Thursday, June 30, 2005

If This Was An mp3 Blog, Today's Haul Would Be Plangent

It was, as far as Ian Svenonius was concerned, a natural thing to sing about if you had a yen for yeh-yeh. Make-Up's retro-futurism was easily buried underr the wails and chocolate references, but it crops up here on Destination: Love, with International Airport. Can you tell where we're going with this, children? We're about to have a falling out with the preacher.

Airports are no longer pleasant places of civilised commerce and unlimited possibilities. To pretend otherwise constitutes Lies and Delusions, and are thus Barriers to Revelation. In fact, if Ian Svenonius had been exposed to as many rotten experiences as yours truly, the frustrations, the yomps, the chewings out, and the wasted hours, he would almost certainly walk out of the offices of K Records out into the hills above Olympia, and join Kurt Cobain's relatives in thee logging industry. With luck, he'd never go near a Hammond again.

Oh, and the flight attendants no longer have hair like Michelle Mae. Not even in the wood paneled departure lounge bit, which is where we're plonked right now venting. Feh. Bring us sleep.

Alain Delon won't pour you champers now, child.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

We 'Ate The Tab

Sporting Chancers
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
As you might have been able to tell, the walk down St Bride Street between Bloomsbury and Blackfriars is a central part of our working day when in London. When we get towards the end there is a newsagent/newsstand on the right. We always glance over at the papers, really just to get an idea of what's playing in the mmarketplace of popular opinion. Especially if we don't catch the round-up on Newsnight.

But our attention is always caught by the expanse of female flesh towards the right. We say always, because the second paper from the right always carries an expanse of female flesh. And this is because the newsagent always puts the Daily Sport in this position.

The Sport, founded by wide-boy pornographer David Sullivan, knows there is a fine line between cheeky, leering tabloid sleaze and full-blown filth. And veers wildly over it. Founded in 1986, it originally carved out a niche as a less responsible version of The Sun, but now exists as an advertisement for Sullivan's porn ventures. What we can't get, not for the life of us, is why the newsagent puts it in such a prominent position, unless it is to trick the subconscious of casual passersby into driving them inside.

On another note, we shall be back in New York City, the city so great Jon Spencer namechecked it a thousand times, from tomorrow. So we go back to being a limeyblogger again. Huzzzah.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Scape The Ape

We were hoping to bring you the final installment of our St Bride Street photo trilogy, a series that will be justly praised by blogologists and Flickr-geeks to come. But we mislaid the USB cable, so it will have to keep. But it's reeeeeelly good, honest.

In the meantime, a teensy rant about the remnants of empire, sparked by this story in today's New York Times. It involves, monkeys, clowing, and irritated expatriates, which are some of ur favourite things. It has this awesome little sentence, which shoulld make register right now, and go and read the whole thing:

"Little did Churchill envision how big the monkey population would grow, nor the shenanigans that would come along with it."

The residents of Gibraltar have only three ways of making money: offshore finance, usually involving brass-plaque companies, which is ever so slightly shady, people recreating the opening scene from The Living Daylights, and monkeys. And apparently the monkeys are hugely pissing off the locals by stealing their crisps.

Now, this whinging attitude is typical of Brits that end up abroad. Yes, even the ones in America. And the Brits located in precarious and nonsensical colonies established less than 400 years ago tend to be among the worst. We single out for attention here the Gibraltarians and Ulster Unionists, clinging to an ideal of Britishness that no longer exists. In fact a surly rejection of British authority is probably the Pitcairn Islanders' only redeeming feature.

Now that said, it's their crisps, and if they don't want to give them away then they should be left unmolested. The monkeys? Some kind of mixture of contraceptives and accidentally-on-purpose bad driving should help reduce numbers. Ape-clubbing is not a sport we'd want to wish on the nippers.

Monday, June 27, 2005

G*d-damn Uros

We just noticed this quirky little story on the inhabitants of the Uros Islands, a group of floating reed islands inhabited by pre-Inca indians off the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru. The BBC has a short thing on their dying way of life, although given the precariousness of their situation we'd say they've had a fairly good innings.

We visited the islands about eight years ago, as a backpacker, and it was one of those situations that made us reallise that we're not cut out to be a world traveller, at least not the sort that visits the poorer sections. Roughing it we don't mind, heat we don't mind, but we can't escape, no matter how much we try the feelings of guilt about our comparative wealth.

Yes, buying some of the reed sculptures would probably have done them more good than agonising over inequality. But we didn't really feel that being herded around an island peering down at the sculpturess did either of us any good. And on another note, we could be wrong, but the islands are always sinking, and the Indians have to constantly replenish the reeds on the islands to keep them afloat.

We'd imagine that the task has been made much harder on one of the islands because of the presence of a huge Seventh Day Adventist church, which is a fair bit heavier than your average reed hut. But we probably should check that slander of religion a bit more carefully.

Midlantic Monstro-idiocy

We were out boozing yesterday at such diverse spots as the awesome tapas joint Cigala and chav mecca Spice Island. So we don't really have a coherent thought in our head right now.

So we'll instead highlight a couple of things that will make us look like a smarty-pants. The first thig was the following nugget from top centrist McCain frotter and former right wing thug Marshall Whitman in his Bull Moose blog. Whitman thinks that framing policy questions by looking at how King of the Hill's Hank Hill might look at them might be a good way to peel of wary Republican voters inn western states. It's seductive stuff, and makes a certain amount of sense when it adresses voters' values. The entry draws heavily on a New York Times piece on North Carolina governor Mike Easley. Who promptly exposes the idea for the corporate-sponsored nonsense that it is:

"Voters like Hank, if they had heard about it on the evening news, would have supported Easley's ''Clean Smokestacks'' law, which forced North Carolina's coal-powered electric plants to burn cleaner, but only because industry was a partner in the final bill, rather than its target.'"

So, Mr. Hill would be completely happy nodding long to drivelly lobbyist-drafted nonsense about "partnership with the industry" rather than asking whether the damn thing would have reduced asthma rates. Riiiiiiiight.

Next up, an impressive haul of nonsense for such a short nib in the Observer's Pendennis column:

"Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell empire has upset American media firm Wenner Media by poaching the editor of its New York Daily News to launch a US version of OK! magazine. Nicola McCarthy, who was editor in chief of the British OK! title until 2004, quit last month as an executive editor of the US weekly, where she was paid $240,000 a year, plus bonus. But Desmondo's launch plans for his new mag have hit a snag. Court papers stipulate that McCarthy is now prohibited from 'working for a competing magazine' before 25 April 2006."

By stealing a story from the NY Daily News, the diary has unfortunately conflated it with the aggrieved party. The Wenner title is of course US Weekly, which is, as Pendennis notes, weekly, unlike the, um, Daily News. Bad, cut and pasting diarist! Bad!

We're going to see the White Stripes in Coney in September. Huzzah!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Of Morons And Their Court Rulings

So, we can grab a little bit of time at the end of Friday (London time) to rant a bit more about our homeland. We also sort of trying to avoid a looming thunder storm outside. But you will be pleased to know that we have been, er, approved for re-entry, and should, god and the mail willing, be back over spouting this drivel about a small stretch of Fifth Avenue rather than a small strip of St Bride's street.

Realty TV holds an occasional attraction for us, especially the type practiced by the flamboyant loons that inhabit US screens. The version with commoners is less exciting, if only because the performers are more likely to be nasty, brutish and short. But for god's sake entertain us, and remember that's what you're there for. Big Brother, the earliest of the realty shows, fancies itself as a bit of anthropology in action, which means it's slightly cheaper, and it

The person we were watching it with fancied themselves as a bit of a mini-Burchill, only less frightening and provocative. They certainly didn't like us calling the chimps in the Big Brother house "morons", even though every single one of them, with their tedious catchphrases, petty and inexplicable squabbles, fits of surliness, and complete obliviousness to their own best interests, most assuredly was.

We won't bore you with a run-down on each character, except to note that the only characters that seem to make any practical contribution to the welfare of their housemates are likely to be expelled by the same. The conversation between them has made us want to drink ourselves to death and the arguments between them make us ashamed of our homeland. In fact the only reason we're sat at work writing this entry is that there's a horrible likelihood it will be on tonight.

So a more concise answer than we gave to the Burchill child is this. We don't look down on them, we don't think we're superior, we just thing their actions and attitudes are a disgrace to humans everywhere. 350 million media studies graduates can't be wrong and all that. But these people need to be sent to work on floating fish processing factories for eternity.

A Brief aside. We note with trepidation the horrible supreme court ruling in the Kelso versus New London case, which says essentially that people cannot be trusted to yuppify neighborhoods themselves, and can be forced to sell their property to well-connected developers to achieve the same.

This does, you're damn right, look bad for the owners of Freddy's, who would now have to sell their land to some guy who says that watching basketball is a better use of one's spare time than arguing with drunks. It removes one obstacle to the building of a stupid arena that no-one wants in our adopted section. There are, however, others. We will need them.

The Cab Coral

The Cab Coral
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
It is universally considered to be a sod trying to catch a cab at rush hour in London, and any attempts to alleviate this situation with incentives have worked about as well as might be expected for an incentive directed at an industry with a rigid and static supply of participants.

Some people think it's absolutely awesome to have taxis run by a small band of knowledgable white cockneys. It is true that as a result no tourist has ever been driven to Inverness by accident, and that racists spend less time and money driving into London themselves.

So why on earth, if we can't hail cabs easily, and have to go straight from the official cabs to frightening gypsy drivers with no slightly inept middle ground, are drivers allowed to swan around servicing corporate accounts. Are there no minicab (car service) firms that can do this?

So Deloittes, we'd like to thank you for tying up so many of these well-trained reactionaries outside your office at peak hours. We'd stop using your accounting services, but we already did, with rather mixed results.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Brix And Torture

This is the first time we have ever done this, but we started a post yesrterday and sort of got sidetracked. We were probably just going to talk about the perverts that alight on our good, clean site.

Well, that and talk about Brixton, where we were offered more narcotics in a 100-metre walk than we have in the last decade. And far more than we have any interest in these days. The place has now morphed into Kentish Town, this skanky High Street with a few adventurous restaurants, a few scruffy pubs and some delightful terraced houses nearby. This is sick inside-out gentrification London-style, like dropping the Eastern end of Fulton Street into Carroll Gardens.

We grew up in Brixton, and still recognise it, which is peculiar, since we haven't set eyes on it properly since 1985. Can't say we'd like to live there, but right now we would be perfectly content if nuclear winter struck this metropolis, reducing the inhabitants to keening neanderthals. Yep, today has been that sweaty and that infested with a**holes.

A quick note about this Downing Street Memo, which is honestly only about the fifth suckiest thing to come out of London this year. We were going to get all excercised about Mr. Hitchen's latest outburst, and then this minion of Ariana does it for me.

Mr. Hitchens is very important, for sure. But the charge that is reinforced by the Downing Street is not that the president lied to Christopher, which is obviously very hard to do because he is very clever and well-connected. It is that he lied to the broad mass of the people that are wont to get some very peculiar notions into their heads. Like that Sadaam planned 9-11. And he did that masterfully. Unfortunately, while the daily papers probably believe that, they are unable to give it voice, because it would make them look like snotty elitists. Now that's karma.

Now, we drink.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Whine Of The Mariners' Victim

What with the literary reference, and the fact that it's just not a very good pun, we'll never get a job on the sports page of the Post. Not, when it comes down to it, that we want to. And if we're linking to the write-ups in the New York Times, we should probably keep the commenting on sports to a minimum.

Really, we're just linking to the Times because they manage to concoct and fluff a narrative out of a team's recent travails in a way that illuminates the subject for a casual well-wisher like ourselves. And the narrative is that the Mets stink. Of course, we've been here before. In fact, we've been here before this season.

What is most interesting is not that this happens every year, although summer collapses by the Mets are to be expected, but that it happens at the exact same time every year. To whit, whenever we leave New York City. And we leave every summmer at about the same time, for day-job related reasons to tedious to recount.

Indeed, we even sense a neat twist on this truism. We left for Hawaii on the 3rd May, and for the next week they performed relatively abysmally, and since we have been in the UK, they have been getting served by some of the worst teams in the American League. This is disheartening to those of us with a misplaced and residual loyalty towards the NL (get out a face a pitch, you craven popinjays!).

But in the annals of Mets-dom, it is frighteningly familiar. God, or at least his cohorts at the State Department, willing, we will be back for the weekend of the fourth, and will be hoping for an improvement, should be grace the doomed Shea stadium for a laast time.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Tonight We Rock Broughton Vale

And you're gonna see some breaking, and some scratching, and some breaking, and some more scratching. If you thought tht was an impeccable Freestylers reference you'd be only on this occasion wrong. Because here in North Lincolnshire there will be found only Rampaging Animals, and no B-Boys whatsoever. Gringcorp is back in the bosom of his birth-givers, but has decided to spare you the pitchahs of ordinary country folks with pitchforks (the real, non-snark ones) and strangely blank stares.

Since we have slept for 14 hours, and only read a teensy bit of the Actual Print Guardian, we don't have a huge amount to talk about. So we will wish you the best of the Meadowlands-induced fog if you are in NYC, and the best of the EU-induced poverty, if you are a Colonel Pooter-esque figure living in London, and amble off for another nap.

Last note - Trent Reznor's manager must have left him worse off than we thought. Nine Inch Nails are now charging people $30 a year for the right to maybe get advance show tickets. We're sure it'll discourage a few of the eBay trolls, but still seems a bit steep given how unlikely one is to get access to the good stuff.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Fairy Busted

Quick note to the stupid "all your head girls are belong to us, aren't accidents, like, horrible" Gothamist people. Stop gurgling about stupid played out publicity shot ideas for stupid played out overhyped downtown bands. "Oooh, they wear fairy lights, on their shirts, just how creative is that?" About as creative as what top Scots-American pop-funksters Reno's Men were doing at Brownies back in 2000. With an audience of three drunks and a succession of baffled door staff. Still, no-one read Pitchfork back then, did they?

Sorry, that was probably completely unnecessary, but we're grouchy and jetlagged, and we really do find their tone way too earnest.

Sorry, Jen, been done before with much more panache.

From Limey To Piney

We've commented before on the rotten changes that modern life and crude commerce have inflicted in the classic English boozer. You know, the ones with no, or bad, food, mishapen clientele and tragically cheerful staff.

What we tend to encounter these days, in places as diverse as Holland Park, the centre of Lincoln, and top demolisher-of-Gringcorp Polzeath, is a stripped-down, bare pine, tastefully, but relentlessly, lit wine bar. Such places are, we will own, a lot more pleasant for ladies and non-drunks to patronise, but lack soul and are not very comfy.

So we're walking down Bride's Street on the way to our London office, when we're diverted by the signage that you can see at left. It looked like a house fashioned from purest pole-dancing, because it didn't have any windows and had potted shrubs outside. But while we didn't step inside, it had a menu outside, and the sign said:

You’re with a client. You have to work late.
You’re best mate’s upset.
Alibi… Any Excuse.

This illiterate slogan from their website. The place is evidently an afterwork watering hole, since it nestles close to three other similarly-apppointed places.

It's more of a club, we would grudgingly suppose, and thus we are unlikely to grace it any time soon, and the only reason we mention it is that it has the same name as top Fort Greene Brooklyn Pennant and Soccer-pimping sh*thole the Alibi (pronounced Ah-Lee-Bee), and we suddenly felt a mite homesick. See, the Alibi on DeKalb Avenue is a proper boozer.

We would also like to wish Mig-Hell a speedy recovery. He picked up something ghastly in Atlanta, as best as we can tell. Can't say we're too surprised, given how unsavoury we've found the place, but it's still a bummer.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Bay Silly Hollas

A little bonus photo post here, from our recent cool island travels. This is the extremely tediously composed view from the Turtle Bay Resort. Pleasant enough, and the more eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the cojones nestling along the skyline.

These are the spylicious balls of the Comsat installation, which could well be top secret, although it is listed on more than one map. It is a distant cousin of Fylingdales, where we plan to set our breakthrough young novel.

But given our current travails, we will draw a veil there. Wish us luck in the old country.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

How Many Legions Has Michael Chertoff?

Far too many, we fear. For the USCIS is again on the march, and we must submit. Not merely to their will, but to a short-to-long-ish sojourn in London, the home of greasy people with a narrow outlook, but some fine ales. What do you call a limeyblogger, nay the Dean of Limeybloggers, when they cease to be limeys? A plonker, that's what. Still, we should be able to keep up the good work, maybe even with pictchahs.

So, how has Hawai'i been? Absolutely mystifying. It's certainly mystifying that it's so fun, given that there are no ne'erdowells on the streets after 10, no drunks, divebars, peculiar restaurants, or rude people. Here on the North Shore, the Mormon is King, or Deacon, and thus smoking and drinking are in several precincts somewhat illicit. And in others, very dampened. If that makes us sound homesick for the NYC, and if you would surmise that we're mighty cross to only have 36 hours before heading back to the land that brought us Richard Branson, you'd be right on both counts.

If, on the other hand, you have surmised from the ever-so-slight southern inflection that we have brought to our self-pitying screed that we have been reading Bone Boy Wolfe's Man In Full, you are so inside our head that you are either the Supreme Being or Cutesome, and in either case we bow in respect. Where were we? Sunstroke? Ah, yes, booze.

But the sun, the sea, the sand, and the fruity drinks keep coming, and we have cast off much of our pasty hue. The slight pinking that we have acquired will far poorly next to some of the orange specimens that will be trolling around London, but we will be safe in the knowledge that this ain't no Canvey Island tan.

Incongruous things. The Waimea Audubon Centre. Has a waterfall, very romantic, just like tail, only for safety reasons carpeted with yellow warning signs that make it resemble nothing so much as the produce aisle in Tescos. Second one, the Polynesian Cultural Center, run by the Mormons as an adjunct to their Brigham Young campus. Looks like a pretty good deal – young men and women get scholarships to an American college and in return they dance for tourists five hours a day.

Looks authoritative, although the exhibitions have a standard of flashness that would be shamed by the Commonwealth Institute (look, we know we should be using more links here, but time is of the essence, and with regard to the previous reference, just visit the place next time you have the misfortune to be in Kensington). We also note that it's kind of rare in that it seems to revel in the wholesale changes brought about in Polynesian societies by the new religion. And to resent the influence of the British on the area. (possibly because Captain Cook was y enough to be killed in a cool island fashion).

Oy vey. TTFN, and you'll be hearing a glorious Flickr-enhanced bunch from us next week. Stay dangerous, and good luck Jethro.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Would You Say You Had a Plethora Of Limos?

Greetings from Oahu, island of a thousand limos, very little internet, and the sun-kissed reason for our silence. We are sorry you were not warned. the inner Mark Felt thought that surprise was the key. We have no way of posting pictures right now, although neither did Atrios when he went away. We toyed with asking Mig-Hell to guest blog, but feared for the profanity and art-rock liability. In any case, being a big flash mp3 blog, and all that, he would, rightly, have bristled at the subservience it suggested.

We have few huge insights on Hawaii to offer, although it's the most colonial bit of the US of A we have ever visited, and looks just like Tora! Tora! Tora!. Diamond Head was glorious, and not good for one's health, the iced coffee is somewhat dubious, and the Ocean Club has illicit smoky thrills we have not encountered since Oxford's Park End.

Tonight, we rock the home of the Mai Tai, and the Cheesecake Factory. Stay fragrant.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Love Gun Salute

This could get boring quite quickly, but we have decided, in honour of top pimptastic anonymous source Mark Felt, to steal an 80's mugshot of him and use it as our profile. It's what he would have wanted, right, Hoover-disciple and hippie-burglar? The reason, quite simply, is that All The President's Men is our favourite film ever. The sight of Hal Holbrook, who played Big Daddy Felt, screaming "morality! it's about morality!" at NY1's cameras, brought it all back.

Light posting, children, remember, but we should draw your attention to the rally that Develop Don't Destroy is holding next week. They are still protesting the revolting stadium that the mayor wants to dump all over the neighbourhood. We'll be away, but do urge you to go, if you are in town. There will be evil Bruce Ratner clowns and pie.