Cameron and the pig: how much did Brooker know?

September 21, 2015 at 4:47 pm (Champagne Charlie, comedy, Conseravative Party, David Cameron, good honest filth, telly, Tory scum)

 Above: a still from Black Mirror’s ‘The National Anthem’ episode, Channel 4, Dec 4 2011
 Charlie BrookerVerified account @charltonbrooker 17h17 hours ago

Perhaps the least prescient line from the script.

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The wit and wisdom of Lord Sewel

July 27, 2015 at 6:42 pm (Beyond parody, comedy, good honest filth, posted by JD)

Now Lord Sewel is pictured 'wearing a prostitute's bra'The Front of the Sun (Picture: The Sun)

We at Shiraz wouldn’t endorse every single one of fun-loving Lord Sewel’s assessments of leading politicians, but much of what he told his lady friends was very shrewd. It would surely be a pity to lose the services of  such a witty and insightful political analyst and student of the human condition (what follows is from The Sun and quoting that rag with approval must be a first for us):

What the lewd Lord said about bigwigs…

Cam, Boris, Salmond and Corbyn
Cam, Boris, Salmond and Corbyn

ON DAVID CAMERON – Most facile, superficial PM there’s ever been

ON BORIS JOHNSON – He’s a joke.. a public school upper class twit

ON ALEX SALMOND – I saw silly pompous prat holding court

ON JEREMY CORBYN – Useless.. a romantic left wing idiot

Burnham, Kendall, Cooper and Blair
Burnham, Kendall, Cooper and Blair

ON ANDY BURNHAM – He goes whichever way the wind blows

ON LIZ KENDALL – God, what’s her name? Just too naïve really

ON YVETTE COOPER – OK, but not strong. Not bright enough

ON TONY BLAIR – Went to war because of love affair with Bush

Cherie, McClusky and Osborne
Cherie, McClusky and Osborne

ON CHERIE BLAIR – Very ambitious.. obsessed with money

ON LEN McCLUSKEY – Minimalise influence of this f***ing idiot

ON GEORGE OSBORNE – Very, very consummate politician.. he’ll be PM

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The most laughable, preposterous and irrelevant left-wing faction fight … ever

January 29, 2014 at 9:21 pm (Beyond parody, comedy, ex-SWP, fantasy, gloating, good honest filth, James P. Cannon, jerk, Jim D, middle class, perversity, political groups, Pornography, Racism, strange situations, surrealism, wankers)

I was going to put a question-mark at the end of that headline, but on reflection decided not to. I think we can be unequivocal about this.

When I was a callow young Trotskyist and James P. Cannon fan, older, more experienced comrades told me that Cannon’s organisation, the American SWP (no relation to the Brit group of the same name) had gone off the rails very badly in the 1950’s, when Cannon began to take a back seat and handed the reins over to lesser figures like Joseph Hansen. Evidence of this petty bourgeois degeneration, I was told, was a ludicrous faction fight over the question of women’s cosmetics that threatened to tear the SWP apart. In the end, good ol’ James P. came out of semi-retirement to bang heads together and tell Hansen and the comrades to get a grip and stop arguing about such irrelevant nonsense. Anyway, that’s how I remember being told about it.

As you can imagine, I never (until now) took the trouble to investigate the matter in any detail, but if you’re interested, quite a good account is given here, and you can even read some of the contemporaneous internal documents here, if you scroll down to No. A-23, October 1954. On the other hand, like myself when I was first told about the Great Cosmetics Faction Fight (GCFF), you may feel that life’s too short…

The point being, that I’ve always carried round in the back of my mind a vague recollection of the GCFF as a prime example of petty bourgeois leftist irrelevance, and probably the most ridiculous and laughable left-group factional dispute of all time.

Until now.

The recent row within the International Socialist Network, resulting in the resignations of some of its most prominent members, makes the SWP’s GCFF look quite down to earth and sensible. If you ever wanted an example of why serious, socialist-inclined working class people all too often regard the far left as a bunch of irrelevant, posturing tossers, this is it. Don’t ask me what it’s all about, or what “race play” is. Comrade Coatesy gives some helpful background here and here. More detail for the serious connoisseur (aka “more discerning customer” wink, wink, reaching under the counter) here and here.

I’ll simply add, for now, that this preposterous business does appear to be genuine (rather than, as some might reasonably suspect, an exercise in sitautionist performance art and/or anti-left political satire) and is also one of those rather pleasing situations in which no-one in their right mind cares who wins: both sides are unspeakably awful self-righteous jerks. Actually, the ISN majority strike me as, if anything, even worse than Seymour, Miéville and their friend “Magpie” – if that’s possible. Still, it’s hard not to endulge in just a little schadenfreude at the discomfiture of Richard “Partially Contingent” Seymour, a character who’s made a minor career out of sub-Althussarian pretentiousness and “anathematising” others on the left for their real or imagined transgressions against “intersectionality“, and now falls victim to it himself.

Those who live by intersectionality, die by intersectionality.

Or, as Seymour himself put it in his seminal postgraduate thesis  Patriarchy and the capitalist state:

“My suggestion is that as an analytic, patriarchy must be treated as one type of the more general phenomena of gender projects which in certain conjunctures form gender formations. What is a gender formation? I am drawing a direct analogy with Omi and Winant’s conception of racial formations, which comprises “the sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed … historically situated projects in which human bodies and social structures are represented and organized.” This is connected “to the evolution of hegemony, the way in which society is organized and ruled,” in the sense that racial projects are linked up with wider repertoires of hegemonic practices, either enabling or disrupting the formation of broad ruling or resistant alliances. A gender formation would thus be a ’sociohistorical process’ in which gender categories are ‘created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed’ through the interplay and struggle of rival gender projects. From my perspective, this has the advantage of grasping the relational, partially contingent and partially representational nature of gendered forms of power, and providing a means by which patriarchy can indeed be grasped in relation to historical materialism.”

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Samuel L. Jackson says “Wake The Fuck Up!”

September 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm (celebrity, Champagne Charlie, Democratic Party, elections, good honest filth, Republican Party, United States)

I am still far from convinced that US socialists should vote for Obama, but I have to admit that the more we see and hear that ignorant, dangerous jerk Romney, the more difficult it becomes to resist the lure of lesser-evilism.

However, I offer the film below not to in order to endorse Obama, but because it’s such an extraordinary production. It certainly puts the typical Brit “party election broadcast” to shame. Enjoy…

And on the subject of Obama-cool, here are a few pseudo-Blue Note album covers that I just stumbled across:

196724 276549335787194 128498206 n Jazz For Obama 2012: The benefit concert and the mock album covers542353 276907849084676 545146993 n Jazz For Obama 2012: The benefit concert and the mock album covers

262388 280732225368905 50012304 n Jazz For Obama 2012: The benefit concert and the mock album coverstumblr m9zy0he2401qmvhifo1 r2 500 Jazz For Obama 2012: The benefit concert and the mock album covers

H/t (album covers): Bruce R

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Get ready for Bloomsday!

June 15, 2012 at 6:37 am (BBC, good honest filth, Ireland, Jim D, literature, modernism, surrealism)

(FILES) An undated reproduction of a pho

James Joyce: all day on Radio 4

Saturday 16 June is Bloomsday, the date that the apparently mundane perambulations of the characters in Ulysses take place. Joyce’s novel is one of the great milestones in modernism, but there’ no denying that it’s heavy going and probably ranks asa one of the great unread books of the twentieth century. I gave up a few years ago at the chapter that begins “Deshil Holles Eamus. Deshil Holles Eamus. Deshil Holles Eamus. Send us bright one, light one Horhorn, quickening and wombfruit…”
People who’ve struggled through to the end tell me it’s well worth the time and effort: a rich, boozy, bawdy, song-filled celebration of words and thoughts, centred round the kindly figure of Poldy Bloom (though his unfaithful, sex-loving wife Molly and Joyce’s alter ego Stephen Dedalus are, in their ways, equally as important). Like many others, I’ve long promised myself that one day I’ll finish it.
Well now the BBC is doing at least some of the hard graft for me and my fellow Ulysses-shirkers. Tomorrow, Radio 4 is devoting the entire day to the novel, with a five-and-a-half hour unabridged dramatisation, punctuated by Mark Lawson in Dublin, discussing the book’s place in twentieth century literature. Henry Goodman, who plays Poldy in the dramatisation, will start the ball rolling by cooking kidneys on the Today programme. Molly’s Bloom’s stream of consciousness soliloquy (where most of the really racy stuff comes) is, conveniently for the BBC, at the end of the novel and so after the 9.00 pm watershed.
It may seem an indulgence on the part of Radio 4 to devote an entire day to one book – even a book as important as this one. No doubt some listeners will object, although news, Any Questions and Women’s Hour will survive non non-Joycean form. But Radio 4 is supposed to be about serious current affairs coverage and arts programming. It’s supposed to educate as well as entertain. It’s supposed to treat its audience, in other words, as adults. Which is why I’m looking forward to Bloomsday – and the prospect is all the sweeter because (if only for one blessed week), it means the disapperance of the insufferable Saturday Live, a programme whose twee middle class banality represents everything that Radio 4 must not be allowed to become.
Yes I said yes I will Yes.

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Sorry, Mr Lear: limericks need filth

May 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm (Champagne Charlie, comedy, good honest filth, history, literature, surrealism)

NB: the following post contains strong language that some readers may find offensive:

The limerick packs laughs anatomical

In space that is quite economical.

But the good ones I’ve seen
So seldom are clean

And the clean ones so seldom are comical


On the 200th birthday of Edward Lear, it seems appropriate to celebrate that strange and much misunderstood literary form, the limerick. Lear (celebrated here by a true fan, Michael Rosen) is often described as the originator of the limerick … but:

1/ The form (one in five-line anapestic or amphibrachic meter with a strict rhyme scheme [AABBA]) had in fact been around since the early 18th Century;

2/ Lear never used the term “limerick” himself;

3/ Lear’s “limericks” deviate from the usual form, in that the first and last lines end with the same word rather than rhyming. Some people find this charming;

4/ Finally (and imho) most importantly, Lear’s “limericks,” whilst containing some delightful “nonsense” and wordplay, are not obscene, rude or scatological – essential qualities of a real limerick. Wikipedia puts it well:

For the most part they [Lear’s ‘limericks’ -CC] are truly nonsensical and devoid of any punch line or point. They are completely free of the off-colour humour with which the verse form is now associated. A typical thematic element is the presence of a callous and critical “they”. An example of a typical Lear limerick:

There was an Old Man of Aôsta,
Who possessed a large Cow, but he lost her;
But they said, ‘Don’t you see,
she has rushed up a tree?
You invidious Old Man of Aôsta!’

All of which brings me on to the true limerick – lewd, obscene and offensive – and the widely-acknowledged master of the genre, Robert Conquest. To the best of my knowledge, Conquest’s limericks have never been published in a proper collected edition, though several have appeared in his friend Kingsley Amis’s Memoirs and Collected Letters.

Here are some of the best:

A usage that’s seldom got right
Is when to say shit and when shite,
And many a chap
Will fall back on crap,
Which is vulgar, evasive, and trite.

Seven Ages: first puking and mewling
Then very pissed-off with your schooling
Then fucks, and then fights
Next judging chaps’ rights
Then sitting in slippers: then drooling.

There was a young fellow called Shit,
A name he disliked quite a bit,
So he changed it to Shite,
A step in the right
Direction, one has to admit.

That snobbish surrealist, Garsall,
Once did himself up in a parcel;
He addressed it ‘Lord Garsall,
The Keep, Garsall Castle’
And mailed it first-class up his arsehole.

There was old Scot named McTavish
Who went for an anthropoid ravish
But the object of rape was the wrong sex of ape
So the anthropoid ravished McTavish

Possibly my favourite, entitled AT THE ZOO:

There was plenty of good-natured chaff
When I popped in to fuck the giraffe,
And the PRZS
Could hardly suppress
A dry professorial laugh.

Kingsley Amis wrote a follow-up:

When I came back to roger the gnu
I was scarcely delayed coming through,
and the staff – most polite –
cried, “please stay overnight”,
it’s a priviledge granted to few.

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