Stolen from the Stoa

Philip Oltermann confers with some great brains about their guilty pleasures | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited

Although I argue vehemently against modern pop music, on grounds of its musical incompetence, verbal impoverishment and general morbidity, narcissism and salaciousness; although I fiercely object to disco dancing as a sacrilege against the human form and a collective rejection of civilised courtship; although I defend reels, minuets, galliards, sarabands and (as limiting cases) waltzes and polkas as the only ways in which ordinary humanity should dare to put its sexual nature on festive display, and although I regard the 12-bar blues and the flattened subdominant seventh as the lowest forms of vulgarity in music, I find rock’n’roll in general, and Elvis in particular, irresistible, and would happily dance away the night to it. I cannot explain the thrill of delight with which I hear the first bars of Jailhouse Rock or the eagerness with which I at once search the vicinity for a partner: but there it is, appalling proof that, despite all my efforts, I am human.

Excellent Roger Scruton quote from the Grauniad (stolen from Chris).

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BBC Blog Ban

I appear to have been banned from posting comments on the Newsnight pages – though I’ve never posted one before AFAIK! Very odd. It just tells me “Your comment has not been allowed” which isn’t very helpful at all. Ho-hum. Well, i’ll just post it here then.

“The BBC’s already lost the young generation – they prefer to download all their media – and though the Beeb’s commercial arm is getting closer with its deal with the Bitorrent firm Azureus, it’s sad to see the main corporation not following. Why doesn’t the beeb simply put everything for free online? I’m sure it wouldn’t undermine the sales of their DVDs that much, as the two markets are fairly distinct, and it might even boost them the way iTunes sales and internet radio has boosted the sales for CD sales. At the moment, the BBC has a reputation as a well-meaning but dusty organisation that’s technologically crippled and confused about it’s purpose, as well as being overwhelmed by bureaucracy. It must move online and use free content to drive people to its commercial wing, not cripple its public service side for the benefit of the commercial side.”

Bioshock – the most Jewish game since the Shivah?

So when I was sat reviewing Bioshock a month or more back, Ken Levine walked up behind me (it was just after that moment, so I understandably feeling charitable to this god in human form) and I asked him who he’d named Sander Cohen after, as the character was obviously Jewish (Cohen is about the most Jewish name out, for the ethnically-uninformed). Levine looked a little puzzled and said, “it’s my wife’s maiden name, why?” Sez I, “you’re Jewish?! That’s funny, you don’t look Jewish.” He didn’t get the joke, making me think he’s gone all secular, so I explain the joke at tedious length to him. I’m nice like that.

I also observe to him that there’s a substantial proportion of Jewish people in the game, more than any other game in fact, what with the concentration camp survivor Tenenbaum, Cohen and others whose audio logs you encounter. He says “he hadn’t really thought about it” and mentions how something about how it would be hard to build a utopia of the creative and talented without Jews. Odd how the Jews in Rapture are the doctors and artists, the Americans and English are the rulers, while the Irish are the workers and detectives – everyone falls into their stereotype, perhaps because it’s set in the 50s when this implicit caste system was the Western norm, perhaps because the game doesn’t quite escape the clutches of pulp fiction.

Anyway, this game has the highest kosher content of any game going, AFAIK and, like real life, that’s both associated with high levels of violence and intelligence. The concentration camp references put the game in a nice historical context, even if the accent they’re delivered in is rubbish.

Bye Bye Mr Magic

Kieron points to Tony Wilson’s death. And then blathers on about context and contextualisation like he’s swallered a sociolinguistics handbook, as is his wont.

The weird thing is, he was someone I grew up with, on the peripherary of my childhood. He was a friend of my parents when I was a kid (they said he was an absolute bastard, but a nice guy) and I remember going Christmas Tree shopping with him when I was really little. He was really excited about it and was bounding all over the place, and ended up buying the biggest tree I ever saw. And then I heard stories about him, like the one about a friend of my mum, who ran the Hacienda for him, getting in the lift there with him and trapping him in so she could have a good shout at him without him running away. Exploitative, generous, lying, mellifluous, money-grabbing, egocentric, friendly, untrustworthy – a true Mancunian.

And I’ve never seen that movie, but I’m sure it portrayed Steve Coogan perfectly. Most things he’s in do.

Tasty Green Meat

My pound of flesh is sizzling away on the hob, producing murderous juices, and on the radio I’m happy to hear my supply of tasty corpses is being maintained. Yes, the Foot & Mouth quarantine has been lifted (a bit prematurely in my case, as my mouth is still foul and my feet are no better) so tomorrow all over the country doe-eyed calves, calf-eyed lambs and possibly even lamb-eyed does will be taken off to the abbatoirs and boltgunned for our delectation. Mmm & indeed Hmm!
But what’s this? A butcher stands up (metaphorically; he was on the radio and it’s hard to stand up on something so small, though I’ve listened to plenty of MPs stand down on it, which must be easier or something) and says that us carniphages are in trouble. Apparently, there’s a great meat shortage across the country at the moment and all of the national suppliers are sold out! Not a kidney to be had for love nor money! It sounds like for the next two weeks we’re reduced to greens & beiges rather than tasty reds. (Not that my colourblind eyes can tell, save for the implied screams bound up with every tasty chunk.) Again! This cannot continue, this cannot be allowed to continue.
That’s why I’ve developed a plan, and it doesn’t involve mandatory stabilisers for all radio appearances of potential stand-up types. (comedians or otherwise, which reminds me ((via the Comedian)) that the cast line-up for Zack “300” Snyder’s movie of The Watchmen has been finalised – look ee here and marvel at the lack of name recognition. Back on topic!) As far as I can see it we have three options; stop eating meat (not an option); stockpile meat, living & dead (which the tube trains seem an excellent prototype for); or we stop other people eating meat, which leaves more for us (and shut up you damn economists with your concept of reduced demand leading to a systemic adjustment downwards in the meat supply). So I’m going to start preaching vegetarianism to everyone else and painting all my meat green as a disguise.