Thursday, September 30, 2004

Another Day In Paradise

Referencing the title of a Phil Collins song is probably not the most sensitive way to look at this. And "paradise" is a bit misleading, since we'd like to draw your attention to events on Pictairn Island. We'll do it by way of linking to cfarivar's blog, which in turn links to all the best resources. But the outline is this - seven of the Island's 48 inhabitants, or half its adult males, have been charged with sexual assault.

There's an old joke about Australia, that goes something like this. Australian to Englishman: "Aren't you ever worried that most of us Australians are descended from convicts?" Englishman: "I'm more worried that some of you are descended from prison guards."

Well, the Pictairn Islanders are all descended from the Mutineers On The Bounty. Yes, the one played by Mel Gibson included. Having thrown off the shackles of naval authority, in the form of their somewhat awkward captain, Bligh, they escape with some Polynesian fellow-travellers to a small Island off the coast of New Zealand and, as far as I can tell, kill most of the Polynesians.

And they've had a somewhat fraught relationship with the mother country ever since. The case is likely to hinge more upon the right of the UK to intervene (the prosecution stems from an outsider policeman's enquiries and new laws) than the facts of the case, about which there seems to be worryingly little dispute. Take this comment, reported by ABC Australia, from former Islander James Brackenberry:

Brackenberry: That I'm just a normal person. These things happen in all forms of society and there's only a few people, who – if the charges are true – are like that.

Interviewer: Initially when these accusations were first raised there seemed to be an indication coming from Pitcairn that these charges were nothing more to do than a culture of underage sex on Pitcairn, that that was the social norm.

Brackenberry: Yes, I'd have to agree, it is – or way back then it was – the norm to have sex at a very… at a young age. If you look at the genealogy of Pitcairn Island, there'd be a lot of us who wouldn't be here if our mothers or grandmothers waited till they were 16

Less Survivor, more Breaking The waves crossed with Straw Dogs. An anthropologist's dream with an unsavory core.

Wesside, schmesside. A bog standard tale of Municpal/Union shadiness. We'll deal with it later.

Update: The Sun has the case in all its lurid details here, and some lurid background as well.

Stuck On You

Billy Childish, former leader of Thee Headcoats, a demented brew of punk, skiffle and rockabilly, and the Buff Medways,, who mine mmuch the same seam, has struck an unlikely blow against the right-wing press. Billy always hated the NME, but he may have been indrectly responsible for a tilt at the Daily Mail.

See, we all know the Mail, the penny dreadful of Middle England, and its bombastic yet self-pitying attempts by its aristocratic owners to scare and manipulate its prosperous and blinkered readership. If we don't, then think of a New York Post that doesn't feel the need to credit its audience with a spark of awareness.

And Billy has a sideline as a painter and founder of the Stuckist movement, which was founded largely on a dislike of postmodernism but which tried to avoid the bleating of "why don't they paint proper pictures" that accompanies some of the conceptualist shows. Billy also shagged Tracey Emin a noted conceptualist artist who included his name in her famous tent that featured the name of every persson she had ever slept with. The experience may have informed the stuckist movement.

Anyhoo, as the Guardian reports, one of Billy's disciples, a writer at the Daily Mail who dabbles in painting, has been sacked from her day job. The reason? A picture of Myra Hindley, one of the UK's more prolific murderers. Myra, now deceased, usually serves as a useful means of personifying evil, and several artists have traded on her image's associations. And the Mail always bleats about it, although we must stress that the Mail has not given this painting as a reason for the dismissal. The thing is, Jane Kelly, the 15-year veteran in question, did a picture that managed to compare the treatment of London mayor Ken Livingstone by the left-leaning Labour Party to the activities of the Nazis. And the Mail loved it.

Been meaning to address the Wessside Stadium project here in NYC, but that'll wait a while.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Surveillance, both from the platform at Nevins Street:

1) A more ginger version of Paul Bettany, gurning at something off camera.
2) A short version of Carson Daly, playing with his iPhones.

While I try and avoid producing a limeyblog, I did have an unusual moment in the Union Square Movie Theater Monday night. I was the only person who laughed at the "we got our injections the last time we visited the Isle of Wight" joke in Shaun Of The Dead. That's never happened, and I've seen a buncha limey movies in the last four years in NY. I mean, people stared.

You Don't Want To Miss A Thing

That's right, the Aerosmith contribution to astronomy, echoed by the awesomely-named Lembit Opik in the Guardian. Lembit, a Liberal Democrat MP in the UK, has always had free rein to pursue some of his more esoteric interests. And talking about the danger to the earth from giant objects is one of them. Lembit's credentials are ideal since, like Toys In The Attic-era Aerosmith, he fears no ridicule. Although the disadvantage of being Welsh Liberal Democrat MP is that you find it difficult to capitalise on a huge Hollywood blockbuster to raise awareness. In fact, you can't even capitalise on a huge Hollywood Blockbuster accompanied by number-one Aerosmith-penned single to raise awareness.

Lembit tries to make us appreciate the danger by noting that a rock just missed the earth by only a million miles. This won't work, since average human brains are even less able to contemplate millions of miles than millions of dollars. Lembit needs to rip a page out of the financial journalist's book. Reduce the numbers and risks to very human conflicts. The way the third-world debt relief issue has changed from "developing countries owe [insert astonishing figure] to developed creditors", to "UK Chancellor Gordon Brown is doing something about this, why aren't the others." Lembit obviously loves the scientists, but probably needs to start talking to the military guys, find a way to make the issues apocalyptic yet human. Say "George Bush wants to use missile defence to fatten contractors. Why won't he use it to track space objects and divert them." Better.

No time really to go into the Guardian's cake-and-eat-it attempt to link to an eBay story while ridiculing eBay stories. We guess that "Man writes hopelessly elaborate CV" wouldn't have made it past the online subeditors....

And finally, we picked up the New York Press Best Of Manhattan issue. We literally picked it up. In the Key Food on Fifth Avenue. Not through Gawker's whinging. Hell, no. Now, when we first moved to New York, we were entranced by the knowing, snide tone of the press. It took time pressures and a stern rebuke from Felix Salmon ("you will learn to love the Times, long and asinine headlines and all" - he was mostly right - we at least pay it attention) to wean us off the Press, and we keep our Voice consumption down the listings.

Reading through the Best Of..., which used to keep the uneasy co-existence of left and right (the NY Press trademark) under wraps for one issue a year, was hugely dispiriting. Was it the pages and pages of recently-graduated arrivals going on about how clueless NYU students are? Was it former publisher Russ Smith bleating about John Kerry ("George Bush is cooler. He just is")? Was it that the Manhattan picks were well-researched but stupidly expensive, while the Brooklyn ones were brutally obvious (though props to the Ratner-bashing)?

About thirty pages in, we noticed the voice, or to be more accurate, the person. The knowing first person plural. The "We". "We got mugged". "We ate dumplings". "We didn't get paid for this article". We had always assumed that the we was an asexual device that distanced us from the fray, a respectful homage to Ian Kerr's financial markets column in Euroweek. And let us pretend we have a huge staff (we do that in our dy job too). No it isn't. Three years on, and we still haven't moved out of the hateful shadow of the New York Press. You see, there is an "I" in Gringcorp. But do we unleash it?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Forbidden Notes

The title, you will agree, is somewhat appropriate, given that the previous post featured so much censorship-related angst. It might also refer to the bassline used in the making of Blur's faux-cockney masterpiece Parklife. Said bassline "uses an interval of an augmented fifth – in which the standard interval of a fifth is increased by one semitone", according to the Select article reproduced here. These intervals were apparently banned by the Catholic church in the Middle Ages because of their demonic sound, and were known as the Devil's Interval. Should you require evidence of this satanic bassline, a wmv excerpt, courtesy of Amazon, is here.

But we're not here to talk about mockneys, even when we suffer from sitting opposite one every working day.

No, we're here to talk about The Black Keys, which were forbidden notes for much of the history of the keyboard, insofar as they did not exist. So, were it not for the procreative activities of two couples in Akron, Ohio (the parents), on the one hand, and the need to accomodate sharp and flat notes alongside naturals on a single keyboard, we would not only have NO meaning for "The Black Keys", but also no means of padding this post by three paragraphs.

Because the plain fact is, Gringcorp's Holiday From Guitars was not a storming success, and we had thrown ourselves into the tender embrace of Rubber Factory. We don't know whether Blur's use of discordant noises would have disposed them towards liking the Keys, since Blur were not the greatest fans of this great nation of the United States.

But we'll make the connection in a roundabout way. Because we do have a point, and it is that too much has been written about the Keys' similarities to the White Stripes. If you worry about the future musical direction of the Black Keys, think more about the career trajectory that Gomez has experienced. See, Gomez confused an early enthusiasm for their bouncy tunes as respect for their musicianship, and we fear that The Black Keys might be moving on the same track. We probably didn't think too hard before our earlier note on the Keys' gig down at the Harbour, but it is now clear that there is a good possibility that they could turn into a Jam band.

At the moment, the sound is too jaunty, and the number of players is stuck at two. While the Keys are still trying to make much larger music thhan their numbers allow, the effect is very striking, the musical equivalent of the the skeleton armies from Clash Of The Titans. But they do like an excursion, and we fear a String cheese Incident any moment.

By the same token, we liked most of Bring It On, Gomez' first, particularly 78 Stone Wobble. But, one Glastonbury, soaked to the bone, we had to sit through an extended jam version of Tijuana Lady, when alll we wanted was something to cheer us the hell up. And that was it. Deciding to call a song Sweet Virginia probably won't help them plead their case in front of a Gringcorp Rock Court, either.

The other main link between Gomez and the Black Keys are the disconcerting growly voices sported by the two lead singers. And the link between Gomez and Blur? Bloody students that decided to form a band.

Monday, September 27, 2004


Time to start with a top three surveillance section, subtitled "why Gringcorp is so cool and observant"

1)Top broadsheet plagiarist Jayson Blair, walking through the Union Square Green Market, wearing a lot of jewelry, Monday morning. We're not usually this positive about such a spotting, especially since we were distracted by the brutal techno pouring into our defenceless ears. But the man seemed very eager to be recognised, staring around expectantly as the Wheatgrass-munchers milled around the stalls. Gringcorp's father used the very same standard to identify Terry Waite, and decided therafter that he didn't like the look of the saintly hostage-negotiator one bit. But if Jayson was actually giving a class in journalistic ethics at a benighted Southern communications school, we will be happy to correct

2)Top limey mullet- and real ale-fancier Alex Hall outside the Brazen Head, Sunday afternoon. Alex is justly thought of as a hero for his spririted defence of all thinks Cask. But we don't think that him and the Cheese lady from Bierkraft should ever be allowed to breed. You might think that this is a remote possibility, and that we mention this purely as a dig against someone who only wants her cheeses to be happy. But Alex distributes his Gotham Imbiber there, so we must be careful.

3)Top NY Senator (sorry, Hill) Chuck Schumer, pressing the flesh at the Altantic Antic, a couple of blocks from Alex and his beer-quaffing cru. Schumer is a hugely popular incumbent, a position that we, as a Mets fan, hugely distrust, and we do not think that he came off well from Nat Hentoff's examination of his Pickering filibuster. But Chuck was a machine, looking very tireless in a loosened tie, and affecting slightly rumpled demeanor. In fact we even shook his hand, knowing that this at least does not violate campaign finance laws. But, if you’re looking to try and identify Gringcorp from Chuck’s campaign pictures, think again. We were wearing a Barack Obama mask.

Little else to say about the Antic, except that it was better than most of the street festivals. Our main interest in it was as a conduit to Sahadi's, where we were hoping to score some pine nuts. There was even some live music going on, although we missed the likes of The Brought Low. Gringcorp used to do a walk of shame down Atlantic, and was pleasantly surprised by how many chi-chi restaurants the stretch has recently attracted. But there is something about it, and we're not fixating simply on Hank's here, that is innately shady.

And after the surveillance comes the navel-gazing. That New York Times thing on the bloggers. Yes, the article did focus far too much on the success/freedom trade-off, like the Times has turned into the Maximum Rock N’Roll of political commentary, or something (Sell out!). And it focused far too little on the role that the blogs have played in correcting some of the more egregious errors in the mainstream media (although they didn’t catch Blair). But the most interesting old to new media shot was the way the article was structured, an attempt to create intimate portraits of the bloggers themselves. As if to say, “this is what we do, children. We provide context and a backstory, rather than one-line carping about what f***tards [an interesting new elided swearword, no?] the Republicans are. Amusingly enough, the blogs seem to have decided it would be much cooler to fixate on what a gentleman called Billmon has to say on the subject.

Finally, Gringcorp is taking a Holiday From Guitars. And he’s noticed that the world of Techno is very funny. We were cruising Amazon for some leads on where to find the very sleek Kompakt 100 compilation, fresh outta Cologne (seemed easier to write than trying to do an HTML umlaut). Actually, we found that in Kim's, but was diverted by a review of the Dave Clarke mix album World Service. Why do Techno fans, who tend to be mild-mannered, wimpy people, need to go on about how brutal their music is? Even metal fans aren't that bad. Our theory is that going on about how certain tunes "kick you in the head", distracts from the fact that the music is rather similar to the soundtrack to fashion shows, and adverts for gay chatlines. And that wouldn't do. Either that or there's some delicious sub/dom subtext to which we are completely oblivious.

Friday, September 24, 2004

It Is Now One-Thirty The Next Morning And I Have Come To Know Your Thieving Ways

A line from the The Bourne Supremacy there. It just seemed appropriate.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Cee U Next Thirty

Particularly proud of that headline. Faintly disgusting, but all in aid of Ceefax, which, as the Beeb notes, is celebrating thirty years' of glorious digitised service. Ceefax (think closed captioning, only souped up, and super-useful) was, like France's Minitel, one of those low-tech, slightly embarrassing, highly utilitarian information services that prove that the internet was a good idea before the technology came along to popularise it.

The Beeb's article suggested that it is an unwholesome addiction of the middle-aged (John Major, inter alia). But we suggest that it also has the potential to provide some much-needed stimulation in otherwise barren areas.

Gringcorp did not grow up with Ceefax, since we were raised in a liberal household that frowned upon spending more than about 150 pounds on a telly. We got into it when visiting our grandmother, who had precious little in the way of entertainment other than a ginormous telly. Now that all TVs have Ceefax, it has made it to our parents, and very grateful for it at Christmas we are too.

The non publicly-funded version, Teletext, which transmits alongside the commercial channels, has to support itself through hawking holidays and "premium" chatlines. Much less fun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


The New York Times might like to dwell on the implications for international diplomacy of Eurocorps, the sooper-futuristic name for Europe's rapid reaction force. As a Brit that abandoned and frequently despises their homeland, we think the abolition of the army, pound and monarchy, in that order, would be good steps towards the disintegration of the arbitrary amalgam that is the "United" Kingdom.

But we digress, because after two days of near-drowning in proofs, we are bored with words and concepts. We just want to take a gander at that fella in the pictchah they took, in homage to Go Fug Yourself, a recent enthusiasm of Gringcorp's companion that is a sight more infectious than 60 Minutes.

Now, we understand that ever since Jean-Claude Van Damme (full disclosure, Gringcorp knows someone other than his wife with whom he's been, uh, intimately involved) appeared in Universal Soldier there has been some pressure for life to imitate art, and soldiers, at least the ones that aren't wiry, to look like badass mecha-cyborgs from the fighting pits of Robot 1. We understand, just as we know that faced with a choice between showing the local populace your eyes (as the old British recruiting ad noted) and wearing shades while carrying a gun, you take the shades/firearm combo every day. We understand that having a handsfree microphone thing is part of the ensemble. In fact, throw in the bronzed arms and you're looking pretty kewl.

And then the hat. The hat whose only possible use would be to obscure a mime's face. The hat that has appeared in countless old masters and adverts for disreputable Belgian banks. The hat that even clowns and artists have to deploy with the utmost care. And Eurocorps is going to send them into the centre of Kabul. knowing from watching Mr. Karzai that the Afghan taste in headgear is exquisite, we fear that such a presence will be construed as a mortal insult.

Bit flippant, but we hope it is a half-useful contribution to the "will anyone be able to clear up Dubya's messes?" chorus.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Nice But Tim

Those who were down with the hardcore from way back will remember a rhapsodic post about Tim Brown's mighty Last Word, which was being offensively liberal waaay before Atrios and his truculent ilk. That Tim is quite plainly bats, and blames school uniforms for all of society's ills is neither here nor there. The important bit is that there is someone unfeasibly angry tooling around Kentucky calling people fascists.

Of late, however, the antics of the Bush administration, as well as his all-consuming obsession with bubble gum, seem to have tipped him close to the edge. A post from 25th August at his blog (you'll need to scroll, we're afraid), gave a hint that he was ready to move on. And it pains me to admit he might be right.

The latest missive was a big let-down, an incoherently angry defence of CBS made all the more futile by the knowledge of what has happened since the 14th (no superscript there, people), followed by a travelogue from Louisville, and a sycophantic letter. And the invective had lost its edge. But if Tim does call it a day, we wish him well, and suggest he starts getting hardcore into Lepblogging. It's the new partisan rage, you know.

Free Dan!

We hadn't much cared whether Dan Rather swung or not over the memo business, even though we rather indirectly took the CBS side over the forgeries (we still maintain that one could have written them on the gear available at the time). You see, Gringcorp just doesn't do network television (except, awkwardly enough, 60 Minutes, but then only at the insistence of our angelic companion).

And then we read this potted history of the man, by Bryan Curtis in Slate. Swearing at reporters? Check? Squatting while reading the news, rather then soil Walter Cronkite's chair? Check. Dressing up reeeeelly unconvincingly as an Afghan peasant? Check. Yep, I'd say the man's potty, alright.

And all this makes us think he should be made Grand Vizier of the Known Universe. Or President. At least he's allowed, unlike that uptight Canuck dude Jennings.

Dan Rather, you are first recipient of Gumby Fresh's Order of the Ruffneck Demented Unhinged Cru (ORDUC). It would have been Zell, obviously, but we only just inventerd the title.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Non-inflected journalism

Still, while we're on the subject of how to get away with lazy music journalism, allow us to draw to your attention Mr Agreeable, a truly awe-inspiringly insulting fixture of Melody Maker in the 90s. Authored by David Stubbs, a lazy drunken Oxbridge graduate (respect!), Mr. Agreeable created an alternative universe where Morrissey was one's manservant, and no-one was any good at all. And one didn't need to do any research at all:

Black Francis, former frontman of The Pixies, has confounded onlookers by announcing that he plans a series of solo concerts in the near future.
Well, it doesn’t f***ing confound me! The reason he’s doing solo gigs is because the c***’s too fat to allow room for anyone else on the f***ing stage! He also does solo f***ing sofas, in case you hadn’t f***ing noticed!

Top Stuff. From that we can deduce that 1) Mr. Agreeable was never very prescient 2) There is something innately entertaining about long strings of swearing with asterisks. Indeed we might surmise that Mr. Stubbs hit upon comic gold a full decade before the Osbournes.

Kelly Bellyaching

Apologies for the relative dearth of recent posts - the day job has been more taxing than usual. And we went to the rather unusual lengths of not reading anything from the papers or internet over the weekend. We had CNN on, but apart from a good-natured shouting match between Ed Giillespie and Terry McAuliffe, nothing caught our attention. What were doing? Entertaining, as well as completing the Herculean task (if such a obsessive-compulsive endeavor can be described as such) of downloading album art for the 500-odd albums and obscure EPs into iTunes. We're not proud. In fact, we're the opposite of proud. Except for the bit where we managed to find the obscure late 90s NME/Melody Maker free CD covers. That was pretty hardcore right there.

What has caught us this morning has been the Observer Music Monthly, which leads with a suitably scaborous look at R Kelly's recent troubles. And the realisation that only in music journalism, joined possibly by movie critics, do writers get away so much with tangential whining about interview timing/PR/handlers/being inconsiderate. Either you get a chance to talk to your subject, and get them to say something useful, or you don't. If you want to bitch to the PR people/label, write them a letter. Stop wasting our time, you crybabies, just pad the piece with more rock star lunacy anecdotes. No, wait, you already do that with recycled "rock lists", don't you?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Grenade. Ground. Fall.

So, the Dems want Edwards to be a bit more evol, according to a new piece in the The New York Times. But:

some Democrats said he was wary of being remembered in this race in the same light as, say, Richard M. Nixon or Spiro T. Agnew.

Jeez, is this what it has come to? Does this mean that Edwards thinks he's got a little bit of those two in him? Or that they think that Karl Rove's mojo is such that he can draw out the comparisons but at the same time same ignore the fact that half the current adminsitration considered those two close personal friends? Dowd's column, while ostensibly ridiculing this mindset, seems set to feed it.

Our Dear Vice President (yes, I say our, I pay the man's non-Halliburton salary) is one of those demented elderly lions, one foot the grave, who no longer gives the semblance of a f*** whether he lives or dies. He exists to make crazy noises and fling himself at anything that looks like threatening the pride. And Edwards and the Democrats would be best off pointing out that any adminstration keeping such psychotics on its payroll should not be taken seriosuly.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Yellow Snow

Something didn't smell right about Snow Patrol. Maybe it was the Sony rep who bounced up before they came on to pimp, and, it must said, hand out, his wares. And the support act sounded like some monstrous cloning of the The Corrs.

Now, we did not hold anything against Snow Patrol, even if, as we are still trying to recall, they supported 18 Wheeler at a gig at the Point in Oxford that we had the misfortune to catch in 1998. We do seem to have thought until last night that it was the 'Wheeler that were using the ill-advised samples. But then on come Snow Patrol, who sound lovely and rich until we notice that the Budweiser has robbed us of the ability to care when there isn't a string section on stage. Ho-hum. For what it's worth, the first songs were joyish, and damn me if the singer isn't a charming brute. But later on they seemed to get bogged down with overwrought ballads, which we can never bear. But Gringcorp would be the first to admit that we essentially blindly approve of the AC/DC and Supersuckers policies on ballads - "throw them down the well, so we can be free". So, better than Travis, but we still suspect that one of members has had a kid or something, and his wife's started talking about things like mortgages. That'll have you talking to the nice man from Sony, sure as Bruce Ratner builds terrible malls.

Anyway, we just flew back from DC, and our brain's turned to goo. There was a fair amount of turbulence and some impressive rudeness from the US Airways check-in staff, as if the Chapter 7 unwinding filing is a foregone conclusion. We also read the entirety of both New York and the New Yorker, but will probably take overnight to process them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Get In The Ring

So, we finally saw a show at Southpaw where the sound was good. Yep, the Sahara Hotnights were on fine form, cranking out the riffs, and also, but not quite, persuading the crowd to go mentol. Yes, we can see the bits stolen from early Aerosmith, but these were quality riffs - not the really brutal, but not quite compelling riffs you hear on, say The Kills' records. They're infinitely better than The Donnas, who always sounded like Shampoo without the slapper charm.

But we cannot comment on the Everyothers, despite their MP3s stoking up our interest. We assumed that their power pop sound would go down mighty well with a few Brooklyn Lagers. But twas not to be, and we would like to blame that on stupid ass-clown bankers that prevented Gringcorp's companion, a lawyer, from having a night off.

The irony of this was that we have been somewhat immersed in Anonymous Lawyer's blog, which seems to consist of an ever-so-tough hiring partner acting like Donald Trump for an audience of rapt law school students. We think the author makes a reasonable case for how highly-paid service professionals have to be at the beck and call of their clients, and does it very lucidly. And he's a little too sophisticated to use the "we all went through hell, so now it's your turn" argument, which never made sense to Gringcorp when he was swabbing down the showers at an english boarding school (Sidebar - George Monbiot, scourge of snobs, polluters and the Private Finance Initiative, went to Stowe. Who knew?). But if as partner you can indulge in an afternoon's golf at the same time every week, then you should have enough control over your clients to stop your staff getting dumped on every night for three weeeks. But you indulge them. Because you've perfected a way to earn hundreds of thousand dollars a year while still being an utter coward.

Tonight, as part of a determined effort to put the Rock back into our Rock Pig Blog, we will be in front of Snow Patrol

Monday, September 13, 2004

Go Team Brooklyn

"Come To Red Hook, The Home Of Trust Fund Babies With Cars!" Yes, we have been hideously overusing this line, but it just seems so perfect. But we can't find the reference on google, only this in the cache. But, we would add, we think Red Hook is brilliant, especially how patient the locals are. There they are, just sitting waiting for the B61 at one o'clock in the morning, when some drunken characters from Parts Elsewhere come over and start mumbing about directions to Lillie's and other Hep Venues. The temptation to chop them up, steal their shopping, and dump them in the East River in the expectation that the deaths willl be treated as the outcome of some obscure, albeit brutal, stevedoring dispute, must be overwhelming. For the record, Lillie's was monstro-fun, as was Sunny's, and we're cross that we did not sample the kolsch at the Old Pioneer. Anyway, snatch up your inappropriate footwear, and head here for a potted guide that will prevent you looking foolish in front of bus-users. Don't be fooled by the fact it's a food guide, the compilers have used some pretty elastic definitions to include all the bars.

Where did we see that nice young man from last night's Garden State? Ah. We didn't. We saw the trailers, though. And if anyone says we watch NBC after 10am, their upside the head will be hurting. Soon-style.

Tonight we will be the guests of the Sahara Hotnights. Wish us luck

Michael Keaton - the truth

We are a big fan of the line, from Michael Keaton's otherwise horrible movie The Paper, which goes "I don't live in the world, I live in New York City, so go f*** yourself". And we are less of a fan of those only-in-New-York lists you get clogging up your email or inflicted upon you in the Penny Dreadful.

But I was drawn to musing on this weird factoid from the Observer. Wal-Mart's sales are the size of the GDP of Poland. Wal-Mart CEO H Lee Scott has been voted the world's most powerful man by, er, noted business title Vanity Fair. But the majority of New Yorkers will never have set foot inside one of his stores.

We know that at least sixty per cent of our readers will be awaiting our thoughts on Red Hook ("Come to Red Hook, the home of trust fund babies with cars!"). All in good time, children.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Claris Works, Anyone?

Gringcorp's evening computer, the delightful iBook G4, does not carry Microsoft Word, since Microsoft has decided it will cost us $300. We decided that the one that came with the Mac would do nicely.

As such, we are always amused by people, usually first time computer users, that assume that in word processing there has always been a choice between Microsoft Word and the Guttenburg bible printing method. The fact that Word can replicate the Bush memos proves nothing, and to use it as proof that the Bush memos are fake seems to dismiss some very hardcore work in typesetting in the last 100 years.

Seems to be the sort of logic that would come from people who were told by computer salesmen that they "will be amazed what the PC can do for your PTA newsletter".

So the Texas Air National Guard used a confusing jumble of equipment. They were also home to a Champagne squadron that lost one of its best-connected, er, ace pilots, for almost a year. Expecting them to score uniform IBM gear seems a tad optimistic.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

A Poor Lie

We would like to pretend, as Kos so primly does, that we would rather not be hearing oodles of Bush cocaine and service-dodging rumors, but that the Republicans dragged discourse down. Screw that, we want the filth, after several years of seeing liberals dragged through the mud. Tell me, fellow lefters, if it was not good to see the Daily News leading with the military record fibs, rather than the rain that paralysed our previously inveencibol subway system? Go on, you love it, you slags.

It's also time to get something off our chest about NY1, which has been running this series of pointless and jarring Golf Reports, largely at the behest of advertiser Callaway Golf, as far as we can tell. As someone with a reasonable familiarity with paying to publish, we can say it works best when the content is wanted. This is the latest sign of complacency from a channel that decided that a traffic update and broadcasting from inside Madison Square Garden was a better way to serve New Yorkers than to discuss what was going on outside in the city. Why was the Village Voice a better source on the demonstrations? Still, we do like that nice Canadian boy, Pat, wherever he broadcasts.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Hell Hole

So, if you came in from Brooklyn to Manhattan and aren't feeling grumpy right now, you probably own a helicopter, or left reeelly early. Yep, mass chaos on mass transit enabled our fair denizens to show their true stuff. To wit, we are selfish sods to a man and woman, and equate moving down the carriage to hauling down the flag anywhere. We were relatively isolated, thanks to our towering size and noise-cancelling headphones, which sometimes create weird feedback, but are largely a blessing. They don't look like the iPod ones, either, and we're an inverted snob that way. So, while all around there was nastiness and elbows, we were rocking out to Alice In Chains. And we have to say it was very appropriate. So we add "being stuck on the 4/5 line due to flooding and signal failure" to "being on skag" as suitable situations for listening to Alice In Chains.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Song Of Lifeboats

Hmmm, seems like certain UK commentators (yes, that's you, Mr. Aaronovitch) seem to be taking the Bush post-convention poll bounce more seriously than they should....

Here, There Is Only Tranquility

Sorry, kids, been a while, but Gringcorp was busy on the day job. Nice that the Republicans are gone, not so nice that it's actually got harder to get a cab in Midtown. We were mostly barbequeing at Le Weekend, although we tried to make it to the Warm Up at PS1, featuring Derrick may and Francois K. As might be expected, since we arrived at 4.30, the museum had queues round three sides of the block. So we went to the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, and damn was it good. We had chanced upon the collection when it was squatting on a floor of the African art museum further east in Queens, and it looked rather ropey, to be honest. Now, however we are assaulted by gorgeous lighting, perfect settings, sound effects, and cinderblock rooms full of polished stones. All this, plus a very pleasant garden, with the best thought-out tree placements we have ever seen, and Gringcorp has hung with professional foresters.

We did go to the West Indian Day Parade, but didn't see any trouble (quick, unrelated, question, where do all the Hasids go during this?), had some jerk chicken and goat roti, and went home. No pictures, but at least four memories. Coming up later, an only marginally useful review of the weekend's British papers.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


Tony Blair just got a rousing cheer at the republican convention. But then again, so did Berlusconi.

It It Safe?

Should try and sell this to Leno, but settled for posting on Atrios instead

"The last time I was this scared of a man called Zell was the dentist scene in Marathon Man"



Heeere's Lyndon

Lyndon Larouche may be a rubbish fundraiser, but he has his devotees. Here's Jack shafer on the nut job that is Dennis Hastert. And here we were, thinking we were the only ones reading his stuff...

Larouche thinks that George Soros, like that dear sweet man the Duke of Edinburgh before him, is a drug lord. And so does Hastert.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Oi! Away From Those Lifeboats!

Despite Mr. Marshall's pleas for the Democrats to stop panicking, you know the conventional wisdom is flowing against you, when the Times prefaces its coverage of your attack by noting that being feisty is just what your advisers have pressed for.

In our humble opinion, the Dems have yet to realise that while candidates and their campaigns have to use campaign spokesmen for the pretty nasty stuff, and 527s for the unspeakable stuff, the candidates should say some fairly snide stufff themselves, and no-one minds it too much. We don't think this is just, as Slate notes, an Edwards thing, or even O'Reilly's leading "so is Dick Cheney the attack dog equivalent of Gore" (shan't link, you can't make us). We think they forgot that a lot of people liked Dean because he didn't simper, and seemed to remember that politics is about arguments.

But hey, we're biased, just like we are on the subject of dentists that don't do what they're told. Bad, Dentist! Bad!

Apparently there was quite a tasty fracas near our ooffice while we were working late. It's very frustrating being kept inside while all the other children are playing (that's referring to reporters, not anarchists, cyber-dudes). Still talking about the fuzz, note the fibs about evil protestors are still going, as Mr. Curtis from Slate notes.

A lieutenant, who would give only his last name, Johnson, told me one of the protesters was carrying a vial of creamy liquid with the word "POLICE" scrawled in Magic Marker.

On balance though, we've been quite taken by the politeness of the rozzers round here, although we will bow to those who've been able to watch them arrest people apparently at random. The NY Press notes the dubious logic leading up to the creation of the Wessside holding pen, and has a fair shake at coining "Gitmo On The Hudson", although the AP seems to have the more thorough account of its conditions.