and a web address and I got that 'call waiting' message about you're gonna have to wait b-coz your *LOG is so BIG.

So I suspended activities.

Checked later and it wasn't on the PILL BOX.

Now this morning it is {see BELOW}. Even tho I didn't see it through to completion.

I've even stopped swearing now. People, we're through the looking glass here.

The 'old' Bl*gg*r may have been a bit clunky and slow at times - and you didn't have reassuring technospeak messages telling you the "status" of your post - but it was black and white, on or off, published or not, you KNEW literally where you were with it.

What is the POINT of having technospeak messages telling you the status of your post, if the status is actually elsewhere and otherwise?

I mean - all hail the glitch and everything, but I can't see that this is in any way exploitable or explorable or anything but a huge gigantic pain in the eye. . . .

{A PB correspondent tells me AOL have a weblog set-up about to be unfurled on the world, and early reports are sausive.

- ---- +

'War is Peace.'
1984 {Orwell

'The war in Iraq is really about peace.'
2003 {George Bush

+ ---- -

posted by Ian 7/11/2003 10:39:00 AM

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What I was saying about WIT yesterday?

EVERYBODY go straight right now to Iraqi explorer

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 05:51:00 PM
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SIN TRAY round up contd}


... and gigolo and gigolette
wake up to find their eyes are wet
with tales that tell of broken dreams


{We notice that the makers of BIG BROTHER have themselves noticed that this years playmates are so dull - evince such a lack of personality* that notional traces of 'personality' have sunk below detectable levels ... our participants melt away, identifiable only by the insignia of their OUTERmost surfaces or tasks - so that Big Brother's Little Bristle has been reduced to a vain attempt at whipping up audience enthusiasm by making a c/u FETISH of blusher, lipgloss, dressing gowns, rubber gloves, so forth.
Even, tonight, excessive sweating, and the residual traces therefrom.

And you thought I was jesting when I talked about Big Brother's petit objets a ...

{*Can one evince a lack? Does such a communal representation of absence watermark some kind of post modern coup de theatre?}

+ ---- -

And once again YES I know it's manipulative but I love THE WEST WING - it moves me - it touchs all the right buttons about community tradition aspiration effort and its an always useful reminder - in the midst of ones Bush-stoked contempt - of how much I love america, how I'd live there in a second, love it superficially and deeply, love its surfaces and its songs, the good times I've had there, the good people I've met, the time people have given, the things people have given, from waitresses to 'stars', paradigms of hospitality all ...

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 02:15:00 PM
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7 notebook entry riddle survives writers EXIT

"no. 23 across
is castles in spain"

and all the things that truly swim thru our heads are they doing a backcrawl?

WATERFALL nothing can harm you at all my worries seem so pitiful ...

Great EXIT lines of our Time

frm Nouvelle Vague [Jean-Luc Godard, 1990].
Domiziana Giordano: "What do you do?"
Alain Delon [haggard, middle aged, aimless verging on down & out]: "I inspire derision."

+ the TIME OUT Film Guide's archival last word is: "Stillborn stuff from a former enfant terrible who seems to be suffering from terminal regression, it is vague rather than nouvelle."

terminal regression?
talk to the Law, baby, coz the hand's not listening ...

He: "One of the only wishes I ever entertained was, OH!, to look like the young Alain Delon ... "
She: "I'm more of a Warren Oates girl myself ... "

terminal regression ii}

this is how GOOD OLD DAYS dull & safe & comfortably singalonga GLASTONBURY was: Roisin from Moloko looked comparatively JOHNNY ROTTEN.

{in case anybody cares: the only three moments that actually moved my sluggish blood thru ear neck heart cock: Flaming Lips, Moloko, Arthur Lee; altho I didn't see any footage of either Tricky or nu solo Siobhan Donaghy. More on TRICKY soon, but by what kind of superficial and/or anachronic logic does Tricky come to headline in the "DANCE" Tent?

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 02:12:00 PM
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so - what

so - what distinguishes i was idly wandering TV images glittering over the surface of my I, as I say, what might distinguish the world the whirl the death head WIT and glare of WARHOL & the FACTORY from the world of Hello! et al?

{Wouldn't HELLO - minus that bothersome exclamation point - already be a quintessentially Warholian title?* Altho we would of course prefer something along the lines of HEY or SHUT THE DOOR ON YOUR WAY OUT or INSIPID DERISION or LIZARD EYES or SKIN DEATH or THE NEGENTROPIC VISTA OF FLASH BULB DEATH or ...
Hello, hello, hollow.
If there's a hell down below, we're all going to go ... for 15 minutes.
Heaven as a Warhol movie. The ultimate Warhol movie. Endless. Low on incident. Full of the right people. Spectral/banal.

{*Heat, on the other hand - despite a superficial resemblance to the titles of mid period Factory fodder like Trash et al - isn't a Warholian title. Too focus group somehow ... it also comes dangerously close to giving the impression it thinks this is a perfectly APPROPRIATE title for the contents within.}


Likewise the webblog*.
If taken strictly at face value - utilised to expose the fatuity the flow the skittery nerve-line of nervously admitted truth, the phatic diurnal crawl, the poison Nile(ism) of garbage daily flowing into our eyes around our heads blogging up our Is - and not as some carefully tidy near-PC alternative thesis masquerading as 24/7 log, weblogs are also potentially oh so post Warholian.
A post Warholian POST.

{*BLOG, it has to be said, is an awfully icky word, far too adult-babygro, far too adjacent to i.e. "bonk" for my taste, the latter a word I have always loathed.)

Martin Amis {in one of the only things he's ever said I wanted to say YES! to} once talked about that "voice" we all have, the second voice, the other voice, that keeps up a sad mad bad un-PC commentary all day in our heads - and we only ever 'hear' our own and so are not quite sure what to be ashamed of and what not to worry our pretty little objet a's over ... and there's not quite enuff of that voice abroad yet, for my taste, in the world of web-logging.

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 02:11:00 PM
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It would not be enough to say that Warhol's superstars conducted their 'screen tests', their drive to exposure, in some self administered climate of knowing Irony ... because that is simply not true.
There was a truly desperate push & shove going on there, psychaotic, psychotic/banal {just like Heat/Hello, Sun/Mirror}; and it is too easily forgotten e.g. that VALERIE SOLANAS, when push came to shove, was as much a PUPKINista as anything more cutting edge*: that one of her main demands of Warhol, even post-Shooting, was that as well as putting her in "more movies" he get her a booking on JOHNNY CARSON.

{*I.e., at the time she was hailed - or further exploited, depending on your POV - as the "first outstanding champion of woman's rights [Ti-Grace Atkinson] and "one of the most important spokeswomen of the feminist movement" [Florence Kennedy]
"If you wanted to describe the back room of Max's in a, God forbid, negative way, you'd use words like 'desperation' or 'hysteria' - that sort of thing. [...] It was like a carniverous arena. There was always this buzz along the rialto: 'Andy's coming! Andy's coming!' All on this weird level of maybe he'll make this ultimate film or painting of me!"
{TERRY SOUTHERN, qtd in up-tight the velvet underground story · Victor Bockris / Gerard Malanga [Omnibus 1983]

Now there's a thought but ...
... that might just wake the BB house up: introduce a Valerie Solanas!

'Valerie publishes her own manifestoes... and hopes Big Brother will launch a career in scarily radical & radically alienating skin flicks "


+ ---- -


Well, I'm kinda getting my patience back.

Even if this nu-from blogger is still an impossible and perplexing maze.

Never mind that even with breathing-exercise-assisted patience and posting this stuff in tiny increments and the whole thing taking like SIX attempts and EIGHT hours when before it would have taken ONE go at 40 minutes ... it's still playing MIND GAMES with me!

{So if you find DOUBLES here: blame BLOGGER, not me.
It prints two versions of something; then you DELETE one of 'em - and IT RECORDS IT AS DELETED - but go to the page itself and IT ISN'T AT ALL. Then it is.}

You get this bloody FLASHING MESSAGE {see Pill Box ibid} about how long it's taking to post your unfeasibly large blog (which, in reality, is a mere scrap) and this has gone on for 15 minutes now so your press STOP the next time it begins to happen at 5 minutes.
And - lo and behold - it's printed the damn thing!
So why does it then go on for 15 minutes saying it's still having protracted trouble printing the sodding thing?
Who knows.

- ---- +

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 01:52:00 PM
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{Also recall that what Warhol actually said was "WORLD famous for 15 minutes." Which isn't the case here. It's barely the case that the small other irregulars of Big Brother are even famous or infamous in all or even most of Britain ... In fact - and I don't know how this measures or registers on the 15 MINUTE scale(s) - but I've forgotten a lot of their names, already. Federico and Jon I remember - but some of the others: nothing. Those two - and ghostly Gos, pseudo nostic Nush, day nurse Steph, canny Cameron {whose brother back in Orkney is - get this - a TV PRESENTER} - and that's it. And Guy-tano. {Whose first words on arriving back in the S.Afrikkka house were, did you know, a big bad boast that he had shagged Nush, TWICE already, in the B-B-bathroom! Oooh, who's an insecure big (or little?) black "brother" falling into stereotypical line then, mmm?} But even the one who left on Friday - like a Heat-death version of the Cheshire Cat leaving behind two glowing marks of BLUSHER and nothing else ... I can't remember HER name, already.
{But: 9/3 on, she'll be hosting a 'street' makeover of the 'posh' girl BBC2 makeover show within the year, mmm?}

Instant forgetability?
'Talk to the face coz the name ain't important?'
Very Bo Selecta, somehow ...

As for that (brilliant) title, BO SELECTA may not have been selecta'd because of its near resonance with B CELEBRITY, but it might as well have been; the show's Swiftian moral does seem to be that ... in the future, everyone will be a B LIST CELEB for the last 15 years of their career. Michael Jackson, Madonna, Sharon Osbourne, Melanie B, Craig from Big Brother: ... the same plane.

Big Brother as B-celeb Wimbledon - except you're guaranteed a British 'winner'. A whole (prissy, pristine) household of Henmans.


Let us pause here to commemorate Greg Rudeski and his - there's no other way to put this - BO SELECTA! moment at Wimbledon. Wo-ah selecta! Off slipped the PR mask, the nice boy domain name, and out jumped this HOBGOBLIN, the OBSCENE other, the Tourette-i-kit under the tennis kit, UNetiquette fuck wanker shit!

"I'm a tennis playin' call disputin' (sponsorship losin'!) motherfucker, sha'mon!"

Just goes to show how uncannily true that occasional feeling is - that underneath the party masks, we're all potential chapters in an Oliver Sacks book, even clean livin' autograph signin' pseudo-British "hopefuls"* ...

{* "It seemed that a sort of 'disinhibition' had occurred [...] releasing something animal-like or childlike, so that [he] now became a slave of his immediate whims and impulses, of what was immediately around him, without the deliberation, the consideration of past and future, that had marked him in the past, or his previous concern for others and the consequences of his actions."
Oliver Sacks frm The Last Hippie in An Anththropologist on Mars [Picador 1995]

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 12:55:00 PM
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Where Warhol's superstars were flagrantly post-Freudian, the Big Brother contestants are merely post-Evans. (Or, pre-Mirror staged: Mohan not Lacan.) Evans-gelical in their half-hearted drive for instant recognition, frisky nothingness, fame as a given, everything kept nicely tightly brightly reigned-in. Warhol's superstars manifested hi-tone ugliness, neurosis, contempt, pathology, and their glorious interruption {narcotic interegnum, anti-social intercourse, insipid pathology} said: I too, can be famous. For fame is our very air conditioning, now. I am your child, America. I am your fall. I am your ... FUTURE.

Fame's swing from other-worldly perfection to a celebrittle feast.

And only one of the primal ironies* Warhol choreographed was surely this: he turned the truly famous {EAP, JFK, MM} into acryllic mummies, nerveless icons, set, embalmed, glazed; and handed over the keys the afterlife of his MOTION pictures to his own little superstar studs satyrs savanarollas sighcotics, social detritus, ciphers of abjection, in other words (and pictures) all that rigid Middle America most of all didn't want to SEE ... gaze or reflect upon ... the ultimate situation comedy with all the comedy taken out ... pure en situ, pure locked gaze, monologues of post-War drift & dehiscence & drama queenerie spun on wardrugs and war holes ... like a post-Beat situation comedy he didn't even bother to try and elevate the characters from 'cliches' (i.e., exactly the kind of cliches which a middle class father drear father or good working class Pa would desperately fear his son or daughter, off to art college in the morning, will end up mingling with, contaminated with, converting to their unholy cult of me me me ... all these high heel marys and ritalin genies and sexless sex fiends ... all the more dangerous sexually for not actually doing it, no, they DO foucault as far as actual touchy fucky goes - touching was Andy's number one no-no, no one touched the Pope, noli me ...) where the Naked Theater meets All In The Family ... with noddy-noddy Andy as unseen Pittsburgher pater familiass ... speed taken to such a pitch it becomes lack of motion ... time as trial ... screen test as the sitters own long night of un (war)holy confession ... a pale ghost this way UMs ...

{*NB: real unitalicised irony, back when irony wasn't yet ironic, anaemic, an escape clause out of actual reflection and thought. At which point one could spiral off into a whole chapter of reflections on: Warhol and "reflection", social reflex, genuflection, class revenge, dyslexia, visual allegory, Warholian ideology and reification ... }

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 12:53:00 PM
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Michael Essany is more Warholian than most, piss comes to glove.
Perhaps the ultimate son, who knows.
{We're probably looking at a future PRESIDENT here, people - seriously; in fact, I'm tempted to put actual money on it ... }

Where banality pushed to its smoothly functioning limit becomes a kind of inscrutability. And I think Warhol may have been one of the first to {literally} see this: that TV worked in such a {spectral} way that "motivation" dropped right out of the picture. He foresaw that from now on nothing could be called "fake": "fake" as such would only be a category error. Authenticity? Forget it.

In fact, forgetting would become a new kind ofF authenticity. What one might - with only a slightly forced figural smile - call Andy's own acute insightful brand of TV Existentialism or pre or post Evangelism: OHthenticity, maybe.

There is no dividing tripe from trope any more: it's ALL GOOD. Or all bad. It's all THERE - in your face. Or in your head; because it's NOT there, after all. It's all ghosts. {And thus opens the entrance in-trance crypt or egress of or into Warhol's monumenally FUNERARY art. Which, again, if I pulled open this stitch I could unravel here into a long, long chapter ...)

Everything sings on TV - unsigned. Pure {fake} aura.
The loop completed from LOSS of aura [thru mechanical reproduction] to aura regained [via the negativa of airtime repro: a development which made ghosts of us all, and, crucially, fed us such a strong visual narcotic that we didn't essentially care what anyone said ... crucial for a life long dyslexic like Warhol. TV is like one of Andy's amphetamine screen tests compressed and made brite and sharp and short and punchy and ENDLESS ... }

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 12:51:00 PM
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{Detours d'amour ...
Bob Dylan - lyrical. Andy - visual. Dylan - Torah torah torah, answering every question with a question or riddle. Andy - Catholic & catholic & unquestioning acceptance of iconic truth. Both out of town boys. Both of these sallow speed-polished ALCHEMISTS in love with androgyne Edie. {A riddle inside an enigma inside 3 week old underwear and 6 months worth of unsloughed makeup. Just like an OMEN.} Both amphetamine prophets letting bleak American garbage run into their heads and come out recycled as GOLD of a kind.

{+ "Can't Buy A Thrill" as definitive line or "Blonde on Blonde" or "Leopardskin Pillbox Hat" etc - can't you see them as Warhol sayings, Warhol titles?

{And no coincidence either that - rivalry as masked homoedipal longing - in amongst all those portraits Warhol committed to popcult memory: Mick Jagger, the Stones, Lou Reed, (did he do John & Yoko?) et al ... NO iconic Dylan.

And the ultimate irony/victory - for both of them but especially for Andy, is that these apostles of POP have out lasted everyone in one way or another.
Looking at Andy's prints & paintings now, each year that passes they just seem to become stronger, more definitivec, more prophetic ...

... and the chapters might fall together under a rubric like Andy Warhol: A Visual Poet In The Era of Television*, or, The Era of Publicity, or, the Era of Advertising ...

{*"New York was an equivalent for The Velvet Underground of what Paris was for Baudelaire ..." frm up-tight · ibid.}

... and he saw, he knew, how it would work, how Pop would impact on people's taste, and sense of their taste as RIGHT and unassailable by notions of canon or correctness, because the paradox of 'mass' culture after all, is that it ends up putting MORE onus on the individual's taste or choice of object.
For example: you might argue all night and you like for Radiohead, say - but if I don't like them, if i don't 'get' it, if I find it whiny and limited and smug, and don't like his voice, that's it and that's that, c'est ca, an end to it, and here's the thing tho': I don't care!, it doesn't bug me the way it might once have bugged me if I didn't 'get' some big new artist or some Old Master, like, it was MY fault I don't 'get' them, no, if I find Moloko FAR more moving and serious a proposition, because I like her voice more than Radioboy's, find it far more convincing a song, an 'act' (which they both are) than Radiohead, then that's my affair and nothing you say is going to shift me from that position, because when it comes right down to it it's my time and my dollar and my Trinitron and MY pleasure IS THE BOSS, mass reproduction has FREED us all from the tyranny of received taste ...

... of course the next step is into a kind of pure (& carefully performed, groomed, maintained) and COMPLETE lack of critical distinction {which I do think Warhol performed, put on, as a prank, as a mask, one of many, and IN this he was far more astute - socially, visually, ideologically - than all of his critics and half of his admirers ever imagined ...

And tho' but it's that final terminal step I don't think I can ever take; altho I do so wish I could sometimes ...

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 12:49:00 PM
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+ ---- -

Value system. Digress of or degrees in fame.
Superstar DJs for instance - they aren't joking. The degree of NARCISSISM manifested here is truly incredible. They mean it, man. They really do think they are the business, the new gods.

{An essential difference to always bear in mind, tho': there is nothing wrong with psychopathic self regard IF it is tied in to an equally gargantaun talent. But when this is the case you will 99% also usually find gargantuan SELF DOUBT, or, inability to make do, be content, niggling, pushing, bending, risking. Which is just the unbridgeable gap between, say, Richard Pryor and Richard Blackwood. The latter is disconcertingly sure of himself, holds himself in a regard that is scarcely credible for someone who after all - well, what has he done? Exept BE Richard Blackwood, a walking talking advertisment for himself, someone so desperate for success, so SET, so locked in, so driven, while at the same time - he carries this perplexed puppy dog look in his eyes, like, why doesn't the whole world agree with me, why I am not yet crowned King of You All?
But the very thing he is purportedly selling - 'personality' - is the thing he so patently lacks. It is in fact his abiding lack: paradoxically, his most notable feature. (Do you ever get the feeling he is ACTing or PASSing as 'black'?)
Notable too, that he will do ANYTHING to achieve crossover recognition: fame as politics. No 'baby' [i.e. bad reality programme] he will not kiss. No green room too shabby, no gimmick too lowbrow or squalid, no programme too trivial or badly conceived or insulting that he will not immediatley say YES. His horizon/logic seems therefore somewhat pretzel like: surely if he was the talent he sez he is, he would not be down there among the scum and d listers and ex Eastenders? But what choice does he have? For he CERTAINLY doesnt have a spark of that Eddie Izzard Bill Hicks Pryor or Bruce stream of consciousness ease with confession and flight and scorching rage and LOVE. Love most of all, perhaps. Those others want to make the world SCREAM with LOVE. (Not for them, tho, NOT just for them.)

By comparison, someone like Blackwood, or certain DJs, conceive of HAVING MADE IT as starring in a Martin Lawrence or Jackie Chan vehicle or a vieo with lots of hired asses. And you KNOW they would do each and every publicty slot flawlessly. Soundbite perfect. No deviation. Human "pop ups". Yes, they are machines - Warhol would have recognised at least the outward aspect - the aspiration - if not perhaps the specific tone or stimmung.

Their whole life is a 'performance'. But without the madness of true performance, the sacred this-could-go-anywhere flame; rather, it is an autistic kind of madness, smooth, insular, insulated, predictable, mechanical. All reproduction and no aura. Sheer mask.

Warhol's 'screen-tests' of his superstars were something else. Heart rending in a way. The 'inner' made shiveringly fleetingly OUT. (As if Being itself had become a minority category, a shameful secret, and he was 'outing' it.) Fragile, tender, the air itself momentarily bruised by the thin line between presence and absence, lifedeath, fading narcissal echo, dead-eyed despair as the last testament of a terminally mislaid self-love.

{Brief tangent: exactly why Roisin Murphy captured her Glastonbury moment so bruisingly. The current Moloko 45 "Forever More" is a truly painful epistle, ex-love letter, cry of despair: NO - BODY - TO - LOVE. No poetry. No future. Beckett, Lydon ... Murphy. It makes sense, it really does. The set-up, the fanfare, the clothes all indicate 'dance lite', post trip hop knees up, spangly frieze. But the words - and her face - tell a different, bleaker, tale. And, which makes it all the more effective than the pleasantly stolidly glum one-tone Radiohead for me - the songs, her voice, the melody SWIIIIMs, curls, shivers, soars, like being drenched in warm honey. But you catch the undertow of what she is saying - CRYING - in public, and it's very odd indeed: Forever - more. I will forever want MORE now, now that I have known YOU. And it is a more I am almost 99% certain I will never again even touch the poignancy the poetry the pulse of. Forver more, things will be forever less.}

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 12:48:00 PM
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HOLY WAR - another brief digression

Warhol {warholes warhologram warholy warbaby} as Catholic mis en scene is something else again. {I have made notes, oh, I have!} Can I just say that it is no coincidence that some intimates called him their Pope; and that these damaged children came to confess to him - he, out of sight, wedged safely silently SACREDly untouchably behind the SCREEN of his CONFESSIONAL apparatus.

And what was at stake after all {was said and done for the camera} was an AFTERLIFE, of sorts.

Which takes us into truly unsteady uncanny territory - (somewhere for which a weblog is not an adequate enough roadmap) - the place of LIFEDEATH.

And of dying not once, not even twice, but endlessly - while still alive.

It is possible to speculate that this was what truly finished some his superstars. (And not quite or wholly - tho' it is tempting to go with the echoes of the pun - in the sense of a 'finishing school', even if some of them maybe thought this was indeed where they were.) Not the drugs, not the 'wind em up and let em go' attitude Warhol ahs been accused of.

But the experience of staged death (of time's slow count down) which a lot of Warhol's 'film making' ultimately seems to resemble.

{Silent film birthed via Fritz Lang's Man In The Moon: 10 - 9 - 8 - ...; and the ship lifts off into outer space, but what happens 'beyond the zero' in these Warholian cases? with what another cagey cruel Catholic called the human factor - which is happily adjacent enough to ACTOR to suit our general thetic purpose.)

I don't know if any of them TRULY believed they would have a proper 'rebrith' in Hollywood* or on Johnny Carson , but nothing kills the soul more than that Eureka! syndrome: one moment of ecstasy followed by . . . years of left over time.

{* And I just opened Mary Woronov's excellent swimming underground · my years in the warhol factory and found this:

"Velvet was beginning to really annoy me with this telephone shit. She was nervous because she thought this was her big movie chance. What a stupid cunt. Even I knew this was not the way to Hollywood. I was not really sure what this was the way to, other than an odd kind of boredom. No matter how simple they made it - Paul loaded the camera, Andy pointed it, and Gerard started the tape recorder - there were always endless amounts of waiting."

Which is also (my theory) why so many ex speed freaks {like Andy's no-doze darlings) ultimately turn to heroin.

If you had formative (or DIS-formative) experiences on some KINGDOM COME mixture of sex, speed and music - it can be a kind of HIGH that is literally unrepeatable. Only suicide or precise daily sedation proffer their pale hands as a comparable 'solution' (or dissolution), as jumps into vertigo or a langorous wrap of shut-down jouissance. SURGE. Repetition - or fullstop. Endless stop-go repetition. Addiction as a Warhol film, a Burroughs logbook. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Measured, contained, you are your own boundary.
Your own installation. Your own gas sation.
Your own Sleep or Empire.

{Empire [Warhol, 1964] which now has a second life as uncanny New York artefact. Because as someone once pointed out - here is the ultimate pointless or perverse film. Using film - a moving art - to film something static; immovable state; empire of signlessness.

Unless ... "some catastrophe should happen."
Like two planes flying into it, you mean? Would that do?

And wasn't that film of the World Trade Centre catastrophe also quintessentially Warholian?
Not so much (or not only) the film itself, as the way it was endlesly REPEATED. The way everyone tutted, and sighed and called it obscene and unwatchable and heart stopping .. .and then RAN IT AGAIN. Just like all theose repeat frames Warhol did in the 60s of suicide jumpers, car smashes, electric chairs ... : the call of the uncanny, the obscene, the techno sublime. Jouissance of realised phantasy. TOMBE. Everything solid falls to earth. Rewind. Repeat. REWATCH. Everything solid ... [World rights not included ... ]

An Andy silk screen of the White Bronco.
An Andy silk screen of Osama.
An Andy silk screen of Rodney King.
An Andy an andy an andy an andy and andy and and he and he and he and he LIVES IN US FOREVER MORE, FOREVER NUMB...

Is the camera on? are you taping me yet?


Endless flow of words the meaning doesn't matter it is the jouissance of chatter of just a phatic un-phallic letting go and of saying it all saying it now singing it back hearing the flow go on go on go on ARE WE ON go go and IT is what is MISSING now missing from blogs missing from big brother missing from oh singalonga nice comfy Radiohead songs and oh -

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 12:46:00 PM
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yes, yes

I know Joe Strummer was a nice a lovely guy and all that but to suggest as some Bragg-heart did yesterday on Glasto TV that he belongs to a lineage that includes Dylan and Lennon and others is patently absurd yes, yes nice sunny rockin n rollin Mescalero Joe at nice sunny rockin n rollin Glasto oh it's OH SO NICE but but but I SO - I -


The idea that Strummer is a Dylan a Lennon a Marley - well, I know you miss him, and I know he was a nice guy to get pleasantly stoned with round a camp fire but really! C'MON! Where is the body of startling work, the longevity, the time defying leaps and twists and gravity defying about turns? (Patti Smith - maybe, at a push.) But a few good (if eminently dodgy, maybe even phony) Method class-clash anthems in 1977, bookended by the 101ers and The Mescalleros? Are you serious?

This is what is happeneing now, tho, which is different from Warholian 15 minute fame. This is the HOLLAND effect: everyone will be retrieved and embalmed. Everyone will ultimately be given an OBE or a place in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame or get to jam on LATER WITH. Bring back Jobriath, Nazareth, Frankie Miller, KoKoMo, Joe Cocker, Stackridge,Johnny Dankworth, Chicken Shack, Sailor, Soul II Soul, Arthur Brown, B.A.D., The Frank and Walters, BRING IT ALL BACK, you name them, bring em back and say they are legends, give em their MOJO profile, their LATER WITH slot, their Glastonbury nostalgia billing, everything is groovy, everything is nice, everyone is good, nothing disappoints us, we love it all ...
... and, you know, in a good early morning mood, I wouldn't necessarily disagree. Some of it is nice and good and respect IS due in some instances for some achievments. But don't tell me Joe Strummer wrote BLONDE ON BLONDE when he really really REALLY didn't. He didn't even write Shot of Love, or Lay Lady Lay.

And he certainly didn't EVER get someone like Quinn The Eskimo into my head.

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 12:43:00 PM
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And you know, I was thinking the other night, if all this queasoogical Hollandaise paradigm shift is the case, maybe I should just admit defeat, maybe I should drop all this. Admit the truth to myself that I'm just a sad old git now who doesn't 'get' the 'kidz' and listen to Opera for the rest of my quiet life.
But then I realisd it was the opposite.
I dont get the kidz because they strike me as monsters of politesse, sparklessness, satisfation, contentment, ease, nothng to say. No complaint.
I see their faces swaying waving lips moving along in bliss to the words of the EASIER listen Radiohead plaints and I think: are they content with that? Is that IT? IS THAT ALL THERE IS?

{And as I stood there, shivering, in my pyjamas ... watching my WHOLE world go up in flames, I thought to myself: IS THAT ALL THERE IS TO A FIRE?

Once a speed freak always a speed frrrrrreak. Always looking for the REVs. Always looking to squeeze out ONE MORE REVOLUTION from the day night night day its all one to me I'll sleep when I'm ... tired. I belong to the crank generation: THEN I was cranked up really high NOW I'm just a cranky old crank, a Krankie without a straight man.

Once a speed freak always a speed freak
{Strummer, in my expert opinion, only PASSED as a speed freak. In his heart he was totally ganja. That's the difference. And 7 years older and a public school education ha! A West London squatland white rasta laid back chill out life.
I'll chill when I'm in the MORTUARY!

{I never did like The Clash. always thought they were - at base and upfront - utterly fraudulent in the same way McLaren's attempt to MAO down The New York Dolls was ...

Calm down.
Recommend something. You know you like doing that. (You think it'll make people think you're a serious archivist.)
OK. I recommend, I highly HIGHly recommend you read Mary Woronov's fantastic 'memoir' swimming underground · my years in the warhol factory {which gives memoirs a good name} [Serpents Tail 1995] - and esp. the "Mole People" chapters.


Wheel Me Out

I'm rollin on these wheels
I'm really in the mood today
I'm a former music critic
Now I'm a realist

Now I'm next
And I'm next
Andy's next
Andy andy andy andy did it you!
And me and you and them and us
REAL me out
REAL me out
REAL me in

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 12:41:00 PM
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Andy's amphetamine gorgons: they didn't need records: they 'scratched' themselves. Mulitple Personality Disorder. Magnificently de trop and subterranean: the 'mole people'.

Whereas all the DJs and Big Brother people and walking Glastonburied are depressingly NOTHING NOWHERE NORMAL NATURAL shiny happy empty. I find it truly mind boggling, if you want to think about it for a second, that in however many weeks days hours it has been, not ONE of the Big Brother people has said a SINGLE interesting or controversial or off-menu thing. Not one. Not ONE.

VOTE me out!

Think about that.
We are a country that just went to war this year ...
They weren't warned off certain subjects a priori contractually were they, do you think? Anything DAVINA or GRAHAM or DERMOT wouldn't be able to handle or make a slick one liner or readymade headline out of?

And how does this work?
If there was another 9/11 say - would the plug be instantly pulled, just like that? I mean - it came awfully close to being the case that Big Brother overlapped with the War. And from a certain P.O.V. you might say that they raced into it with rather indecent haste. One more example of the utter fatuity of that 9/11 chestnut that FROM NOW ON EVERYTHING WILL BE DIFFERENT. Gravitas, now. All that old tut. LAST FEW DAYS of blatant trivia . . .yeah, right. What would they fill all that blank space and dead air with?

{They're pushed as it is. It's really eye-opening to go on holiday or otherwise go without yr daily Guardian and Observer and so on; and then you open one up after your time off - oh, here's an article on how all the b list celebs are drinking, uh, bottled water and,uh, what your choice of bottled water "says about you"; the Guardian's annual obligatory 'Let's send an egghead or politco to the Fashion Shows' article; . My god and all those lame columnists! Has ANYONE ever read Alexander Chancellor or Barbara Ellen? Or - to put it another way: has anyone EVER read them a SECOND time?}

I guess only women in cages can play down
The things they lose . . .

So, yes, the housemates in their gilded sensory deprivation cage, deprived of the oxy-gen of pointless information.
Is there a sliding scale?
A Bin Laden impersonator upstaging the Royal Family - obviously, no.
What if he'd ben a real fake, and one or several of them had bin terminally FATWAH'd away?
A state of multiple DIANA in other words?

They way things are going - they could have leapt in to do a MOBILE PHONE link-up viewer poll so that we could vote one of the remaining household to be KING OR QUEEN of Blairland, nice sleepy FAIRland where you have more power over whether a scouser or a slapper or a perma sleeper gets to be in Hello! than whether we go to war or join Europe.

New Labour - sponsored by Big Brother!


Is there a sliding scale?
Don't interrupt the Brothers + Sisters, unless . . .

A bad case of DIANA - well, obviously, yes. But something like Mags or the Queen Mother - no real need to disturb them, really. All a bit 'so what?' But what if Davina miscarried? ("Who's coming out this week!!? - Uh? Oh - no ...") What if Prime Minister Alastair Campbell disappeared up his own arse - PUH-schlooop! - and the government fell?
Is there a secret Big Brother Grey Book do you think, to cover such sticky eventualities?
Have they checked and double checked (for instance) that no one 'in the house' has relatives in the Forces; or no friends/relatives who work in high buildings round the globe?

{Jeez, this year's Big Brother must be mind addlingly boring. I'm starting to pursue JON-like areas of speculation: I'm enJONed, I'm JONsing ...}

Will you still have a song to sing
When the Razor Boy comes
and takes your fancy things away?
Will you still be singin' it
on that cold and windy day?

Was 'E' then the quintessential {post-} Andy drug?
Wow. Gosh. Neat.
Isn't this fab-u-lous?
Oh wow. I think I might paint the Smiley man's portrait.(I wonder who gets the royalties on that. Mmm. Wow.)
Not threateningly psychedelic, more like a censored DVD of the psychedelic experience. LSD cut with social politesse. Wow. Gosh. Flashing lights: what a swell idea. And that repetitive beat: that's such a good idea. So economical. And I like the idea of the DJ being a star. They're so nothing. They do so little but they can charge what they want. That's so cool. They probably get WAY more money than the people who sang and stuff, on the records. That's very me, don't you think?

E. . .xcept for all that sweaty touchy feely stuff. Hugs aren't a good idea, I don't think. You should hug at home if that's what you want to do. Hugging in public seems awfully hippyish, or group therapy, or junior school to me. Hugs aren't anything, are they? Not love, and not sex. And I would feel funny about not knowing if they were hugging ME, or hugging the drug me: I'd worry about that all night I think.

{Cameron being told he was off to South Africa. Wha-ow! Gush! OH! You mean - in an EERO plane? In the big blue SKI? Wow. Sooth Africay - where all the Lion Kings they do live? Oh Mummy!}

I guess ultimately what depresses me most about myself is that I am insufficiently Andy like. I am not Warholian enough, for my liking, not modern man machine or post blase enough to NOT CARE. To uncritically embrace it all wow gosh cool.

I still get agitated, perplexed - I wouldn't actually say 'depressed', that's not true - but something like Glastonbury irks and niggles me, still, in a way I wish it didn't. I really do wish it didn't. And I still, desite everything, tend to think along value system lines. That 'x' IS better than 'y' ...

But, you know, once a sha'mon motherfucka quasi-Leninist speed freak punk ayatollah intolerance-is-a-virtue social critic ...
{maybe ... if I'd just had TWO Catholic parents instead of one Catholic and one Protestant ...

Could you P-L-E-A-S-E knock me off my feet, for a while?
P-L-E-A-S-E knock me off my feet for a while . . .
'Cos there's a GALAXY OF EMPTINESS tonight
A whole GALAXY OF EMPTINESS tonight ...
Still, I've been FIGHTING ALL WEEK tho' I don't know what for . . .

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 11:52:00 AM
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{Re Sylvian and Japan:
As far as greatest moments go . . .
What about the "Quiet Life" 45?
or the "Art of Parties" 12"?
And where the hell mouth do Soft Cell fit into all this? {"Numbers"? Great 45!

+ ---- -

Today I have been mostly wearing white chinos and a black black black Andy-tribute t shirt, caption: HUGE FUCKIN' PROBLEM

THIS WEEKS OBJECTS of vicious scorn impatience and class war contempt:
Tim bloody Henmania adepts w/ thr bloody union-jack facepaint and their oh so whacky humor including can you fucking stand it will you fucking credit it JESTER hats and thr BLOODY union jack throws + capes + their 'C'mon Tim!' and applauding the opponents mistakes or slips or bad luck near misses and screaming hallejeebies hysteria when the poor Other double faults as if this were somehow Henman's doing {I single this out for particular contempt} - and their OH! when Henman drops a point as if it were an instance of arrant cosmic unfairness rather than a simple human mistake I hate them I hate them I hate them and I finally GET tennis and start to enjoy it and have to sit through this nasty tainted screaming chauvinist triumphalism I mean let's call SCUM SCUM when it comes to - as it did tonight - actually BOOing good points from Henman's opponent and yelling false calls to throw him off - oh, but these are TENNIS fans, they're middle class - THEY CAN'T be YOBS can they? but this is REALLY scum-like behaviour by any classification but of course no comment frm the commentary box because this is All England ra ra at its best but personally I can only watch any Henman game with the SOUND OFF it's reached such a state of unpleasantness ...

My favourite WEST WING character and role model - Toby Ziegler - revealed in tonite's episode that he is exactly the same age as me. (Maybe a year older.)

And 2, I'd forgotten this, but when he was alive me and Andy Warhol shared a birthday. (Me, Andy Warhol and Bob Mitchum: not bad astrological company, eh?)


... and how great is it that you look at the cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico producd by ANDY WARHOL and there's the 'produced by' and the big colour projections and then, right there at the bottom it says it quite clearly:

(registered)(copyright) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

as if the whole thing were indeed a Warhol conceived movie rather than a music biz tended release.

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 11:47:00 AM
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PLAYBOY Besides being a singer, a poet and now a film maker, you've also been called a visionary. Do you recall any visionary experiences while you were growing up?

DYLAN: I had some amazing projections when I was a kid, but not since then. And those visions have been strong enough to keep me going through today.

PLAYBOY: What were those visions like?

DYLAN: They were a feeling of wonder. I projected myself toward what I might personally, humanly do in terms of creating any kinds of reality. I was born in, grew up in a place so foreign that you had to be there to picture it.

PLAYBOY: Are you talking about Hibbing, Minnesota?

DYLAN: It was all in upper Minnesota.

PLAYBOY: What was the quality of those visionary experiences?

DYLAN: Well, in the winter, everything was still, nothing moved. Eight months of that. You can put it together. You can have some amazing hallucinogenic experiences doing nothing but looking out your window. There is also the summer, when it gets hot and sticky and the air is very metallic. There is a lot of Indian spirit. The earth there is unusual, filled with ore. So there is something happening that is hard to define. There is a magnetic attraction there. Maybe thousands and thousands of years ago, some planet bumped into the land there. There is a great spiritual quality throughout the Midwest. Very subtle, very strong, and that is where I grew up. New York was a dream.


PLAYBOY: Why do you say it was the last go-round?

DYLAN: I don't think it happened after that. I think it finished, New York died after that, late to middle Sixties.

PLAYBOY: What killed it?

DYLAN: Mass communication killed it. It turned into one big carnival side show. That is what I sensed and I got out of there when it was just starting to happen. The atmosphere changed from one of creativity and isolation to one where the attention would be turned more to the show. People were reading about themselves and believing it.

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 11:39:00 AM
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PLAYBOY: When you hear your songs in your mind, it's not just you strumming alone, you mean?

DYLAN: Well, no, it is to begin with. But then I always hear other instruments, how they should sound. The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That's my particular sound. I haven't been able to succeed in getting it all the time. Mostly, I've been driving at a combination of guitar, harmonica and organ, but now I find myself going into territory that has more percussion in it and [pause] rhythms of the soul.

PLAYBOY: Was that wild mercury sound in I Want You?

DYLAN: Yeah, it was in I Want You. It was in a lot of that stuff. It was in the album before that, too.

[...] The top ten was filled with that kind of sound - the Beatles, too - and it was exciting, those days were exciting. It was the sound of the streets. It still is. I symbolically hear that sound wherever I am.

PLAYBOY: You hear the sound of the street?

DYLAN: That ethereal twilight light, you know. It's the sound of the street with the sunrays, the sun shining down at a particular time, on a particular type of building. A particular type of people walking on a particular type of street. It's an outdoor sound that drifts even into open windows that you can hear. The sound of bells and distant railroad trains and arguments in apartments and the clinking of silverware and knives and forks and beating with leather straps. It's all - it's all there. Just lack of a jackhammer, you know.

PLAYBOY: You mean if a jackhammer were-

DYLAN: Yeah, no jackhammer sounds, no airplane sounds. All pretty natural sounds. It's water, you know water trickling down a brook. It's light flowing through the…

PLAYBOY: Late-afternoon light?

DYLAN: No, usually it's the crack of dawn. Music filters out to me in the crack of dawn.

PLAYBOY: The "jingle jangle morning"?

DYLAN: Right.

PLAYBOY: After being up all night?

DYLAN: Sometimes. You get a little spacy when you've been up all night, so you don't really have the power to form it. But that's the sound I'm trying to get across. I'm not just up there re-creating old blues tunes or trying to invent some surrealistic rhapsody.

PLAYBOY: It's the sound that you want.

DYLAN: Yeah, it's the sound and the words. Words don't interfere with it. They – they - punctuate it. You know, they give it purpose. [Pause] And all the ideas for my songs, all the influences, all come out of that. All the influences, all the feelings, all the ideas come from that. I'm not doing it
to see how good I can sound, or how perfect the melody can be, or how intricate the details can be woven or how perfectly written something can be. I don't care about those things.

PLAYBOY: The sound is that compelling to you?

DYLAN: Mmm-hnh


DYLAN […] I don't know, maybe I am just an old dog, so maybe I feel like I've been around so long I am looking for something new to do and it ain't there. I was looking for some space to create what I want to do. I am only interested in that these days. I don't care so much about hanging out.

PLAYBOY: Do you feel older than when you sang, "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now"?

DYLAN: No, I don't feel old. I don't feel old at all. But I feel like there are certain things that don't attract me anymore that I used to succumb to very easily.

PLAYBOY: Such as?

DYLAN: Just the everyday vices.

PLAYBOY: Do you think that you have managed to resist having to grow up or have you found a way of doing it that is different from conventional growing up?

DYLAN: I don't really think in terms of growing up or not growing up. I think in terms of being able to fulfill yourself. Don't forget, you see, I've been doing what I've been doing since I was very small, so I have never known anything else. I have never had to quit my job to do this. This is all that I have ever done in my life. So I don't think in terms of economics or status or what people think of me one way or the other.


PLAYBOY: What about your literary influences? You've mentioned Kerouac and Ginsberg. Whom do you read now?

DYLAN: Rilke. Chekhov. Chekhov is my favorite writer. I like Henry Miller. I think he's the greatest American writer.

PLAYBOY: Did you meet Miller?

DYLAN: Yeah, I met him. Years ago. Played ping-pong with him.


DYLAN:[…] Clara represents to Renaldo everything in the material world he's ever wanted. Renaldo's needs are few. He doesn't know it, though, at that particular time.

PLAYBOY: What are his needs?

DYLAN: A good guitar and a dark street.

PLAYBOY: The guitar because he loves music, but why the dark street?

DYLAN: Mostly because he needs to hide.

PLAYBOY: From whom?

DYLAN: From the demon within. [Pause] But what we all know is that you can't hide on a dark street from the demon within. And there's our movie…

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 11:37:00 AM
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PLAYBOY: Do you feel you use colors in the same way you use notes or chords?

DYLAN: Oh, yeah. There's much information you could get on the meaning of colors. Every color has a certain mood and feeling. For instance, red is a very vital color. There're a lot of reds in this movie, a lot of blues. A lot of cobalt blue.

PLAYBOY: Why cobalt blue?

DYLAN: It's the color of dissension.

PLAYBOY: Did you study painting?

DYLAN: A lot of the ideas I have were influenced by an old man who had definite ideas on life and the universe and nature - all that matters.

PLAYBOY: Who was he?

DYLAN: Just an old man. His name wouldn't mean anything to you. He came to this country from Russia in the Twenties, started out as a boxer and ended up painting portraits of women.

PLAYBOY: You don't want to mention his name, just to give him a plug?

DYLAN: His first name was Norman. Every time I mention somebody's name, it's like they get a tremendous amount of distraction and irrelevancy in their lives. For instance, there's this lady in L.A. I respect a lot who reads palms. Her name's Tamara Rand. She's for real, she's not a gypsy fortuneteller. But she's accurate! She'll take a look at your hand and tell you things you feel but don't really understand about where you're heading, what the future looks like. She's a surprisingly hopeful person.

PLAYBOY: Are you sure you want to know if there's bad news in your future?

DYLAN: Well, sometimes when the world falls on your head, you know there are ways to get out, but you want to know which way. Usually, there's someone who can tell you how to crawl out, which way to take.

PLAYBOY: Getting back to colors and chords, are there particular musical keys that have personalities or moods the way colors do for you?

DYLAN: Yeah. B major and B-flat major.

PLAYBOY: How would you describe them?

DYLAN: (Pause) Each one is hard to define. Assume the characteristic that is true of both of them and you'll find you're not sure whether you're speaking to them or to their echo.

PLAYBOY: What does a major key generally conjure up for you?

DYLAN: I think any major key deals with romance.

PLAYBOY: And the minor keys?

DYLAN: The supernatural.


PLAYBOY: Someone said that when you gave up cigarettes, your voice changed. Now we see you're smoking again. Is your voice getting huskier again?

DYLAN: No, you know, you can do anything with your voice if you put your mind to it. I mean, you can become a ventriloquist or you can become an imitator of other people's voices. I'm usually just stuck with my own voice. I can do a few other people's voices.

PLAYBOY: Whose voices can you imitate?

DYLAN: Richard Widmark. Sydney Greenstreet. Peter Lorre. I like those voices. They really had distinctive voices in the early talkie films. Nowadays, you go to a movie and you can't tell one voice from the other. Jane Fonda sounds like Tatum O'Neal.


PLAYBOY: So if the women in your songs have become more real, if there are fewer goddesses -

DYLAN: The goddess isn't real. A pretty woman as a goddess is just up there on a pedestal. The flower is what we are really concerned about here. The opening and the closing, the growth, the bafflement. You don't lust after flowers.

PLAYBOY: Your regard for women, then, has changed?

DYLAN: People are people to me. I don't single out women as anything to get hung up about.

PLAYBOY: But in the past?

DYLAN: In the past, I was guilty of that shameless crime.

PLAYBOY: You're claiming to be completely rehabilitated?

DYLAN: In that area, I don't have any serious problems.

PLAYBOY: There's a line in your film in which someone says to Sara, "I need you because I need your magic to protect me.

DYLAN: Well, the real magic of women is that throughout the ages, they've had to do all the work and yet they can have a sense of humor.


PLAYBOY: When you think about rock and the rhythm of the heartbeat is it tied into love in some way?

DYLAN: The heartbeat. Have you ever lain with somebody when your hearts were beating in the same rhythm? That's true love. A man and a woman who lie down with their hearts beating together are truly lucky. Then you've truly been in love, m' boy. Yeah, that's true love. You might see that person once a month, once a year, maybe once a lifetime, but you have the guarantee your lives are going to be in rhythm. That's all you need.

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 11:33:00 AM
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PLAYBOY: Are there any heroes or saints these days?

DYLAN: A saint is a person who gives of himself totally and freely, without strings. He is neither deaf nor blind. And yet he's both. He's the master of his own reality, the voice of simplicity. The trick is to stay away from mirror images. The only true mirrors are puddles of water.

PLAYBOY: How are mirrors different from puddles?

DYLAN: The image you see in a puddle of water is consumed by depth: An image you see when you look into a piece of glass has no depth or life-flutter movement. Of course, you might want to check your tie. And, of course, you might want to see if the make-up is on straight.


PLAYBOY: We asked about heroes and saints and began talking about saints How about heroes?

DYLAN: A hero is anyone who walks to his own drummer.

PLAYBOY: Shouldn't people look to others to be heroes?

DYLAN: No; when people look to other for heroism, they're looking for heroism in an imaginary character.

PLAYBOY: Maybe that in part explains why many seized upon you as that imaginary character.

DYLAN: I'm not an imaginary character, though.


PLAYBOY: You say you don't feel Jewish. But what about your sense of God?

DYLAN: I feel a heartfelt God. I don't particularly think that God wants me thinking about Him all the time. I think that would be a tremendous burden on Him, you know. He's got enough people asking Him for favors. He's got enough people asking Him to pull strings. I'll pull my own strings, you
know. I remember seeing a Time magazine on an airplane a few years back and it had a big cover headline, "IS GOD DEAD?" I mean, that was - would you think that was a responsible thing to do? What does God think of that? I mean, if you were God, how would you like to see that written about yourself?


PLAYBOY: What do you think is beyond ?

DYLAN: You mean, what do I think is in the great unknown? [Pause] Sounds, echoes of laughter.

PLAYBOY: Do you feel there's some sense of karmic balance in the universe, that you suffer for acts of bad faith?

DYLAN: Of course. I. think everybody knows that's true. After you've lived long enough, you realize that's the case. You can get away with anything for a while. But it's like Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart or Dostoievsky's Crime and Punishment: Somewhere along the line, sooner or later, you're going to have to pay.

PLAYBOY: Do you feel you've paid for what you got away with earlier?

DYLAN: Right now, I'm about even.

PLAYBOY: Isn't that what you said after your motorcycle accident - "Something had to be evened up"?


PLAYBOY: And you meant. . . ?

DYLAN: I meant my back wheel had to be aligned. [Laughter]


PLAYBOY: Could it be there's an undiscovered twin or a double to Bob Dylan?

DYLAN: Someplace on the planet, there's a double of me walking around. Could very possibly be.

PLAYBOY: Any messages for your double?

DYLAN: Love will conquer everything - I suppose.

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 11:28:00 AM
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EXCERPT from an issue of ROLLING STONE, August 1, 1974

“ […]
The wiretaps in question started soon after the Times reported on May 9th, , 1969, that American B-52s were secretly bombing Cambodia. The fact that high explosives were raining down from the sky had been no secret to anyone in Southeast Asia or the Soviet Union – only the American people had not been told of a holocaust being carried out in their name. The United States was illegally committing acts of war against an avowedly neutral country.

frm: The Case Against Kissinger by John D. Marks

- ---- +


“ […]
“What I’m concerned with is the presentation of reality,” says Korine.

“I want to present my films as real and organic, while, simultaneously, I’m actually manipulating everythng you see. [Gummo might look in places like fly-on-the-wall documentary, but it was mapped out, scene by scene, though more as a montage than as a linear narrative.] I want people to feel like the images fell out of the sky. Ultimately, I’m a trickster.”

His employment of non-actors in Gummo, particularly the casting of a Down’s Syndrome sufferer in the role of a retarded teenage prostitute, led to inevitable accusations of exploitation. “I think that notion is, of itself, ridiculous,” says Korine. “For a start, it suggests that people with handicaps are too stupid to know what a movie is. Is it exploitation to use someone with an illness to play someone with an illness? Or is it exploitation to get Dustin Hoffmann or Tom Hanks to fake it? I mean, you won’t see any slobber on Tom Hank’s face, no blood or shit on his underpants. What you will see is the lovable Hollywood-style eccentric schizophrenic, all exaggerated ticks and twists. That’s real exploitation. That’s real ego.”

“It would have been so easy to be sleazy,” he grins, “but it’s much more challenging to set that up and then go off in the opposite direction. People never credit me for that, because they’re too busy complying with the ongoing Gumpification of cinema and of life. America simply isn’t ready for realism. It wants the simple message spelled out in big letters. When I read the critics’ line that there is no morality in my films, I think, ‘Where do these people live?’ Where I come from, people do not pay for their sins in an obvious way, and people do get away with doing bad stuff. Plus, morality is relative, anyway. What’s bad to you and me might not be bad to a kid trapped in a violent family in a dead-end town. If your father beats up on your mother every night and you witness that from a very early age, you can get inured to the pain and suffering, and then start to think, ‘This is how things are.’ If that’s how you’re raised, what’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you get married at 18?”

from: Sean O’Hagan article on HK, Guardian Weekend, March 13, 1999

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 11:25:00 AM
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“ […]

Q: You’ve said that the working class are usually morons. If so, why? Is this a particularly British ailment or a universal truth?

A: The working class tend to be morons because the education system in a “democracy” seeks to level rather than inspire excellence.
[…] In a democracy every child is told the world is his oyster; he gets out of school, isn’t fit to do anything better than work on a building site and gets envious of the people he sees on TV. That’s where crime comes from, and alcoholism – stupid people getting desperate and thinking thy’ve been done out of their rightful destiny.

The American working class is definitely the most moronic in the world. Look at your heroin statistics and your murder statistics. It’s pathetic, you’re a real mess. If Russia invaded you they’d be doing you a favour. They’d knock you into shape in no time. “Democracy” is not an end in itself, you know. You have a “free” media; and it also happens to be the most inane, trivial media in the world. A lot of your cretinism must be blamed on your media. Your memories are pathetic; I read recently of a group of schoolchildren in Texas who, when asked who was shot in Dallas in 1963, replied “J.R.”

You Americans think that fiction is fact and that fact is a Communist plot. You are pathetically powerless and apolitical; 53% of your population voted in the last election. Your blacks and your youth have realized what a big lie your “freedom” is and have revolted by blanking themselves out. When I see Americans protesting about the Vietnam war, all that old film, I can’t believe they are Americans. They look so thin and intelligent and classy.

Your unions reflect your political void. They’re just gangsters who worship money, miniatures in the image of your president. Over here, the working man via his union can monitor and even veto a Government that goes too far. THAT’S democracy. It’s a fact that your country’s citizens own more firearms than NATO does. They try to make up for political powerlessness by waving a gun at someone, and through nationalistic chauvinism. Your country is one big seething mass of vacant ciphers. The least moronic proletariats in the world can be found in Scandanavia, France and Italy – countries where, coincidently, “America” ceased to be a myth of an influence long ago.

New York “punk” was an influence at the start – but the minute Rotten emerged and people realized just how great and just how English he was – that’s the minute Americans became figures of fun. Patti Smith, Ramones, Television – they seemed pathetic, like people you should offer to help across the road. Only Debbie Harry was respected; for surviving drugs so beautifully, for not pretending to like French poets. [This is] the first generation which doesn’t look to America for glamour and myth and entertainment – all you’ve got to offer them are The Knack and Meryl Streep, and they’re not interested. Your whole populace seems to be 35 years old.

Q: You’ve suggested that Mankind breed itself out. Do you believe that that’s a realistic solution?

A: It’s ideal but not realistic. However, I do believe that each person should be allowed only one child. In East Germany they have zero population growth, so it’s not impossible. You can protest with words like “freedom” and “liberty” – but “freedom” to havelots of children over here only means that lots of children are going to starve to death on the other side of the world. It’s all one world, yet white Western people don’t seem to care how many African children die as long as they can have that extra darling little white baby over here

Most “freedoms” that the West shouts about are just greed, one-up-manship, “I want”. “Freedom” has become a really filthy word in the West – it’s started to mean “I did it my way – fuck everyone else.”

The world used to let America get away wth a lot of wrongs because once in a while it would produce a human being – Bobby Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King – who seemed to transcend the species. You can’t do that now and Europe won’t let you bully the world anymore.
The only hope for American politics is for black Americans to become angry activists again, instead of defeated criminals.

Postal ‘interview’ by Iman Labebedi, East Village Eye, Summer 1981.

posted by Ian 7/10/2003 11:21:00 AM

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This is all so much more serious than what version of which hypothesis Alistair Campbell read at what date.

{Not that that isn't serious: if the government were indeed operating solely on hypotheses rather than some breakthrough set of FACTS – then why the RUSH?
{And I agree that journalists chipping away at these things may unearth some Watergate style document that blows the thing apart.
But it does feel right now that the press/media coverage is like an autistic child who keeps rubbing their finger over and over and over this one little bit of fascinating grain on a favourite twig, and cannot see the uncanny hugeness of the dark forest looming behind it ...

There may have been new testaments and conjoined or collaged versions - this is admitted, just - but the Government is currently reacting with alacrity to being questioned on these matters {like: can't you just SHUT UP and do your job of being mainstream PR for us like the craven US press, guys?}, like, how do you DARE to quibble with these things because after all they are all things which issue from the lap of the ONE TRUE FAITH, oh Praise be to St Tone.

And now we find out that the US had a secret [WMD monitoring] unit all along in Iraq with the most hi-tech surveillance gear available, the best and most advanced of its kind; and that this was even stationed pre-war [!], long before war, during it and indeed they are still beavering away, looking, listening, x raying, eavesdropping, and relax folks because there is no form of monitoring more advanced. Technology you can’t imagine. (Although we have hints – such as how they supposedly knew where Saddam and his gang were at all hours of the day; just like the Israelis know where members of Hamas are so they can launch US financed rockets at them and oh, what's a little collateral damage when it's just aftr all a few wog babies ...?)

Bu STILL no material evidence: not a shred!
Not a scrape, or scratch or dropped screw from a hastily ‘looted’ shelf! Not a skull n crossbones label or shard of dark glass!


Then too there is the question of Bush’s recent and outrageously casual statement along the lines of ‘We may well find the WMDs have been looted...’

This strikes one as an OUTRAGEOUS slip! I mean: think about ALL this IMPLIES! Monstrous implications! But it’s just been left to float around out there like, oh so what and who can be bothered so follow up another Dubya cock-up . . . when in reality {Bush - reality - in the same sentence!} it's a bit like saying: it may even be the weapons weren’t even loaded. Or they were actually TOY weapons it nwo turns out - Uday bought 'em at Disney world in Paris! God, shucks, the EGG on our faces! Me and Condy and Al - how we blushed! Ah heck! Who knows? Who cares?

Sorry: MAY have? MAY have? They don’t know – one way or the other? With all that paradigmatic hi tech monitoring?

And if they were looted (by whom? to where?) their equipment didn’t register a single odd movement or unexpected convoy or ANYTHING?

And he said it in such an offhand wot-me-worry way.
Like: that’s that then.
Oh well.
Ho hum.

And what makes Bush’s pronouncement all the more dodgy was that Downing Street immediately – as they say – moved to distance itself from it, all but publically said 'No, we have to draw a line and outright DISAGREE here George, I mean, play the game old chap, our public isn't QUITE AS DUMB AS YOURS – I mean, we even still have a this damned bloody pesky FREE PRESS here which might pick up on a clanger like that, and, frankly old man, then where would we be! Before you know it we’d be knee deep in the TRUTH about the war being one big election rally for the Bush Family Co. or a bribe to Israel or a warning to other oil states or whatever the hell it actually was! I mean, George, er, that’s another thing – you DID say you were going to tell Tony a ways down the line why we WERE actually rushing pell mell into this and while we’re on the subject what about that RECONSTRUCTION plan you said CONDY had up her sleeve? It, uh, that, um, doesn't seem to have ...'

The weapons MAY have been looted?
It’s that "may" that really makes your blood boil.
Just like the dodgy dossier, it's like – who cares, fuck the voters, fuck democaracy, we all know that's a laughable myth, we're all running our countries according to a secret programme of TOTAL WAR now, and we'll goddman only tell you what you "need" to know, so for the time being I can say what I like. I could claim that Mickey Mouse or The Incredible Hulk or Charlies Angels or our Bush Family mascot Harvey the giant rabbit took 'em for all the diff it makes!

It’s like you've been robbed and a policeman takes a look at the crime scene and then says – 'Frankly, we’re never going to get your beloved items back, sir. You know, it may have been a robber, it may have been a terrorist, it – who cares?

But you're the self proclaimed POLCIEMAN OF THE WORLD! You have the best hi tech thief nabbing equipment on the globe! You have the resources the numbers … and you've got nothing, NO leads? Why do I get the feeling you’re jerking me right off here? I mean, I happen to KNOW you had 3 policeman outside my house at the time this all happened. With hi tech gear and cameras and everything ...

Yeah, but they didn't see anything, sir. With RESPECT. We think these guys may have been uh [scratches head, consults with press spokeswoman] INVISIBLE. Uh, yeah. There were reports of a magic carpet at the time. You know these Arab type guys - uh - they're slippy ... and, you know, it's difficult to see in the dark for our guys. The robbers they, hey, just, uh, melted away.

But they would have been carrying HUGE sacks of...

Oh come now sir: looted, robbed, spirited away ... mislaid ... who's to say WHAT the "truth" is here mmm?
And after all SIR - is that a CD of Middle Eastern music on your shelf? - we’ve only got YOUR word for it you were robbed at all. Maybe you stashed them in your garden and forgot about it, mm? Or in a garden in some other part of London? Maybe you LET yourself be robbed - as, ah, some kind of wrong-headed Guardian reading "gesture" of solidarity with our camel riding brethren? Maybe you robbed yourself comes down to it: hwo the hell do we know what happened? Maybe you sold all this stuff on E Bay, in which case we wouldn’t even be able to track them -
{PR's sotto voce murmur: 'Sir, with respect, that’s not how the Internet works...' 'Really? But I thought they sort of went down the line and -' 'No, sir, that would be against the laws of physics...'}

+ ---- -

Unfortunately for Campbell et al our press thankfully isnt yet as aquiescent and ethically DEAD as the mainstream US press which has simply given up and become an arm of the government (in distinctly pre-9/11 marked contrast to the death-by-trivia and insinuation and misogyny they handed out to the Clinton administration... which, don't get me wrong, I'm hardly a cheerleader for THAT careerist clown either ...)

Blair ran this on the promise that all would be revealed AT A LATER DATE: once the war was done. Can't right now - sensitive information, and all that.
And now we’re waiting.
Submitting the occasional polite request.
Only to be met by the gorgon-headed Campbell, like some scarey starey care-in-the-community failure, stopping us from getting into the newsagents. Blocking our every feint and polite mumble, swearing and puffing out his chest and doing a little diversionary jig interspersed with random SHOUTS saying GET AWAY TO FUCK WI YE! This is MY newspaper SHIP!

So: has it been canny, or a fuck up, the Blair/Campbell tactic?
The stress on WMD confuses the moral compass. After all it was always predicated on – We’ve given Saddam his last chance. If ONLY he would come forward now and comply then none of this would be necessary; in other words, if Saddam HAD complied, there would have been no crusade for regime change.

Let's just state THIS once and for all.
In strictly juridical unsentimental factual realpolitik terms.
This WAR was fought on that latter condition: comply with inspections, Saddam, and everything will be OK.
In other words the Bush Blair Coalition would have been happy to let Saddam and his awful tyrannical blood splattered henchman-ruled regime continue till kingdom come – even unto a new Uday - if only he had complied with their weapons-search legalities. I am not twisting things now: this is what was said. It was made quite clear: it had to be WMDs, this was INSISTED upon. With so much vehemance. The bottom line. The incontrovertible evidence underpinning it ALL.

Mr Tony argued with such certainty: I don’t care if X% of the population doesn’t agree, doesn’t want to go to war, I don’t care if there are doubters in my own Cabinet (who may even know more about this than I), I don’t care if many people think we should go slower, stall, suspend, because I KNOW BETTER. Let us not forget: THIS WAS HIS ENTIRE CASE. I know better than you: I am privvy to certain facts. I know better than you therefore I take this ethical stand, knowing the urgency of this state of affairs. He took upon himself this right, this duty and as he would see it - and wanted us to see it - this DESTINY: this is my right, this is my path. I guarantee this with my BEING – and my being alone. I take it this decision for you. BECAUSE I KNOW BETTER.
That, ultimately, was the crux here.
That certainty.
Everything came down to this: I, Tony, know better, and if I can’t tell you why right now, guys, be assured it will all come clear come with the end of the war …
Not politics, but BELIEF.
Gotta have FAITH.

posted by Ian 7/09/2003 01:00:00 PM
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Afghanistan, summer 2003: the Taliban are back.
Hit and run attacks organised by the Taliban occur almost every day; and the U.S., for all their techno superiority, can it seems do little about it. They have failed to track down Hafiz Rahim, a Taliban commander who has ambushed and killed U.S. soldiers scores of times from {WSB and Hakim Bey exegetes please note} his REDOUBT in the [Kandahar] MOUNTAINS.

Experts say the resistance movement is now four times as strong as the one that opposed Soviet invaders in the 1980s. It has plenty of cash since the Taliban looted $110m from the central bank before fleeing Kabul. And it is backed by the most powerful force in the country: clerics and religious students.
The movement is now thought so dangerous that US intelligence officials are secretly negotiating to give Talilban leaders a place in government provided they get rid of Mullah Omar as supreme leader, chuck out foreign Arab fighters and agree to work with exiles returning from the US and UK.

Syed Saleem Shahzad quoted in The Week

- ---- +

Is this necessarily and imminently also the future of Iraq?
A necessary compromise with the forces of religious intolerance?
In Baghdad, alcohol sellers have already been shot and killed, and women forced to don the veil. . .
Educated women and non-fanatical skilled workers (e.g., teachers, doctors, journalists, etc; & i.e. PRECISELY the people a reconstructed Iraq is MOST in need of) are already preparring to flee Iraq

+ ---- -

To me – and I can't be alone in this – it was PRECISELY when the war “ended” that, to me, the most pressing need emerged for an embedded press/media presence. NOW would be precisely the time surely to have blanket coverage.
But have we got it?
Have we hell!! (One predictably excellent John Sweeney documentary aside). No fucking ratings winning or award winning flipping "shock and awe" shots in THIS is there now?
{Calm down, calm down!}
Instead we have Alastair Campbell SO NIFTILY steering everyone's gaze away into narrow cul de sacs of footnote and xerox and he said she said.
I just can't believe, for instance, that they believe a simple brusque "apology" {and which, let us not forget, HAD TO BE FORCED OUT OF THEM MONTHS LATER} suffices for the fact they downloaded that out of date thesis off the Web and served it up to us as was. What degree of CONTEMPT for the populus does that show? What does it betray about the far wider question of HOW THE PROCESS was being conducted in private, and unaccountably, for months on end?
I could care less they apologise for that one 'blip'. Far more disturbing is the fact that THIS WAS THE WAY THINGS WERE BEING CONDUCTED.
But no one seems to be pursuing this.

Which, this is just ONE of the real questions which have NOTHING to do with Alastair Campbell’s fucking ego which it looks like we will be waiting till the twelfth of nevermind for a REAL answer to. . .

posted by Ian 7/09/2003 12:01:00 PM

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