Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Following up on this story, the second trial of Robert Cottage has finished and he's got two and a half years for stockpiling chemicals in his house because he thought a race war was coming and he wanted to be ready.

The news of this has been as annoyingly low-key as the reports around the time that he was originally charged, so far I've seen it on the BBC and the Guardian, and even there it's already slipped off the front page. Men with skins of darker hue have been treated far worse for far less, and only last week the wife of one of the 7/7 bombers talked about how she's been treated by British society despite the fact her husband deliberately concealed from her what he was up to, only for some papers to turn around and practically call her a lying bitch.

Even the judge sounded almost as though she was apologetic for having to sentence Cottage to prison as he was obviously such a great guy: "I am satisfied it was Cottage's views on how he put it 'the evils of uncontrolled immigration' would lead to civil war which would be imminent and inevitable." Those wacky racists huh? I can only assume that this time, the court wasn't told about his desire to kill Tony Blair. As it is, he's already served half his sentence, he's lucky that terrorism would appear to be considered a brown man's game, then the Government would have preferred to lock him up without trial.

God this is depressing.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

What, no Buddy Christ?

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Heckler and Koch UK HQ at: NSAF Ltd, Unit 3, Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham NG7 2PX

Apparently Heckler and Koch don't want anyone to know their address is NSAF Ltd, Unit 3, Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham NG7 2PX. Don't pass it on, OK?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Maybe Patrick can't help being prejudiced against the overweight, it may be a malfunctioning immune response.

However, at least Patrick is not as bad as my mother, who feeds me lots of delicious food and then complains about how fat I am. Going to the wedding helped, as we met up with some of my cousins, one of whom is reaching James Galdofini proportions, while apparently having no links with the South London mafia.

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Went to my cousin's wedding yesterday. Because I haven't seen him or most of my cousins on that side of the family for best part of a decade it's always a surprise when they stand up and make a witty speech compared to the last time I saw them when they were a sulky and inarticulate teenager.

His only problem is that now he'll be taking his beautiful bride back to his flat in Gloucester...

This morning I are be mostly laughing at ThirdGender666, a kooky site set up to convince us that gays and lesbians are bring round the apocalypse. This guy is so confused about the facts of life in his Bible (Kids! The Bible is not 'The Joy of Sex'!) that he ends up looking foolish rather than hateful.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Daily Mail in Not Scaremongering Shock

Only joking! One jazz cigarette makes you 40% more likely to go crazy bonkers. It also infects you with polonium, floods your house, kidnaps your children, signs you up to the Labour party and spoils the end of Harry Potter for you.

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We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to offer asylum in the UK to the Iraqis who have been working as translators and in other capacities for the UK armed forces.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007


You only need to watch the first two and a half minutes of this clip from Black Books. Now, imagine that instead of saying "I'm working in the bookshop next door" Manni says "I'm planning on watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip tonight." And that Fran says something like "Studio 60 ? The Aaron Sorkin show? The one being shown on More 4 tonight?" The rest of the scene plays out exactly the same way.

Run away! It's beyond awful! Even if your idea of an exciting night is a thorough rigorous testing of the adage of a 'watched pot never boils' with a variety of heat sources and containers, it's not worth wasting any time on this show. I watched half the season, then just managed to escape being pulled beyond the event horizon of it's pointlessness.

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I have resorted to lethal methods in tackling the mice that infested our kitchen -- I've even resorted to making an unholy alliance with Dr. Doom to destroy the rodent invaders.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007


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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

7th of October. Thats 07/10/07

Yep, that's when the Simpsons episode with Alan Moore airs.

8th of October. That's when Bittorent and YouTube break forever.

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How a religious affairs newspaper reporter lost his faith. [via Pandagon]

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Subconsciously or not, it's easier for the audience to laugh at the fat person if they know that the actor underneath is actually trim. Eddie Murphy in "The Nutty Professor" remakes; Julia Roberts in "America's Sweetheart"; Martin Lawrence in "Big Momma's House"... But to the overweight person sitting in the audience, the experience must be similar to a black person watching an old blackface minstrel show. When the character is presented as mean-spiritedly as Mike Myers' Fat Bastard character from the "Austin Powers" movies or scary-thin Courteney Cox-Arquette's Fat Monica from flashback episodes of "Friends," it becomes outright torture.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

And, as I read Deathly Hallows of Deathly Death-Death , I'm listening to Harry and the Potters.

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Yes, even Alan Moore is enjoying the last Harry Potter book.

Oh shut up , that's the last time I'll be able to use that joke...

So, the boxes turned up at work on Friday, with strict instructions that we weren't to open them or put the books out until Saturday, so we were stricken by existential doubt, what if we opened the boxes and the books weren't there? Still, on Friday night I slept the sleep of the just, unlike the poor sods who had to work at midnight at another library for the Potter party for the children who wanted to be the first to get the book at a minute after midnight. I heard one child, on receiving his book, turned immediately to the back page to find out what happened. Well done J.K., six hundred and six pages of work and the child is going to ignore six hundred and five of them. Mind you, in order to see how many pages my copy had I've just mini-spoiled it for myself and now know at least one of the major characters that's making it to the end of the book. Damn. Still maybe he/she has all their limbs chopped off along the way.

So we had a dozen copies of the children's edition of The Deathly Hallows and three copies of the adult version. Personally I've never seen the point of the adult versions with their deliberately boring and non-specific covers. If you are ashamed to be seen in public with a copy of the book with the cover for children then you shouldn't be reading it! And what, you think people aren't going to see the words J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter and the Final Cash-In on the boring cover of your 'adult version'? Or perhaps, has J.K. Rowling edited the adult version so that Harry is actually a smack addict who can't get it together to fight Lord Voldemort because he thinks the carpet is trying to eat him? Is Hermione unable to help him because Ron got her pregnant during the Summer holiday and she's now down the Muggle housing office?

Anyway, I've got my copy, of the Children's Edition natch, and will see if I can finish it before some insensitive bastard tells me the end (I was going to say 'ruins it for me there' but then realised that would imply that I actually care about this at-best competently written kid's story). All our copies in the Library were issued by the time we closed yesterday.

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Hurrah for the Conservative party! After beginning the slow process towards becoming a credible force in British politics for the first time in about twenty-five years there are some Tories who are happy to throw it all away.

Said one dinosaur yesterday "Really, if we can't have a policy on bringing back capital punishment for being black, flogging poofs and privatising the health service so they don't waste their time and money on poor people then what's the point of having the Tories really?"

You would have thought that, after a decade in the wilderness, chasing the votes of those few misguided idiots that vote for the BNP and UKIP, the Conservatives would realise there are more votes to be had by going in the opposite direction. But there's no fool like an old fool.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Johann Hari goes on a cruise with Neocons.

I am travelling on a bright white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, a casino - and 500 readers of the National Review. Here, the Iraq war has been "an amazing success". Global warming is not happening. The solitary black person claims, "If the Ku Klux Klan supports equal rights, then God bless them." And I have nowhere to run.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

'Hecklers' at the Royal Society of Medicine

'Hecklers' at the Royal Society of Medicine
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers
"Oh God, we've got to put up with an hour of Julie Bindel's rationalisations for her transphobia based on unreconstructed Seventies seperatist-lesbian-feminism? Can I club myself into unconsciousness with the DSM-IV first?"
"Cheer up, there's four of us, one of her, we're supposed to be mean, Evan Davis is over there, just think of it as 'Dragons Den' with better lighting."

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'Life is a Laugh' Exhibition at Gloucester Road Tube Station

'Life is a Laugh' Exhibition at Gloucester Road Tube Station
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers
I can has Panda?

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

OK, this might work...

Harry Enfield as Dirk Gently. Harry. Dirk.

The second book is a load of pish, but the first one, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency isn't too bad, though most of the funniest jokes come from the authorial voice, not any of the characters. And I probably would have gone with Richard E. Grant myself but never mind. But as Harry Enfield has spent most of the last seven years trying to make people forget he was ever funny, is he going to be any good in this?

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Anybody still playing 'Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun' out there? I've recently been playing it and seem to have run up against a brick wall. There's a level near the end where you have to capture the character Jake McNeil, which I have done. Only, when I've got him to the evac point where a subterranean APC is supposed to be waiting to evac him and so complete the level, it isn't there. Does anyone know if this is a bug and, if it is, what the fix is?

The New Game

1. Post some comments about the film The Queen . This may actually involve you getting hold of a copy of the film but it's by no means bad, so you'll have a pleasant couple of hours.
2. See how long it takes for Lorraine Grimes to find your review and, if she feels you have been unsatisfactorily complimentary to Helen Mirren's workwomanlike performance in the film, chide you for missing the point.

No, I have no idea who Ms. Grimes is either, or why she feels a need to big up Helen Mirren round the webternet but then I do Nirpal Dhaliwal Watch, so I'm definitely casting no stones here.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Aah, for the days when foreign products accidentally had names that were rude in English. Vulva- The Perfume That Smells Like Ladybits.

The EnnWiiTee has an article on the Arizona Library that's dropped Dewey and wouldn't you know it, the manager is becoming an anti-Dewey evangelist. I do wish the article spent a little less time mentioning out-dated stereotypes that don't apply anyway to the library (how long is it since most public libraries relied on card catalogues as their primary method of locating books?) and more time on how stuff is ordered, it does suggest that when books are returned they are just dumped on the first empty shelf in the relevant area, which will make looking for guide books for certain countries fun.

Actually, I would suspect that bookshops like Barnes and Noble do classify their stock so that people working in the shop can find them, what they don't do is tell the public what the classifying is, so that you just have a row of shelves with the travel books in order, so this is potentially just the spirit of Dewey without the numbers on the spine of the book.

Still daft though.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

It's the First Night of the Proms so let's turn up the music!

Hayseed Dixie - I Don't Feel Like Dancin' (yee-haw!)

Adam Freeland - We Want Your Soul (Royal Sapien mix)

Modified Toy Orchestra - A Grand Occasion.

Matmos - A Tract for Valerie Solanas (Live)

Buffalo Daughter - Peace

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

If you feel the need to have your faith in the inherent goodness of mankind kicked down a notch then this ten minute video about the infamous Milgram experiment should provide the necessary disillusionment.

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The saddest little web server.

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What The Fuck?

A judge in the U.S. has decreed that a woman who is going to be testifying against a man she is accusing of sexually assaulting her is not allowed to use the words 'rape' or 'sexual assault' in her testimony, for fear it will bias the jury against the defendant. Not surprisingly, the defence attorney is delighted.

"Trials should be based on reason and the facts and the law. Not about who can think up the most juicy terms to apply"

Unfortunately an appeal to the state Supreme Court was unsuccessful, though this might be partly because it seems that the woman's attorney can't practice law in that state.

What's next? Do we ban all evidence that someone has committed a crime from trials for fear of biasing the jury? I mean, I may be hopelessly cuddly and liberal but even I can see this is taking the piss.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Big Links/ I for one welcome our chubby overlords...

From the comments to this entry (reposted here before they drop off the bottom of my Haloscan account):

Patrick: Please God, no.

Me: Body fascist!

Patrick: Look, I don't make the rules. I just enforce them.

Jon B: No: You reinforce what society preaches by giving in to what they tell you is attractive, even though through history, the larger figure has been known to be attracted and desired. It's not a rule: It's fascism.
Of course why would anyone expect a skinny fuck like myself to know such a thing?

Dylan: I'm with you JonB. I think most men would admit to wanting a softer woman with more jiggle, if their mates weren't listening. You can't tell me this photograph isn't dead sexy. http://adipositivity.my-expressions.com/archives/9478_1745602162/237191

Patrick: Actually, that picture is hideous and I do not think I'd say otherwise if I were straight. Beyond its mere unattractiveness there is the issue of health.

You reinforce what society preaches by giving in to what they tell you is attractive

Why waste so much energy on trying to distinguish yourself physically from the masses? Just eat well and exercise regularly and worry about your insides a little (the mind and the soul). You'll find that that it was really throws people off; someone who looks like they "fit in" but as soon as they express an opinion they are immediately found to be truly different than the crowd. It's like clobbering them over the head and it is great fun.

Jon B: Actually, that picture is hideous and I do not think I'd say otherwise if I were straight. Beyond its mere unattractiveness there is the issue of health.

-Giving into society once again. You fail to realize that:
A. Obesity is not synonymous with being unhealthy. It's a risk factor, and it can worsen certain conditions. It's also been proven in many studies that while the obese have a higher risk factor, they are less likely to die from certain diseaes (As in getting Diabetes, but having a lower fatality rate while getting it).
B. If you sit around eating shit, refusing to exercise, and you're still thin, you will die before someone who is large that has a better lifestyle. Science has proven that notion on many occasions. It's what you do, not how much you weigh. What a concept. I'm so glad I don't misinterpret what the data says.
-I like distingushing myself from society. Society doesn't tell me what I find attractive, and I am not going to let it. It's amazing what you can achieve when the picture of beauty on a magazine isn't something that defines what you find alluring. You, however, proudly display your prejudice ways, and insinuate that because you find it unattractive, you can speak for the human race. Thank god that's inaccurate on your part.
I'm sorry I find curves or more attractive. Most men would agree that they are attractive, and some would also agree with me that not liking curves is closer to being less straight than liking them. I don't hate thin women, but do you honestly think everyone likes a woman like... ohh...Nicole Richie?

Why waste so much energy on trying to distinguish yourself physically from the masses? Just eat well and exercise regularly and worry about your insides a little (the mind and the soul). You'll find that that it was really throws people off; someone who looks like they "fit in" but as soon as they express an opinion they are immediately found to be truly different than the crowd. It's like clobbering them over the head and it is great fun.

- The movements aligned to this aren't demanding people eat unhealthy and not exercise. They actually ADVOCATE a healthy lifestyle.
I think you tried pulling that weight card on me when I gladly said I was a skinny fuck. Are you running out of attack points Mr. Weight Bigot?

I don't know what Patrick's issues are, quite why he's so vehement that being fat is bad or why he seems determined to sit in the corner that people are fat only because they eat too much and exercise too little and that overweight equals unhealthy, I hope he doesn't expound on that in the hearing of any rugby players or Olympic hammer-throwers.

I've been meaning to link to this post I found via the Big Fat Deal blog, which talks about how a sizeable proportion of post-teen Americans think obesity is a greater threat to public health than drink or drugs. I suspect that this is really about the perception of the plump, fat kids getting bullied at school, the cool kids smoking behind the bike sheds.

Hey there, mainstream media? JOKE’S OVER. Young people believe inhaling poison causes fewer problems than being fat. THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Then there's an article from yesterday's Times, Why I love getting to grips with a fat man. It's especially nice to see a woman talking about her love of Big Handsome Men, as on the few occasions that the mainstream media go anywhere near this area it's all about weedy men and Big Beautiful Women.

Working through comics-related links I find the Fat Wonder Woman blog, dedicated to artist's renditions of a plus-sized Wonder Woman. Some are nicer than others, and the specificity of Wonder Woman over other super-heroines seems a little odd but it's all part of the wonderful tapestry of life.

Then, finally, there's an article I came across from the Village Voice about big lesbians. A study has just been released saying that lesbians are more likely to be overweight than straight women, but as yet no-one can explain why that might be.

What I do wonder about is how, if supposedly the western world is slowly getting fatter, it's taking so long for our media to catch up. Sure, there are exceptions, from what I've heard The Gossip are are a depressingly average, almost mediocre, band, but would I even know they existed if not for their plus-sized front woman Beth Ditto, having a great year after the NME threw aside their fear of girls to make her their coolest person in rock? But the faces we see on the small and large screens are mostly gamine, is Norbit bad because it relies on the idea that a woman being fat is automatically hilarious? When are we going to have a thriller where it's the fat bloke who saves the world? When are we going to see our culture reflecting our own jowly faces and jiggling bellies back at us, rather than frantically going further in the opposite direction, if size 0 is unattainable for most people when are people going to start feeling comfortable in the bodies they're in?

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A link that's been doing the rounds at work is to a BBC report saying being a librarian is an incredibly stressful job.

Librarians are the most unhappy with their workplace, often finding their job repetitive and unchallenging, according to psychologist Saqib Saddiq. He will tell the British Psychological Society that one in three workers suffer from poor psychological health. The study surveyed nearly 300 people drawn from five occupations. They were firefighters, police officers, train operators, teachers and librarians and were intended to cover the spectrum, with the librarians first-thought to be the least stressful occupation.

It's not been a bed of roses, I've commented here on the odd occasion about difficult and sometimes scary situations I've been in that are job-related. I am surprised that librarians are worse off than police officers or fire-fighters, I can only assume that those two careers have better medical and psychological support for their members or that they looked at librarians in the worst parts of Glasgow and police officers in somewhere like Sandford. However, libraries can end up in the middle of sink estates and staff can, without any training at all, can be sent to work in them, I've not been in the situation of me or the staff I work with being attacked but once or twice it seemed like a real possibility. Police patrolling the same area have had training on how to deal with dangerous situations.

Librarians complained about their physical environment, saying they were sick of being stuck between book shelves all day, as well as claiming their skills were not used and how little control they felt they had over their career.

There's a lot of old library buildings out there. Horrible strip-lighting that does your head in and makes your eyes ache, staff areas which are often cramped and just on this side of being unsanitary... it all adds up.

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Click here if you lurrrrve Alastair Campbell

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Unhinged? Deranged? Who is behind The Tony Blair blog? All about Tony Blair in one blog!


What's inside Red Bull. Not as bad for you as Coca-Cola, but the whole 'wings' stuff is seriously over-rated. Not a suprise as I've been drinking it for years and my feet have remained firmly on the ground. I can't speak for my mind but that's a different mental problem...

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Talking Points Memo have discovered a new bit of Fox-lunacy.

Because some of the people involved in the crap terrorist activity of the last few weeks in the U.K. were Doctors in the N.H.S, universal healthcare in the U.S. would become a gateway for terrorism in the United States!

Here, here, here...

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

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"It makes sense that if you have lawless gay people that they would do this sort of thing."

That's the special kind of sense that only lives in Bill O'Reilly's head. This clip has been making the rounds because of it being Fox News insanity at it's very finest.

Seriously, how the hell is The Half-Hour News Hour supposed to compete with this?

Dykes beat up young women to recruit and indoctrinate them into their gangs. Using pink pistols, supposedly.

As Pandagon points out, it's all about the hate crimes legislation.

(Sadly I can't find a picture that I had as a teenager of Kathleen Hanna (IIRC) with a big fuck-off gun to illustrate this with)

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Nirpal Dhaliwal - Watch Special Update

Oh this is fantastic! Nirpal claims he and Liz are stepping out again, Liz says they haven't even talked on the phone. A few more months of this and Nirps will probably start hallucinating that he's in The Fisher King.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

One of those things that Patrick will dismiss...

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

It's funny because it refers to topical events in a satirical manner!

In a move that supporters say shows sensitivity and compassion, President Bush today commuted the sentence of the planet Pluto, which was demoted to a "dwarf planet" by the International Astronomical Union in August of 2006.
[via Science Blogs]

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Nirpal Dhaliwal - Watch Special Update

Nirpal Dhaliwal claims he and Liz Jones are dating again. More on this story as we get it...

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Music Blah Flowers - What I Have The Recently Added on my iPod Edition.

Bought this when it first came out, came across the single the other day, on it goes!

It's actually 'Are You Experienced?' but all you get on YouTube is guitarists showing you their licks, so I'll make do with the Battlestar Galactica song. Heh heh...

Have I mentioned I'm having a bit of a Boo Radleys thing this year? Personally I blame Phonogram but whilst rumaging in an Oxfam shop near Angel tube station I found a copy of Kingsize which then encouraged me to load Martin Carr's anti-New Labour solo album Advertisements For Myself onto the Pod and buy a copy of Giant Steps which has the above track 'Lazarus' and, it seems, Sice with hair!

The weird thing is, The Bad Seeds bore the pants off me. I do remember that several times I did try to get into their music and found the sound of paint drying a more interesting aural experience, it was so tedious that I can't actually recall which albums I tried but Grinderman is their first project that I enjoy. Warren Ellis gets annoyed when he's mistaken for Warren Ellis though. As well he might.

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At least someone is upset by Tony Blair's departure...

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Online Dating

Shitting fuck-cock!

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Anyone speak Portuguese? I've found canal*MOTOBOY, which looks like a very interesting photoblog by motorcyclists in São Paulo, but am hindered more than a tad by my poor language skills. There's a bit more information here, which is where I found the first link. I've also been looking at some of the corredor -running videos on YouTube. [via The Abaporu Project]

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Clare Short is thinking of rejoining the Labour Party now that Tony Blair has gone. Can anyone give me odds on Short deciding that maybe she won't leave Parliament at the next election after all.

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Nirpal Dhaliwal - Watch Part Thirteen

It’s back! Because you demanded it! Well, because one of you expressed a vague interest in it’s continuation…

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve.

Yes, it's Nirpal Dhaliwal Watch! (incorporating Liz Jones ‘My Ex-Husband is a Bastard!’ Watch)

True to his word about not speaking openly about his impending divorce Nirpal has been quiet over the last few months, presumably spending time moving his stuff in to mates flats or finding himself a new place to live. There are a few digs and barbs in other article though.

For starters, we have Nirpal exploring his bisexual side…

G2: A fine bromance: There's a deep mutual attraction but sex just doesn't come into it . . . Nirpal Dhaliwal on why every straight man needs a gay best friend

The Guardian (London); Jun 11, 2007

Gays are a guy's best friend. Friendships between straight and gay men are increasingly common. Such celebrity couples include Little Britain stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas, and Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins, presenters of Channel 4's The Friday Night Project.

I’ve watched The Friday Night Project. It should never be used in any argument about anything, ever, unless perhaps about how the promoters of eugenics might have once had a point.

The striking thing about these partnerships is their equality; Lucas and Carr are not camp jesters playing alongside a straight man. In both cases, the respective halves enjoy a natural rapport, wholly comfortable with each other's very different masculinity. The genuine affection these men share, and the ease with which they engage with each other, hints at a shift in the British male identity.

The latest edition of the Collins English Dictionary even contains the word "bromance" (n. Informal. A close but nonsexual relationship between two men. [c21: a blend of bro(ther) + romance]). Bromance only really refers to a gay-straight friendship. Close friendships between men of the same sexuality have never been an issue. It is the unconsummated intimacy of the bromance, its obvious but transcended sexual dimension, that makes it a relationship worthy of its own unique title.

At the age of 33, I have come to realise that I am a bromantic kind of guy. Most of my closest male friends are gay, and not by any design. I have made these friends through the general course of my life over the past few years - through work, going to yoga classes, and travelling.

In my early and mid-20s, I was good friends with an older, militant black lesbian. When we went out we would often end up in a joint full of gay guys, where I would invariably get hit on. I thought we went to these places because she felt more comfortable in them, but later I realised her plan was to queer up the uptight Asian boy and broaden his horizons. I will always be thankful to her for that.

I've snogged a few men, and enjoyed it. In each case, they were beautiful and charismatic. One was an American film director, who invited me to a festival in Turin where I hooked up with a fabulous, cabaret-singing New York drag queen. They were fun, warm and intimate experiences that thrilled my ego and made me feel gorgeous.

But they didn't turn me on. Even quite plain women can get me hot and bothered when I am making out with them, yet those studs had no such effect. I am pretty much straight, and those men proved it to me. Having tested my sexuality and been sure of what it is, I have no issues with homosexuality and can throw myself into a bromance with no misplaced hopes or fears.

A true bromance happens between men who know themselves, who are over their issues and just want to hang out with other intelligent and open men. There is a mutual attraction in a bromance (why else would people become close friends?), but the fact that there is no sex is liberating for both involved.

All male rivalry is basically sexual, and given that gay and straight men are not competing for the same people, friendships between them provide a space in which egos can be left aside. My friendships with straight men have often deteriorated because of rivalry, and from talking to my gay pals I know that gay men are just are competitive. Bromances offer men an opportunity to discuss sex without worrying about one-upmanship.

Sex dominates my bromantic dialogues. Like most men, we are obsessed with sex. Whatever else straight men talk about - cars, football, politics - is just a substitute to avoid the envy and dissatisfaction that arises should they honestly discuss their sex lives. I talk about women much more with gay men than I ever have with straight ones. And given that women speak far more openly with gay men - and that gay men actually listen to them - my gay pals provide many useful insights into the female mind.

We have deeper chats too. Straight men who discuss their emotions generally do so in banal psychobabble cliches. Hanging out with gay men, I talk about my relationships and feelings in a complex way with someone who understands the male condition. For my gay pals, a bromance allows their blokey, grounded side to come to the fore. In many ways, we are more ourselves with each other than with those who share our sexualities.

Bromances are the future for men in this country. We have a shared biology and a basic outlook, compared to which our choice of sexual partner is merely a detail

…But actually touching their cocks or anything? Ewwwww!

After an opinion piece on the latest Big Brother and the race row soon after it started, Nirpal set’s his sights on cougars, and is able to draw on exhaustive personal experience:

I've got a bit of a thing for older women
Evening Standard (London); Jun 20, 2007;

ON MONDAY, I met Vanessa Feltz.

Perfectly groomed and wearing a glamorous evening dress, and accompanied by her handsome 34-year-old partner, Ben, she was the epitome of what is now known as a "cougar" a successful older woman openly proud of her penchant for younger men.

We chatted about relationships, and she stated that she "loves sex".

For an older women who loves sex, a healthy, athletic younger man is the obvious companion.

Having been married until recently to an older woman

Really? I had no idea!

and having been involved with a few in the past, I know the feral attraction between them and younger men.

It's about sex, and not much else.

My lud, I refer the court to exhibit A: I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: 'Who's the boss?' The question threw her. Initially she wouldn't give me a reply, but I enticed it from her. 'You are,' she finally gasped. 'You are!'

And with the greater power and freedom that today's women enjoy, cougars are becoming an increasingly common phenomenon.

Cougars prove that female sexuality is just as one-dimensional and animal as the male sex drive.

They're not interested in younger men for their money, experience or intellect: they know full well that younger men have none of those.

Well, at least Nirpal is admitting that he has neither money, experience or intellect.

They relish their looks, virility and stamina. Having made their own money and carved out their own careers, and hence freed of any dependency on men, they can choose a man purely for pleasure.

In my experience, it's far easier to get into bed with a woman who's significantly older than it is with women my own age. Women in their twenties and thirties, unless they're drunk, often analyse a situation to death, wondering about a man's long-term suitability as a partner, so will keep a man waiting. But the cougar doesn't mess around. Being much older, she doesn't kid herself about what the future might hold, and gets down to business in no time. Every older woman I've hooked up with has slept with me on the first date.

The same is true for the men I've known who've had similar experiences.

But though she's easier to have sex with, once a man's involved with a cougar he'll find she has just as many hang-ups as younger women do. My relationships with older women have taught me that experience can never cure women of their neuroticism.

They are just as fraught and worried about their attractiveness and whether their partner loves them as any teenager, and, in addition, they have a paranoia that's all of their own about their age.

As soon as my wife fell in love with me, she was convinced our relationship would fail because of the age gap. Her pressure for reassurance alienated me far more than her age ever did.

Yes, Liz’s need for reassurance made him sleep with other women.

Nonetheless, I do love and admire cougars. They are the latest pioneers in the feminist revolution, nakedly proclaiming their unfettered sexuality. But when it comes to relationships, they pose the same laborious difficulties for us men as all the rest.

I’m beginning to suspect that Nirpal’s ideal partner would be a non-operative female-to-male transsexual, male in all respects except he doesn’t have a willy. Or perhaps a mute woman who lives with a gay man.

Meanwhile, over in Liz Jones’s diary, Nirpal is making desperate attempts at the start of May to win her back…

LIZ JONES'S DIARY ; In which I start to plan my new life

The Mail on Sunday (London); May 6, 2007;

He keeps saying, 'You'll miss me when I'm gone.' 'No I won't. And I honestly, honestly believe that you will be happier without me. You will be able to marry a nice Indian girl, and have children, and live a normal life.' 'You are already planning your life without me, aren't you?' he said sadly. 'Yes, I am. I can't wait, to be honest.' He still has not given me a date when he is to move out, or agreed to a divorce, or said anything at all about the email I sent him, telling him we would sell the house, split the difference, that he would not, under any circumstances, get custody of Sweetie, who he regards as his cat, and that could he please move out as soon as possible? Instead, he has been making an effort. He has been changing the cat litter every morning, emptying the dishwasher, folding the laundry and bringing me, on two occasions, a mug of coffee with two biscuits in bed. It is amazing, isn't it, that once you start detaching, and telling him to move out, saying that you no longer love him (I actually told him this to his face), he suddenly realises what he is about to lose and backtracks rapidly?

But, you know what? I am not about to give in, or take pity on him, or think, 'Oh dear, I will never get another man; I will spend the rest of my life sitting with a plate of pasta in front of Frasier.' I am actually rather looking forward to not being criticised every day ('What's that then?' he is fond of saying as he squeezes my muffin. 'You don't get that on Nicole Richie'), to padding down to the kitchen in the morning and not finding a mess, to not living in fear of reading his text messages or opening his email and finding the latest missive from FWD, when my heart will lurch and I will question myself, wonder where I went wrong, over and over again. I am looking forward to not having to sit through yet another meal in a restaurant in silence because we have nothing left to say to each other.
No. In fact, in secret, I have indeed started to plan my new life. I am going to get a horse (a rescue horse, obviously) and I am going to move me and the cats and the goldfish to the countryside. I am fed up of trying to live a perfect life, and endlessly wiping the smears off the cat flap, and dressing up in ridiculous ChloE platforms and putting my face on just to shop for more products in Space NK.
I want to let my roots grow out, and not worry about Brazilian wax regrowth, and about getting an appointment to have my eyelashes dyed. I want to give up, in a way.
I want to live in the middle of nowhere and never see a soul. I have tried having it all but it isn't all it's cracked up to be. I have spent the past seven years anxious and alone and always trying to be someone I am not. It has to stop.

And so, on Sunday, I got in my car (I told my husband I was going to see my mum; I know, I feel incredibly guilty and I am sure he didn't believe me), and drove to deepest Hertfordshire to see a former racehorse that had been abused and had fallen on hard times. She is called Lizzie and she is seven years old. I have been gazing at her photograph on the internet for what feels like months. For the first time in years I am excited, and am doing something he doesn't know about, and that isn't about me or about men or about shopping in Prada or getting my windows cleaned, it is about something else. I think I have been trying so hard to be something I am not, which is stylish and sexy and well travelled and interesting and part of a couple, that I forgot what makes me happy. I was willing to give it a go but it didn't work. I got out of my car, walked up to the field and I saw her. She raised her head, and it was love at first sight.

In what is surely life imitating one of those painfully unfunny farces, Liz ‘n’ Nirps still have a holiday to Africa to endure.

Liz Jones's diary ; (1) Africa, part one (2) 'I'm going to regret being horrible to you when you love me so much,' he says. 'I'll never find someone who loves me as much as you do'

Daily Mail (London); May 20, 2007

It takes 26 hours to get to the island off Mozambique. After a ten-hour flight, another two-hour trip on a tiny plane and then a two-hour speedboat ride, we arrive on the beach looking as though we have been shipwrecked; my hair resembles Bridget Jones's when she arrives for her mini-break. We are shown to our lodge, one of only ten on the island. It is inches from the Indian Ocean, with muslin nets around the huge bed, hammocks, a huge slab of marble in the shower. It is so beautiful, and so far from the life we have left behind. We have dinner, and walk in the shallows, looking up at an inky sky speckled with millions of stars, before falling into bed exhausted, the only sound the pounding of the waves. It could be perfect.

Except that he is almost silent.

The next day, he gets up at 6am to do yoga, and I go for breakfast on my own. He then swims and showers and smokes cigarettes and is finally ready to join me at about 6pm. We go to dinner. He looks miserable. As we walk past the bar, he says he is going to have a drink and a cigarette because he needs 'some space'. I stumble to my room, feeling my way in the dark, because he keeps the torch. When he finally gets back he says, 'I want a divorce.' I sit up in bed. 'But why are you saying that now? Why didn't you agree to leave when I asked you?' 'I can't stand it here, it feels so oppressive.' 'Will you leave tomorrow?' 'Yes.' The next morning, I wake up and he is staring at me.

'Have you told the office to book you a flight?' 'No,' he says, 'I will do that now.' He wanders off, and I go to sit by the sea with my book. He waddles over. 'Have you booked it?' I ask him. 'Yes, I can leave tomorrow.' I then ask him why he has chosen the first couple of days of our two-week holiday to tell me he is leaving, and he puts his head in his hands and says that he hadn't planned it. 'I do love you, you know,' he says. 'But I will never write another book while I know I have you to look after me. Every time you do something nice or take me back I think you must be so desperate that I behave even more badly.' 'But I do it because I want you to be happy. Which is why I asked you to leave. We bring out the worst in each other.' We sit talking for hours, lunch comes and goes and the sun disappears into the ocean.
'This is how we fell in love,' he says. 'In Jamaica, just talking and gazing at the ocean. Can I stay for the rest of the two weeks, and we can talk like this?' I had quite come round to the fact he would be able to get back early to be with the cats, relieving our cat sitter of her duties, and so I say, 'No, you will have time to sort yourself out, and find somewhere else to live. I want you to leave on the 19th and post your keys through the letter box. And please, when you empty your chest of drawers, I want you to close them carefully because you know how Sweetie loves an open drawer, and you might squash her and kill her.' He nods. 'I am so going to regret being horrible to you when you love me so much,' he says, starting to cry. 'I will never find someone who loves me as much as you do,' and he grasps my hands in his.

I wrestle them free. 'I still want you to go,' I tell him.

'I am such a sucker for a pretty face,' he says, and I stiffen. 'What do you mean? Recently?' 'Yes,' he says. 'Have you slept with anyone since September, when I found out you were back in contact with Daphne?' He nods. 'In Mumbai, last month, at the literary festival.' 'Who was it?' I stammer, feeling the nausea rising in my mouth.
There is salt on my face but I can't tell if it is from the sea spray, or because I am crying too.

Back from holiday and life goes on:

LIZ JONES'S DIARY In which I email the cow-trollop-baggage ; I had some good news last week and automatically reached in my bag to phone him. Then I realised I don't have any one to tell things to any more

The Mail on Sunday (London); Jun 3, 2007;

I spent the rest of the two weeks on the island off the coast of East Africa in shock. I couldn't quite believe he had gone, that it was all, finally, over. I expected him to call me but the only text I got was a terse, 'The cats are fine.' I kept going over everything he had told me. I had asked him why he behaved so oddly and childishly on holiday, and he had said, 'Because as soon as we go somewhere you clam up. Look at when I was in the bar talking to Stacey, you didn't say a word.' The reason I never say anything in social situations is because I can't hear what anyone is saying, especially if it is someone I don't know well, or they aren't right next to me. My friend Kerry knows this and will translate as we go along.

That my husband failed to notice this after seven years just about sums up our miscommunication, doesn't it?

I would like to say I was all happy and relieved, and spent the time frolicking in the surf and shagging diving instructors, but instead I felt deflated, and incredibly rejected. I felt frustrated at not being able to be proactive while he was in my house packing his horrible boy things, and so I did two things. I contacted my solicitor and asked her to write to him telling him I was divorcing him on the grounds of adultery and giving him a deadline to move out. And I found out the email address of the woman he slept with at the Mumbai literary festival and wrote to her. I told her that my husband had said she came on to him, despite knowing he was married, and had sex without a condom. I know it was all my husband's fault, but I do believe women who sleep with married men are nothing better than trollops. (I have since found out she has a boyfriend, and therefore is a cheating whore-baggage-cow-type person.) I couldn't wait to get home, and when I unlocked the front door, and was able to do a quick head count of the pussies, and saw our joint credit card cut up on the table (there was no note, not even an 'I am so sorry' after seven years), I felt incredibly relieved, but I couldn't help but feel it had all been for nothing. That I had tried so hard, and been (on the whole) so nice and supportive and patient, and still I had the word 'reject' stamped on my forehead. My cleaner rang me and told me he had done some strange things before he left. 'Like what?' I asked her. 'He took your car to be valeted and changed the bed.'
Blimey, that's a first. And at that moment a small part of me thought that he might have changed his mind, that he wanted me to forgive him again. But I can't.

I don't know why he felt he had to tell me he had slept with a cow-trollop-baggage, but at least the image I keep playing in my head of him kissing someone young and slim prevents me from phoning him and asking him to come back. It is weird to be on your own, but the oddest thing is that I don't actually miss him, he had become so strange and distant. I had some good news last week (a business deal thing), and I automatically reached in my bag to phone him and then I realised I don't have anyone to tell things to any more. I heard from a mutual 'friend' that he had moved to a bedsit in Shoreditch, that his mum was sure it was for the best (and I thought she liked me!), and that he was wondering when he would meet someone new(!).

And, despite everything, I felt sad and jealous and bitter and angry. He must miss the cats, mustn't he? I have nothing to do for the next six million weekends. All my girlfriends are married or have live-in boyfriends. I lost so many friends because they couldn't stand my husband and now I am too proud to go begging their forgiveness.
Things, I suppose, can only get better.

That’s the spirit! Although Liz could do with reminding herself of that, a week later, when she finds herself feeling lonely.

In which I find out why we never had sex

The Mail on Sunday (London); Jun 10, 2007; LIZ JONES; p. 82

Hmm, well. I have felt better. In the two weeks since I flew home, alone, from my hugely expensive holiday and returned to an empty house (bar the fur babies, of course) I haven't heard one word from him. Not a phone call, not an email or even a text message. After seven years together I find it odd that he can cut me off like this, without so much as a backward glance.

Doesn't he at least want to know how I am? I am doing that awful, sad thing of always being prepared: I waft around my immaculate house in a floaty top and skinny jeans, makeup on, feet oiled, candles lit.

Whenever I hear a car outside I peek out the window oh, that I wasn't a minimalist and had some curtains. Whenever I get home I feverishly dial 1571, and I can usually be found sitting on the sofa in the kitchen nursing my mobile phone. I don't know why I am feeling so bereft, because I don't want him back; it is as though I am grieving for the life we could have had.

The only thing that is keeping me sane and preventing me from phoning him, is remembering all the times he hurt me. The time, when we were both going to New York (me to work, him to secretly meet FWD), and I asked if we would see each other, and he replied, 'Probably not.' The time I phoned him from an earthquake zone and he mumbled in an irritated voice, 'What is it?' as if I was about to ask him to buy Fairy Liquid. The time, returning from the Kitab literary festival, he blamed his bad mood on my being boring when I had phoned him from the Oscars, when in fact he had just had unprotected sex with a young, slim, Indian dirty-cow-trollop- baggage.
And then two things happened. I bumped into one of his yoga friends when I was outside Space N K, and he told me my ex-husband had said it was strange but on his first day of 'freedom' (you'd think I'd made him work down a mine) he had been thinking what it would be like to become a dad. I felt as though someone had kicked me in the stomach as I pictured the file labelled 'adoption' in my desk drawer, and the time my gynaecologist told me, as I came round from the anaesthetic, that I could still have children my husband was late coming to collect me, and didn't even buy me a single daffodil or ask for the lab results.

Yesterday, bored and lonely, I started tidying up the desktop on my laptop and I found a file that my (then) husband had emailed to himself, and downloaded on to my computer when we arrived in Africa. His plan, I now remember, was to work on his second 'novel' each afternoon. In all the excitement I'd forgotten about it. So I opened it. My heart was beating and as I read it tears poured on to the keyboard. So, this is what he really thinks of me I have to manage the tension between us, not let it get out of hand. Right now, I have nowhere else to live. I could calm her down, and make things better. I could reach out and touch her. I could press my body against hers, wrap her in my arms, kiss her neck and breathe slowly against her skin.
It works every time. But I won't do that. And I know how much it hurts her that I won't. Knowing this gives me the closest thing I have to happiness. So much warmth has passed between us, yet only the spite can move me now. I haven't had sex with my wife in months. I don't see the point. I lost interest in her a long time back. If we ever, rarely, have sex I close my eyes and think of someone else often a friend of hers. She has some cute friends. I'd have sex with them, no problem.

So, after that extract from Nirpal’s ‘tricky’ second novel we’re pretty much up-to-date. I’ll see you next time for more of Nirpal’s passive-aggressive snark and Liz’s living out her princess fantasies with her new horse.

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