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After a nice long bath and a cough-ridden phone conversation with [livejournal.com profile] marquiserachel I feel like I should expand more on what I said earlier about observing the protesters in the City earlier.

Let me set the scene. I got home from work, aerobics (yes, really), the walk home and the supermarket just after seven. I checked the BBC's Live Text reports of the City thing and as it seemed largely OK, I decided to walk over. I left all my stuff except my keys and my phone at home and moseyed on over. I was honestly surprised to see that everything was business as usual in most places: wankers cluttering the pavements outside the pubs on Liverpool Street, forcing me to walk in the road. I could see that there were police vans on Bishopsgate from Wormwood Street so I chose to continue in the direction I'd walked from Liverpool Street, that is down Old Broad Street. For the uninitiated, this street leads to Threadneedle Street... which is where the Bank of England is.

I got momentarily distracted by two guys walking in front of me, because one looked a lot like Dean Winchester from behind and the guy with him was relatively as tall to him as Sam Winchester... and they both had big ol' holdalls which could've just as easily had Demon Fighting Kit inside as gym stuff (my guess as to the real answer). What made this more distracting was the fact that, as I noticed this, I passed by Great Winchester Street. Trufax, as the ONTD kids say.

There was a police cordon on Old Broad Street well away from the ruckus and consequently was very calm and collected. Some poor bastard from a food company had received an order from one of the offices within the cordon and was trying to get past to deliver - those idiot office people should've got food in earlier in the day. Anyway, the police then moved us (a gathering of maybe 20 bystanders) further away, and I watched as they took a few people off in police vans - including one who was yelling very loudly that he was being hurt by them when he you know, wasn't. At that point I thought to myself "well, the sight of a dozen police officers marching forwards like that is pretty spooky', but they moved off well away and we were not moved off any further. Nothing else was going on. At this point, I might have been sensible to turn around, go back down Old Broad Street and walk home the way I came.

Instead, I walked to the east, and without entirely realising, crossed between cordons. I found myself in the upper part of Lombard Street, which I found bizarre - to be that close to the 'action' and not bothered. I got distracted trying to get through one of those infamous City alleys - Change Alley, which took me back to where I'd just been except that the police were preventing us (I was not the only one wandering the streets) moving north/west-ish again, which is where I needed to be to go home.

I assume more than definitely remember that I ended up in Bell Inn Yard, because I don't think I walked all the way up Lombard Street to Gracechurch Street, which I did get to.

Pause to think 'Hmm, wonder what Mr Gardiner would think' because I've, you know, read Pride and Prejudice.

Then I saw that something was happening at an intersection and I walked up past Leadenhall Market, along with people with cameras and video cameras. It was a darker vibe than at Old Broad Street - these were largely protesters, not observers. I didn't realise until I reached the intersection of Cornhill, Bishopsgate and Leadenhall Street that all roads but the one I'd just come up were blocked by the riot police. I paused longer than I should've to look around and then tried to ascertain if Leadenhall Street was definitely blocked - it was not clear with the people around. Drums or something were being bashed, people were shouting. Some people were in masks. Some were drinking. I thought 'worst case, I'll duck up Leadenhall Market'. Someone had set some paper alight in front of the riot police, too.

Unfortunately, the three streets were blocked and as I tried to remove myself back up Gracechurch Street, something happened and the hardcore there took off that way. Riot police moved in - clumsily, I thought, which panicked people, and was messy. I ended up in the space between an office door and the street with a handful of other people (mostly well behaved but lairy) and unable to move because there were riot police behind and in front. These chaps sorted themselves out enough to let us pass through back to Gracechurch Street and, it not being my fight, I resolved to extricate myself from the situation. My thought was not of fear (i never felt truly unsafe, partly because I was firm in the knowledge that I hadn't done anything wrong myself) but 'this is not my fight'.

Police were now blocking off Leadenhall Market too, so I thought to just walk back the way I came. Lots of people around, I used my well-honed commuter dodging skills. Something set some of them off again so I took off in a run to the end of the street. Then I walked up Fenchurch Street (quiet but not deserted) to Aldgate, where I then ducked back down Duke's Place in order to not walk the really long way home. Ducked around a little more and found myself on the corner of Houndsditch and Bishopsgate right near Liverpool Street.

At this point, I could've again just gone directly home but I could see that the north point of the protest was nearby (I'd skirted by it at the start of this 'adventure') and I wanted to see. All the way through this, I wanted to see, whether for curiosity or just the plain truth of my own sight, I couldn't tell you straight off.

From there, although the police cordon was wicked tight (vans and people), it felt much more peaceable, more like Glastonbury - but I could only see the top of the hippie banners from where I was. And then in the end, I went back down Wormwood Street, went through Finsbury Circus and saw the thing that made me angriest of all:

Two City types, leaning against the wall of the Circus, pissing. How dare they? Finsbury Circus is such a nice, pretty place and they were just pissing against the wall. Not crusty protesters, guys in suits. Total merchant bankers, I bet.

At this point, I'd like to say that I don't necessarily agree with protests like this anyway. I was firmly on the fence, firmly neutral the whole time. I don't believe direct action is particularly effective and as was seen today, conflicts often with my true and deep belief that only peaceful and nonviolent protest truly works in the short and long term. More than that, as Rachel pointed out, it's rather anti the whole damn point of democracy.

More than that, the constant helicopter drone in the sky is starting to irritate me. Don't they know I'm trying to watch Supernatural?

Other thoughts:
  • If you want to protest something, if you want to stand up and be counted, don't wear a fucking mask. Have the courage of your convictions.
  • If you want to protest something, you surrender the moral high ground when you are violent or allow other protesters to be violent.
  • If you want to protest something, make damn sure that you exhausted all the possible democratic avenues before resorting to such protesting because remember: although you think you're right, other people might not and they have a democratic right to not support you. You don't represent everyone unless everyone has lent you their support.
  • Did I mention the 'don't resort to violence' thing?
I'm still trying to work out why I insisted on going down there. Partly curiosity, I was also somehow... determined to do something. I so often give myself excuses to not do things that I thought "this is on my doorstep, I need to go and see for myself."

That it was on my doorstep mattered to me. I think I needed to see for myself that it wasn't hell on earth or total anarchy or a complete violation of human rights because it was my own doorstep. The north end of the protest, that's a five minute walk from here. This is my home and despite my lack of tidying and regular cleaning, I am fiercely proud and protective of it. You don't get to come and threaten it without me at least finding out how much of a danger you are to me.

Wandering through all that stuff? Not the wisest thing I ever did, but I think I had to. Partly to understand how these things really work for my comic, partly to satisfy myself that my home was safe. What I would've done if my home wasn't safe? Not sure.

I've been reading Che Guevara's works lately - I read Reminiscences last month, pored over Guerilla Warfare and am starting the Bolivian Diaries... and for all I agree in some ways, the methodology just isn't... right. Not for a country that is essentially democratic like this one, although our Prime Minister was only voted for by the people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, and then only 24,278 of them. But I do have ways and means of objecting to this without putting chairs through windows.

I just can't bring myself to agree with the way in which the protest is being conducted. I think it may be worse tomorrow at ExCel, but that's not my home.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled dead-musicians-blather.
apolla: (Default)
After a nice long bath and a cough-ridden phone conversation with [livejournal.com profile] marquiserachel I feel like I should expand more on what I said earlier about observing the protesters in the City earlier.

Let me set the scene. I got home from work, aerobics (yes, really), the walk home and the supermarket just after seven. I checked the BBC's Live Text reports of the City thing and as it seemed largely OK, I decided to walk over. I left all my stuff except my keys and my phone at home and moseyed on over. I was honestly surprised to see that everything was business as usual in most places: wankers cluttering the pavements outside the pubs on Liverpool Street, forcing me to walk in the road. I could see that there were police vans on Bishopsgate from Wormwood Street so I chose to continue in the direction I'd walked from Liverpool Street, that is down Old Broad Street. For the uninitiated, this street leads to Threadneedle Street... which is where the Bank of England is.

I got momentarily distracted by two guys walking in front of me, because one looked a lot like Dean Winchester from behind and the guy with him was relatively as tall to him as Sam Winchester... and they both had big ol' holdalls which could've just as easily had Demon Fighting Kit inside as gym stuff (my guess as to the real answer). What made this more distracting was the fact that, as I noticed this, I passed by Great Winchester Street. Trufax, as the ONTD kids say.

There was a police cordon on Old Broad Street well away from the ruckus and consequently was very calm and collected. Some poor bastard from a food company had received an order from one of the offices within the cordon and was trying to get past to deliver - those idiot office people should've got food in earlier in the day. Anyway, the police then moved us (a gathering of maybe 20 bystanders) further away, and I watched as they took a few people off in police vans - including one who was yelling very loudly that he was being hurt by them when he you know, wasn't. At that point I thought to myself "well, the sight of a dozen police officers marching forwards like that is pretty spooky', but they moved off well away and we were not moved off any further. Nothing else was going on. At this point, I might have been sensible to turn around, go back down Old Broad Street and walk home the way I came.

Instead, I walked to the east, and without entirely realising, crossed between cordons. I found myself in the upper part of Lombard Street, which I found bizarre - to be that close to the 'action' and not bothered. I got distracted trying to get through one of those infamous City alleys - Change Alley, which took me back to where I'd just been except that the police were preventing us (I was not the only one wandering the streets) moving north/west-ish again, which is where I needed to be to go home.

I assume more than definitely remember that I ended up in Bell Inn Yard, because I don't think I walked all the way up Lombard Street to Gracechurch Street, which I did get to.

Pause to think 'Hmm, wonder what Mr Gardiner would think' because I've, you know, read Pride and Prejudice.

Then I saw that something was happening at an intersection and I walked up past Leadenhall Market, along with people with cameras and video cameras. It was a darker vibe than at Old Broad Street - these were largely protesters, not observers. I didn't realise until I reached the intersection of Cornhill, Bishopsgate and Leadenhall Street that all roads but the one I'd just come up were blocked by the riot police. I paused longer than I should've to look around and then tried to ascertain if Leadenhall Street was definitely blocked - it was not clear with the people around. Drums or something were being bashed, people were shouting. Some people were in masks. Some were drinking. I thought 'worst case, I'll duck up Leadenhall Market'. Someone had set some paper alight in front of the riot police, too.

Unfortunately, the three streets were blocked and as I tried to remove myself back up Gracechurch Street, something happened and the hardcore there took off that way. Riot police moved in - clumsily, I thought, which panicked people, and was messy. I ended up in the space between an office door and the street with a handful of other people (mostly well behaved but lairy) and unable to move because there were riot police behind and in front. These chaps sorted themselves out enough to let us pass through back to Gracechurch Street and, it not being my fight, I resolved to extricate myself from the situation. My thought was not of fear (i never felt truly unsafe, partly because I was firm in the knowledge that I hadn't done anything wrong myself) but 'this is not my fight'.

Police were now blocking off Leadenhall Market too, so I thought to just walk back the way I came. Lots of people around, I used my well-honed commuter dodging skills. Something set some of them off again so I took off in a run to the end of the street. Then I walked up Fenchurch Street (quiet but not deserted) to Aldgate, where I then ducked back down Duke's Place in order to not walk the really long way home. Ducked around a little more and found myself on the corner of Houndsditch and Bishopsgate right near Liverpool Street.

At this point, I could've again just gone directly home but I could see that the north point of the protest was nearby (I'd skirted by it at the start of this 'adventure') and I wanted to see. All the way through this, I wanted to see, whether for curiosity or just the plain truth of my own sight, I couldn't tell you straight off.

From there, although the police cordon was wicked tight (vans and people), it felt much more peaceable, more like Glastonbury - but I could only see the top of the hippie banners from where I was. And then in the end, I went back down Wormwood Street, went through Finsbury Circus and saw the thing that made me angriest of all:

Two City types, leaning against the wall of the Circus, pissing. How dare they? Finsbury Circus is such a nice, pretty place and they were just pissing against the wall. Not crusty protesters, guys in suits. Total merchant bankers, I bet.

At this point, I'd like to say that I don't necessarily agree with protests like this anyway. I was firmly on the fence, firmly neutral the whole time. I don't believe direct action is particularly effective and as was seen today, conflicts often with my true and deep belief that only peaceful and nonviolent protest truly works in the short and long term. More than that, as Rachel pointed out, it's rather anti the whole damn point of democracy.

More than that, the constant helicopter drone in the sky is starting to irritate me. Don't they know I'm trying to watch Supernatural?

Other thoughts:
  • If you want to protest something, if you want to stand up and be counted, don't wear a fucking mask. Have the courage of your convictions.
  • If you want to protest something, you surrender the moral high ground when you are violent or allow other protesters to be violent.
  • If you want to protest something, make damn sure that you exhausted all the possible democratic avenues before resorting to such protesting because remember: although you think you're right, other people might not and they have a democratic right to not support you. You don't represent everyone unless everyone has lent you their support.
  • Did I mention the 'don't resort to violence' thing?
I'm still trying to work out why I insisted on going down there. Partly curiosity, I was also somehow... determined to do something. I so often give myself excuses to not do things that I thought "this is on my doorstep, I need to go and see for myself."

That it was on my doorstep mattered to me. I think I needed to see for myself that it wasn't hell on earth or total anarchy or a complete violation of human rights because it was my own doorstep. The north end of the protest, that's a five minute walk from here. This is my home and despite my lack of tidying and regular cleaning, I am fiercely proud and protective of it. You don't get to come and threaten it without me at least finding out how much of a danger you are to me.

Wandering through all that stuff? Not the wisest thing I ever did, but I think I had to. Partly to understand how these things really work for my comic, partly to satisfy myself that my home was safe. What I would've done if my home wasn't safe? Not sure.

I've been reading Che Guevara's works lately - I read Reminiscences last month, pored over Guerilla Warfare and am starting the Bolivian Diaries... and for all I agree in some ways, the methodology just isn't... right. Not for a country that is essentially democratic like this one, although our Prime Minister was only voted for by the people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, and then only 24,278 of them. But I do have ways and means of objecting to this without putting chairs through windows.

I just can't bring myself to agree with the way in which the protest is being conducted. I think it may be worse tomorrow at ExCel, but that's not my home.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled dead-musicians-blather.
apolla: (Default)
I haven't mentioned Jim Morrison here on the Auld El Jay since (according to LJ Archive) since the sixteenth of January, which was only in passing while talking about Ronnie Drew. Before that, the last mention of him of any substance was on 9th December, the day after his birthday, and only in response to a news article. Those of you unaccustomed to my ways might think "Ah, she no longer cares. She's over it, she's moved on." As if I fucking could. Just show me how, etc, etc.

Actually, I only started onto that path today thanks to Bill Hicks. I finished reading American Scream (which is a biography of Bill) by Cynthia True while I was in Starbucks this lunchtime, and I turned to the Igby's 1993 bootlegs and listened with new ears. In some ways it was the same as the last twenty times I've listened to that gig, but somehow just a little extra context gave some of it a new, real edge. Of course, I missed him. At the end of this month, it is fifteen fucking years since Bill stepped into reality from this ridiculous dream we call 'life'. Letterman finally showed the censored show he cut in late '93. Thanks to the wonders of Counts of the Netherworld, I'd already heard the set many times, though not in that exact form. In fact, I think it's pretty flat and the 'let's hunt and kill Billy Ray Cyrus' bits seem a little 'off' outside the wider context of a full Hicks set. Mind you, fifteen years later and we're still dealing with the deplorably mediocre Cyrus family...

I started thinking about people who see the world as it is and say so, the people who call it as they see it, who see the world logically. Bill talked about the rise of 24-hour news networks spilling their sensationalist scaremongering into our lives, scaring us all into silence and compliance. How about now, kids? 

Then I started quite naturally thinking about Jim, who I always believed (and I suspect always will believe) was just trying to tell us the truth. Disagree with his methods and style by all means (honestly, non-Doors fans, I get your criticisms, I really do), but the man was just trying to tell us the truth about the world. That he, unlike Bill, held onto the chemicals long after they ceased being useful, doesn't make his truth telling any less valid, it just makes some of it clouded and cut short our supply. Incidentally, I really think that, had he survived and lived, your man Morrison would've been the conscience of his generation in a way only Lennon could compete with. Who else could and who has since? McCartney? Jagger? Clapton? Any of those fuckers who made their peace with the Establishment in exchange for money and privilege? Can you imagine Morrison accepting anything from the US government? Can you imagine the hay he would've made out of Watergate? Can you imagine that Lennon would accept anything from the Queen after sending the last thing back? No.

Interesting, isn't it? That these men who tried to tell us the truth ended up.... er... DEAD... while the ones who told us our cuddly bedtime stories about frogs and got into bed with the devil... oh hey! They go to polo matches and they get knighthoods and they have 'witty banter' with Brad Pitt and his waxwork lady. I find that to be an interesting coincidence.

The only person I felt sorry for during the Hicks set was Marky Mark, if only because it seems like he's actually tried to become something better, something more useful to the cultural and creative destiny of our society. I think he might even understand better than most people what Bill was going on about. He wasn't talking about actually killing Billy Ray or Mark, it was about what the fuck are we letting this shit into our lives for?

I occasionally think that I should become a stand up like Bill, because I really feel this stuff still needs to be said. It needs to be SHOUTED OUT TO THE FUCKING WORLD UNTIL THEY FUCKING LISTEN, but I'd just end up regurgitating all Bill's act, and Denis Leary already did that, the cunt. Oh yeah: Leary stole pretty much everything that made you laugh from Bill, including the angry guy persona, and he's now a movie and TV star... and Bill's fucking dead. If anyone tells me that the world is a just and right place, I will merely point this small, disgusting fact out as the proof that it's REALLY NOT.

There are real problems in the world. I don't just mean the economy being shit or genocide. I mean the WHOLE FUCKING THING. Even if I did stand up on a stage and say so, who would listen and who would care? We killed the guys who told us the truth and now we couldn't respond to the truth if it came and kicked us in the face. WHICH IT HAS!

They tried to tell us the fucking truth, and they died. What does that tell you about the fucking world? If one more Oxbridge-educated upper middle class cunt tries to tell me to be scared of anything, I'll be after them, because I'm not going to be scared anymore. Life is but a dream. Viva la revolucion.
apolla: (Default)
I haven't mentioned Jim Morrison here on the Auld El Jay since (according to LJ Archive) since the sixteenth of January, which was only in passing while talking about Ronnie Drew. Before that, the last mention of him of any substance was on 9th December, the day after his birthday, and only in response to a news article. Those of you unaccustomed to my ways might think "Ah, she no longer cares. She's over it, she's moved on." As if I fucking could. Just show me how, etc, etc.

Actually, I only started onto that path today thanks to Bill Hicks. I finished reading American Scream (which is a biography of Bill) by Cynthia True while I was in Starbucks this lunchtime, and I turned to the Igby's 1993 bootlegs and listened with new ears. In some ways it was the same as the last twenty times I've listened to that gig, but somehow just a little extra context gave some of it a new, real edge. Of course, I missed him. At the end of this month, it is fifteen fucking years since Bill stepped into reality from this ridiculous dream we call 'life'. Letterman finally showed the censored show he cut in late '93. Thanks to the wonders of Counts of the Netherworld, I'd already heard the set many times, though not in that exact form. In fact, I think it's pretty flat and the 'let's hunt and kill Billy Ray Cyrus' bits seem a little 'off' outside the wider context of a full Hicks set. Mind you, fifteen years later and we're still dealing with the deplorably mediocre Cyrus family...

I started thinking about people who see the world as it is and say so, the people who call it as they see it, who see the world logically. Bill talked about the rise of 24-hour news networks spilling their sensationalist scaremongering into our lives, scaring us all into silence and compliance. How about now, kids? 

Then I started quite naturally thinking about Jim, who I always believed (and I suspect always will believe) was just trying to tell us the truth. Disagree with his methods and style by all means (honestly, non-Doors fans, I get your criticisms, I really do), but the man was just trying to tell us the truth about the world. That he, unlike Bill, held onto the chemicals long after they ceased being useful, doesn't make his truth telling any less valid, it just makes some of it clouded and cut short our supply. Incidentally, I really think that, had he survived and lived, your man Morrison would've been the conscience of his generation in a way only Lennon could compete with. Who else could and who has since? McCartney? Jagger? Clapton? Any of those fuckers who made their peace with the Establishment in exchange for money and privilege? Can you imagine Morrison accepting anything from the US government? Can you imagine the hay he would've made out of Watergate? Can you imagine that Lennon would accept anything from the Queen after sending the last thing back? No.

Interesting, isn't it? That these men who tried to tell us the truth ended up.... er... DEAD... while the ones who told us our cuddly bedtime stories about frogs and got into bed with the devil... oh hey! They go to polo matches and they get knighthoods and they have 'witty banter' with Brad Pitt and his waxwork lady. I find that to be an interesting coincidence.

The only person I felt sorry for during the Hicks set was Marky Mark, if only because it seems like he's actually tried to become something better, something more useful to the cultural and creative destiny of our society. I think he might even understand better than most people what Bill was going on about. He wasn't talking about actually killing Billy Ray or Mark, it was about what the fuck are we letting this shit into our lives for?

I occasionally think that I should become a stand up like Bill, because I really feel this stuff still needs to be said. It needs to be SHOUTED OUT TO THE FUCKING WORLD UNTIL THEY FUCKING LISTEN, but I'd just end up regurgitating all Bill's act, and Denis Leary already did that, the cunt. Oh yeah: Leary stole pretty much everything that made you laugh from Bill, including the angry guy persona, and he's now a movie and TV star... and Bill's fucking dead. If anyone tells me that the world is a just and right place, I will merely point this small, disgusting fact out as the proof that it's REALLY NOT.

There are real problems in the world. I don't just mean the economy being shit or genocide. I mean the WHOLE FUCKING THING. Even if I did stand up on a stage and say so, who would listen and who would care? We killed the guys who told us the truth and now we couldn't respond to the truth if it came and kicked us in the face. WHICH IT HAS!

They tried to tell us the fucking truth, and they died. What does that tell you about the fucking world? If one more Oxbridge-educated upper middle class cunt tries to tell me to be scared of anything, I'll be after them, because I'm not going to be scared anymore. Life is but a dream. Viva la revolucion.
apolla: (OTP)
I wasn't going to say a word about the 40th anniversary of Robert Kennedy. You'll note that two days have now passed since that less than stellar anniversary was marked.

I got into a bickering contest with a friend, who finds the idea of marking something like a calendar day pointless. Then again, he is absolutely unsentimental about such things and thinks the Kennedys are nothing more than a fairy story. This he backs up by telling me about someone he knew who was a journalist at the time. He reminds me of my dad in that respect, who was also there at the time and has little time for the concept of Kennedy. My dear father also maintains that there's no way Kennedy would've made it to president. "People were tired of the Kennedys by then," he said to me once.

Maybe that's true. I'd argue that a journalist and an observer in Britain in 1968 would know less about it than people in America at the time... but by that argument I would also know very little about it, being in Britain decidedly not in 1968. (Against my better judgement, as you know)

I was really quite young when I first discovered the legend of Kennedy. The myths, the legends, the Camelot and New Frontier stories. I got to them through Marilyn Monroe, who I once adored, and the Sinatra Legend. For awhile, I soaked up everything I could and in my youthful naivete I assumed that 'Jack' was the important one.

I soon realised that 'Jack' represents the side of the Kennedy story that people generally dislike - the inveterate womanising, the ingrained Catholicism, the whisperings of Mafia involvement - you know the legends. I came then to realise that 'Bobby' represents the side of the Kennedy story that people generally love - the liberal crusader, slaying the demons of poverty, racism and war with words.

I also realised very quickly that it's very easy to fall into the Bobby Kennedy myth precisely because of when he was killed. There's nothing easier than mixing hindsight with wishes... and in this time of vicious government gone Tommy to its people in both America and Britain isn't it wonderful to look back and say "Well, if Bobby Kennedy hadn't died none of this would've happened!"

Back when I was young and a newly-minted Bobby fan, I attempted to write in the style of Fatherland, something where Kennedy hadn't been shot. I got a full two sides of paper and had to stop. I could not imagine a world with Bobby Kennedy in it. I hadn't the historical or political insight to get past that 'it'd be better' thing. And even then, I was already cynical enough to know that it probably wouldn't be better. In fact, it'd probably be just as shite, just in a different way.

Even as a newly-minted Bobby fan I knew the myth I was accepting (if not wholly buying into) was only a myth. I accepted it, because the ideas were more important. As a fan of the delightful Miss Monroe, I had to choose to ignore the conspiracies that suggested Bobby was involved in her killing. I mean, even now I find those conspiracies a little hard to digest, mostly because I believe it much more likely that my girl's prescriptions were screwed up, or that she took the wrong dosage. Hell, hasn't the same thing just happened with Heath? I didn't really believe the Bobby Killed Marilyn story, but I had to actually ignore it to get past it.

I've just been reading a series of op-ed pieces from nytimes.com about Senator Kennedy, and they're all generally pro-Bobby of course... hardly surprising when three of the articles were written by his children. The thing that stayed with me as I read, that has stayed with me through the years since I really learned who he was... it's the same thing I grieved for on Friday, and the thing I always grieve for.

The extinguishing of the fires of hope in the hearts and souls of people across the globe in 1968. We, the young and foolish of the 21st Century, cannot know the feeling of people in 1967 and 1968. Truly astounding things, good and bad, were happening across the world. Make no mistake, children, these were interesting times. Not interesting in the way ours are, with the economy shit and petrol/gas prices, and food shortages and evil governments... interesting because there was the promise of something better.

The death of Robert Kennedy didn't kill hope. It was merely one of the nails in the coffin of hope. It was a nail in the coffin just as the murder of Dr King was a nail in the coffin, as the Kent State shootings in 1970 were a nail in the coffin, as Watergate was, as the elections of Thatcher & Reagan were, as the death of John Lennon (and in my opinion, Morrison too, but you already know that) was. A hundred, or a thousand little acts of brutality or oppression, intolerance and greed, all came together to make sure that hope was dead, and if it wasn't, it was trapped, shut away in a little wooden box.

I am not exactly a 'Bobby fan' these days... in that I don't view him in the way I would a rock star. I am, if you will, an admirer or rather, respecter. That presidential campaign really must've been a sight to see! I truly do believe that the Kennedy of 1968 was a changed man from the petty vendetta man of his early career, or the attorney general.

Still, from a certain point of view, the guy did save us from nuclear war back in 1963... in response to this my friend said "oh, and that had nothing to do with saving his family, I suppose?" which to me seems a ridiculous argument. Maybe, I don't know. When it comes to stopping nuclear war I find it hard to really question a man's motives, especially if 'I did it for my family' is the motive.

Anyway, I think the RFK we remember in glowing terms, the one people are fanatical about, is the Campaign Trail Kennedy (God, I really want Mattel to bring out a Campaign Trail Barbie, complete with pant suit and rosette!) who was asking us to be tolerant, to be caring. That guy, who might've brought the Vietnam war to an earlier close, who might have brought racial harmony to America, who might have helped cure the disease of poverty. The guy who really listened to people and who really seemed to care.

That's the guy I mourn, and I make no apologies for it. That he did not live to prove us wrong (or maybe even worse, lose the presidential campaign) doesn't matter. I mourn him because I honestly believe that he wanted to work to make America, and the world, a better place. He's the guy who got me to study American Studies, after all. Him and Jim Morrison, obviously. Two guys who did not live to see their potential fulfilled, two guys about whom all we can do is wish and dream and surmise...

I mourn, or rather I remember, Robert Kennedy because he seemed to me a good man on the cusp of becoming a great man. Someone who cared. I make no apologies for it, just as I will make no apologies for remembering other good people who did not get their chance to make gentle the life of this world. In these sour times, I also remember that this was a well-read, educated man who made no apologies for being so, who did not dumb down to people. Someone who gave the impression that he was in possession of an inquiring, questioning mind. Presidents used to be like that in the olden days.

I remember Robert Kennedy the man, the idea and the myth. I mourn the death of hope, and of the different freedoms that have been offered up to government and big business since his death. I mourn the loss of a questioning youth, a challenging youth. I mourn the death of liberal politics in both Britain and America, countries where we have returned to days when people in power made all the decisions - Superdelegates: Isn't that what Chicago 1968 was about? Gordon Brown here just coming to power because they agreed it that way in a restaurant over 10 years ago?

Hell, when I sit and really think about the world now, and what it just might have been, I can't imagine how any of us aren't crying our eyes out.

*
Debate and dissent are the very heart of the American process. We have followed the wisdom of Greece: "All things are to be examined and brought into question. There is no limit set to thought."

Freedom is not money, that I could enlarge mine by taking yours. Our liberty can grow only when the liberties of all our fellow men are secure; and he who would enslave others ends only by chaining himself, for chains have two ends, adn he who holds the chain is as securely bound as he whom it holds. And as President Kennedy said at the Berlin Wall in 1963, "Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free."

Our choice is not whether change will come, but whether we can guide that change in the service of our ideals and toward a social order shaped to the needs of all our people. In the long run, we can master change not through force or fear, but only through the free work of an understanding mind, through an openness to new knowledge adn fresh outlooks which can only strengthen the most fragile and the most powerful of human gifts: the gift of reason.

Together we can make this a nation where young people do not seek the false peace of drugs. Together, we can make this a nation where old people are not shunted off; where, regardless of the colour of his skin or the place of birth of his father, every citizen will have an equal chance at dignity and decency. Together, Americans are the most decent, generous, and compassionate people in the world.
Divided, they are collections of islands. Islands of blacks afraid of islands of whites. Islands of Northerners bitterly opposed to islands of Southerners. Islands of workers warring with islands of businessmen.

The suppression of individuality - the sense that one is listeneing - is even more pronounced in our politics. Television, newspapers, magazines, are a cascade of words, official statements, policies, explanations, and declarations. All flow from the height of government down to the passive citizen: Who can shout up against a waterfall? More important, the language of politics is too often insincerity, which we have perhaps too easily accepted but which to the young is particularly offensive. George Orwell wrote a generation ago: "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible."

All the phrases which have meant so much to Americans - peace and progress, justice and compassion, leadership and idealism - often sound not like stirring reminders of our nation, but call forth the cynical laughter or hostility of our young and many of our adults. Not because they do not believe them, but because they do not think our leaders mean them...

(all from Make Gentle The Life of This World: The Vision of Robert F Kennedy published by Harcourt Brace & Company 1998)

*

I find myself curiously dry-eyed, however. Perhaps it's that long ago I chose not to care, but I don't think that's it. Perhaps I stopped believing myself able to do anything but comment unseen. Maybe, but just maybe, there could even be cause to hope.

Not even just because Gordon Brown has turned out to be such a stupid fucking moron, because we already knew that.

Maybe, just maybe Barack Obama might be up to the task. Not of stepping into Bobby's myth-filled shoes, because that would be tilting at windmills. No, perhaps Obama's oft-mentioned 'CHANGE' might be in the air. Maybe the people will finally say to the government that has taken so much and given back nothing that they should be FUCKING ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES and GET THE FUCK OUT OF OUR HOUSE.

No, that won't happen. I'm too cynical to believe that Obama will be president but maybe, just maybe I have the hope that he will. The hope then to follow would be that he doesn't let us down. The hope is that Obama represents the very best of Bobby without the shadows.

So kids, it is time for us all to stand up and shout. Time to bring everything into question and not just leave it to the fringes, or the satirists to tell the truth. I have no idea how we can do this, but do it we must.

It has already been a vicious primary season, but I would ask those Americans reading, of all political opinions, to demand a decent presidential campaign. DEMAND, don't ASK! It's your right, it's your responsibility.

I shall end now with my most favourite of all political statements, which is not from RFK, but from the movie V For Vendetta:

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
apolla: (OTP)
I wasn't going to say a word about the 40th anniversary of Robert Kennedy. You'll note that two days have now passed since that less than stellar anniversary was marked.

I got into a bickering contest with a friend, who finds the idea of marking something like a calendar day pointless. Then again, he is absolutely unsentimental about such things and thinks the Kennedys are nothing more than a fairy story. This he backs up by telling me about someone he knew who was a journalist at the time. He reminds me of my dad in that respect, who was also there at the time and has little time for the concept of Kennedy. My dear father also maintains that there's no way Kennedy would've made it to president. "People were tired of the Kennedys by then," he said to me once.

Maybe that's true. I'd argue that a journalist and an observer in Britain in 1968 would know less about it than people in America at the time... but by that argument I would also know very little about it, being in Britain decidedly not in 1968. (Against my better judgement, as you know)

I was really quite young when I first discovered the legend of Kennedy. The myths, the legends, the Camelot and New Frontier stories. I got to them through Marilyn Monroe, who I once adored, and the Sinatra Legend. For awhile, I soaked up everything I could and in my youthful naivete I assumed that 'Jack' was the important one.

I soon realised that 'Jack' represents the side of the Kennedy story that people generally dislike - the inveterate womanising, the ingrained Catholicism, the whisperings of Mafia involvement - you know the legends. I came then to realise that 'Bobby' represents the side of the Kennedy story that people generally love - the liberal crusader, slaying the demons of poverty, racism and war with words.

I also realised very quickly that it's very easy to fall into the Bobby Kennedy myth precisely because of when he was killed. There's nothing easier than mixing hindsight with wishes... and in this time of vicious government gone Tommy to its people in both America and Britain isn't it wonderful to look back and say "Well, if Bobby Kennedy hadn't died none of this would've happened!"

Back when I was young and a newly-minted Bobby fan, I attempted to write in the style of Fatherland, something where Kennedy hadn't been shot. I got a full two sides of paper and had to stop. I could not imagine a world with Bobby Kennedy in it. I hadn't the historical or political insight to get past that 'it'd be better' thing. And even then, I was already cynical enough to know that it probably wouldn't be better. In fact, it'd probably be just as shite, just in a different way.

Even as a newly-minted Bobby fan I knew the myth I was accepting (if not wholly buying into) was only a myth. I accepted it, because the ideas were more important. As a fan of the delightful Miss Monroe, I had to choose to ignore the conspiracies that suggested Bobby was involved in her killing. I mean, even now I find those conspiracies a little hard to digest, mostly because I believe it much more likely that my girl's prescriptions were screwed up, or that she took the wrong dosage. Hell, hasn't the same thing just happened with Heath? I didn't really believe the Bobby Killed Marilyn story, but I had to actually ignore it to get past it.

I've just been reading a series of op-ed pieces from nytimes.com about Senator Kennedy, and they're all generally pro-Bobby of course... hardly surprising when three of the articles were written by his children. The thing that stayed with me as I read, that has stayed with me through the years since I really learned who he was... it's the same thing I grieved for on Friday, and the thing I always grieve for.

The extinguishing of the fires of hope in the hearts and souls of people across the globe in 1968. We, the young and foolish of the 21st Century, cannot know the feeling of people in 1967 and 1968. Truly astounding things, good and bad, were happening across the world. Make no mistake, children, these were interesting times. Not interesting in the way ours are, with the economy shit and petrol/gas prices, and food shortages and evil governments... interesting because there was the promise of something better.

The death of Robert Kennedy didn't kill hope. It was merely one of the nails in the coffin of hope. It was a nail in the coffin just as the murder of Dr King was a nail in the coffin, as the Kent State shootings in 1970 were a nail in the coffin, as Watergate was, as the elections of Thatcher & Reagan were, as the death of John Lennon (and in my opinion, Morrison too, but you already know that) was. A hundred, or a thousand little acts of brutality or oppression, intolerance and greed, all came together to make sure that hope was dead, and if it wasn't, it was trapped, shut away in a little wooden box.

I am not exactly a 'Bobby fan' these days... in that I don't view him in the way I would a rock star. I am, if you will, an admirer or rather, respecter. That presidential campaign really must've been a sight to see! I truly do believe that the Kennedy of 1968 was a changed man from the petty vendetta man of his early career, or the attorney general.

Still, from a certain point of view, the guy did save us from nuclear war back in 1963... in response to this my friend said "oh, and that had nothing to do with saving his family, I suppose?" which to me seems a ridiculous argument. Maybe, I don't know. When it comes to stopping nuclear war I find it hard to really question a man's motives, especially if 'I did it for my family' is the motive.

Anyway, I think the RFK we remember in glowing terms, the one people are fanatical about, is the Campaign Trail Kennedy (God, I really want Mattel to bring out a Campaign Trail Barbie, complete with pant suit and rosette!) who was asking us to be tolerant, to be caring. That guy, who might've brought the Vietnam war to an earlier close, who might have brought racial harmony to America, who might have helped cure the disease of poverty. The guy who really listened to people and who really seemed to care.

That's the guy I mourn, and I make no apologies for it. That he did not live to prove us wrong (or maybe even worse, lose the presidential campaign) doesn't matter. I mourn him because I honestly believe that he wanted to work to make America, and the world, a better place. He's the guy who got me to study American Studies, after all. Him and Jim Morrison, obviously. Two guys who did not live to see their potential fulfilled, two guys about whom all we can do is wish and dream and surmise...

I mourn, or rather I remember, Robert Kennedy because he seemed to me a good man on the cusp of becoming a great man. Someone who cared. I make no apologies for it, just as I will make no apologies for remembering other good people who did not get their chance to make gentle the life of this world. In these sour times, I also remember that this was a well-read, educated man who made no apologies for being so, who did not dumb down to people. Someone who gave the impression that he was in possession of an inquiring, questioning mind. Presidents used to be like that in the olden days.

I remember Robert Kennedy the man, the idea and the myth. I mourn the death of hope, and of the different freedoms that have been offered up to government and big business since his death. I mourn the loss of a questioning youth, a challenging youth. I mourn the death of liberal politics in both Britain and America, countries where we have returned to days when people in power made all the decisions - Superdelegates: Isn't that what Chicago 1968 was about? Gordon Brown here just coming to power because they agreed it that way in a restaurant over 10 years ago?

Hell, when I sit and really think about the world now, and what it just might have been, I can't imagine how any of us aren't crying our eyes out.

*
Debate and dissent are the very heart of the American process. We have followed the wisdom of Greece: "All things are to be examined and brought into question. There is no limit set to thought."

Freedom is not money, that I could enlarge mine by taking yours. Our liberty can grow only when the liberties of all our fellow men are secure; and he who would enslave others ends only by chaining himself, for chains have two ends, adn he who holds the chain is as securely bound as he whom it holds. And as President Kennedy said at the Berlin Wall in 1963, "Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free."

Our choice is not whether change will come, but whether we can guide that change in the service of our ideals and toward a social order shaped to the needs of all our people. In the long run, we can master change not through force or fear, but only through the free work of an understanding mind, through an openness to new knowledge adn fresh outlooks which can only strengthen the most fragile and the most powerful of human gifts: the gift of reason.

Together we can make this a nation where young people do not seek the false peace of drugs. Together, we can make this a nation where old people are not shunted off; where, regardless of the colour of his skin or the place of birth of his father, every citizen will have an equal chance at dignity and decency. Together, Americans are the most decent, generous, and compassionate people in the world.
Divided, they are collections of islands. Islands of blacks afraid of islands of whites. Islands of Northerners bitterly opposed to islands of Southerners. Islands of workers warring with islands of businessmen.

The suppression of individuality - the sense that one is listeneing - is even more pronounced in our politics. Television, newspapers, magazines, are a cascade of words, official statements, policies, explanations, and declarations. All flow from the height of government down to the passive citizen: Who can shout up against a waterfall? More important, the language of politics is too often insincerity, which we have perhaps too easily accepted but which to the young is particularly offensive. George Orwell wrote a generation ago: "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible."

All the phrases which have meant so much to Americans - peace and progress, justice and compassion, leadership and idealism - often sound not like stirring reminders of our nation, but call forth the cynical laughter or hostility of our young and many of our adults. Not because they do not believe them, but because they do not think our leaders mean them...

(all from Make Gentle The Life of This World: The Vision of Robert F Kennedy published by Harcourt Brace & Company 1998)

*

I find myself curiously dry-eyed, however. Perhaps it's that long ago I chose not to care, but I don't think that's it. Perhaps I stopped believing myself able to do anything but comment unseen. Maybe, but just maybe, there could even be cause to hope.

Not even just because Gordon Brown has turned out to be such a stupid fucking moron, because we already knew that.

Maybe, just maybe Barack Obama might be up to the task. Not of stepping into Bobby's myth-filled shoes, because that would be tilting at windmills. No, perhaps Obama's oft-mentioned 'CHANGE' might be in the air. Maybe the people will finally say to the government that has taken so much and given back nothing that they should be FUCKING ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES and GET THE FUCK OUT OF OUR HOUSE.

No, that won't happen. I'm too cynical to believe that Obama will be president but maybe, just maybe I have the hope that he will. The hope then to follow would be that he doesn't let us down. The hope is that Obama represents the very best of Bobby without the shadows.

So kids, it is time for us all to stand up and shout. Time to bring everything into question and not just leave it to the fringes, or the satirists to tell the truth. I have no idea how we can do this, but do it we must.

It has already been a vicious primary season, but I would ask those Americans reading, of all political opinions, to demand a decent presidential campaign. DEMAND, don't ASK! It's your right, it's your responsibility.

I shall end now with my most favourite of all political statements, which is not from RFK, but from the movie V For Vendetta:

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
apolla: (Prettiest Guitar)
I just emailed my MP about this whole thing. Coming on top of the habeas corpus destruction of this week, I'm really not America-friendly right now. While I'm mostly talking about the government, I shall quote V: "...the truth is, there's something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? ... If you're looking for the guilty, you need only to look into a mirror. I know why you did it. You were afraid. Who wouldn't be?" 

Anyway, I am this close to starting the Revolution early... so to put it off at least until morning, here's the letter I wrote:


And just in case I might one day mysteriously disappear: I'm a pacifist, really. Getting one's desires through violence is like building on sand- it is unstable and never lasts. Gandhi had it right, OK? I'll not use violence against any state. Why bother when a few  words can do the damage of fifty guns?
apolla: (Prettiest Guitar)
I just emailed my MP about this whole thing. Coming on top of the habeas corpus destruction of this week, I'm really not America-friendly right now. While I'm mostly talking about the government, I shall quote V: "...the truth is, there's something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? ... If you're looking for the guilty, you need only to look into a mirror. I know why you did it. You were afraid. Who wouldn't be?" 

Anyway, I am this close to starting the Revolution early... so to put it off at least until morning, here's the letter I wrote:


And just in case I might one day mysteriously disappear: I'm a pacifist, really. Getting one's desires through violence is like building on sand- it is unstable and never lasts. Gandhi had it right, OK? I'll not use violence against any state. Why bother when a few  words can do the damage of fifty guns?
apolla: (Rock Chick)
US-Europe Flights: Passenger Information Row. UK Exempt From Row.

So let me get this right. If I or anyone else in Europe want to grace the United States of America with our presence and the US gets its way, I'll have all my details, including the one credit card I own and the fact I hate cheese given over to the US authorities for, if they get their way, fifty years? What will that achieve? The new J. Edgar Hoovers will be able to see what shit vintage clothes I've bought on eBay lately? The Count Duckula DVDs I still haven't watched?

Now answer me these, legal people: HOW IS THAT NOT AGAINST EVERYTHING AMERICA IS MEANT TO STAND FOR! Or is it just for people who agree with the people in charge?

I can't do anything from here. I'm in England and that means I don't count because as we know, the American government operates in its own little vacuum where the rest of the fucking planet doesn't count. This is why it generates 25% of the world's pollution with a significantly smaller percentage of world population. But may I PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT I HAVE EVER HELD DEAR, INCLUDING THIN LIZZY, BEG YOU, beg you to contact your elected representatives and beg them to stop this nonsense.

If you think you're OK there, protected by your special bits of paper: Bush and his cronies are too busy pissing on the Constitution to protect it or you, OK? They're not interested in helping you, they're interesting in helping themselves and their mates.

Contact your elected representatives and ask for the cunt in the White House to be impeached and then summarily removed from office. Hell, don't bother impeaching him first- he doesn't care about due process or the judicial cornerstones of Western democracy, why should you?

Seriously, is there anything that can be done to shake America (and indeed Britain) out of its soma-coma? PLEASE, YOU LACKLUSTRE FOOLS, DO SOMETHING!

I am this close to finally joining the Labour Party. Not to praise Blair, but to bury him. New Labour needs to be destroyed and so does whatever Bush calls his idea of politics. I know there's some decent Republicans out there... this is no longer about a simple case of two tribes, this is about the common belief that all people are created equal, that we all have certain rights as those equal people and the fact that there are some Very Powerful People out there trying their best to put a stop to all that.

Fascism doesn't always come neatly wrapped up in a Charlie Chaplin moustache and shiny jackboots, all right? DO SOMETHING!
apolla: (Rock Chick)
US-Europe Flights: Passenger Information Row. UK Exempt From Row.

So let me get this right. If I or anyone else in Europe want to grace the United States of America with our presence and the US gets its way, I'll have all my details, including the one credit card I own and the fact I hate cheese given over to the US authorities for, if they get their way, fifty years? What will that achieve? The new J. Edgar Hoovers will be able to see what shit vintage clothes I've bought on eBay lately? The Count Duckula DVDs I still haven't watched?

Now answer me these, legal people: HOW IS THAT NOT AGAINST EVERYTHING AMERICA IS MEANT TO STAND FOR! Or is it just for people who agree with the people in charge?

I can't do anything from here. I'm in England and that means I don't count because as we know, the American government operates in its own little vacuum where the rest of the fucking planet doesn't count. This is why it generates 25% of the world's pollution with a significantly smaller percentage of world population. But may I PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT I HAVE EVER HELD DEAR, INCLUDING THIN LIZZY, BEG YOU, beg you to contact your elected representatives and beg them to stop this nonsense.

If you think you're OK there, protected by your special bits of paper: Bush and his cronies are too busy pissing on the Constitution to protect it or you, OK? They're not interested in helping you, they're interesting in helping themselves and their mates.

Contact your elected representatives and ask for the cunt in the White House to be impeached and then summarily removed from office. Hell, don't bother impeaching him first- he doesn't care about due process or the judicial cornerstones of Western democracy, why should you?

Seriously, is there anything that can be done to shake America (and indeed Britain) out of its soma-coma? PLEASE, YOU LACKLUSTRE FOOLS, DO SOMETHING!

I am this close to finally joining the Labour Party. Not to praise Blair, but to bury him. New Labour needs to be destroyed and so does whatever Bush calls his idea of politics. I know there's some decent Republicans out there... this is no longer about a simple case of two tribes, this is about the common belief that all people are created equal, that we all have certain rights as those equal people and the fact that there are some Very Powerful People out there trying their best to put a stop to all that.

Fascism doesn't always come neatly wrapped up in a Charlie Chaplin moustache and shiny jackboots, all right? DO SOMETHING!
apolla: (California Boy)

Hi guys. I'm currently corresponding from an internet cafe type thing 10p a minute at Heathrow.

Yes, your friendly neighbourhood Cockney Sparrow got through check in (did it yesterday online) and bag drop (fast drop) with a breathtaking ease not normally seen on a normal day.

I even got through security pretty quickly cos I was singled out to do some new Body Scan thing. It may have scrambled my insides but I jumped the queue! I had to take my shoes off, which woulda been ok but I'm wearing converse baseball shoes and it took some doing.

Nice and humiliating to show everyone my sanitary towels but fuck you I don't care. They let me take my Midol through and so that may be ok.

Surviving without iPod by humming Not Guilty by George Harrison to meself loudly. Don't give a shit what people think.

Had chicken & bacon salad at Wetherspoons on airside with a nice cold Jamesons although the bloke looked at me weirdly. So what if it's not midday yet? Like I fucking care. Can't buy duty free whiskey cos I can't TAKE IT ON THE FUCKING PLANE!

What else? Don't know. Don't care. Want to get to Detroit now. Movies on board better be good.

I'm really fucking lucky when you think about it. Somebody Up There Likes Me. Just wish I knew why.

apolla: (California Boy)

Hi guys. I'm currently corresponding from an internet cafe type thing 10p a minute at Heathrow.

Yes, your friendly neighbourhood Cockney Sparrow got through check in (did it yesterday online) and bag drop (fast drop) with a breathtaking ease not normally seen on a normal day.

I even got through security pretty quickly cos I was singled out to do some new Body Scan thing. It may have scrambled my insides but I jumped the queue! I had to take my shoes off, which woulda been ok but I'm wearing converse baseball shoes and it took some doing.

Nice and humiliating to show everyone my sanitary towels but fuck you I don't care. They let me take my Midol through and so that may be ok.

Surviving without iPod by humming Not Guilty by George Harrison to meself loudly. Don't give a shit what people think.

Had chicken & bacon salad at Wetherspoons on airside with a nice cold Jamesons although the bloke looked at me weirdly. So what if it's not midday yet? Like I fucking care. Can't buy duty free whiskey cos I can't TAKE IT ON THE FUCKING PLANE!

What else? Don't know. Don't care. Want to get to Detroit now. Movies on board better be good.

I'm really fucking lucky when you think about it. Somebody Up There Likes Me. Just wish I knew why.

apolla: (OTP)
If you have not seen V for Vendetta yet, you really should.

It was written during the Thatcherism years, but if you think it doesn't count now, you're living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

It is a dystopian future, but if you think it couldn't happen, think again. All the ingredients for that reality to begin are here now.

If you live in America, get rid of George Bush. He and his friends have no interest in helping anyone but rich powerful white men become richer and more powerful.

If you live in Britain, get rid of Tony Blair. He has no interest in anything but his own power, his own self-important place in history and his cronies.

They have no interest in doing anything in Lebanon or Palestine or Israel or Iraq that won't do anything for them. They have no interest in learning their history or the history of others. They have no interest in discovering the worlds of other people or the lives of other people or the thoughts, hopes and dreams of other people.

Many of you will already agree with me. I don't believe there's any politicians in the UK or the USA that actually gives a shit about we, the little people... but I don't believe the ones we have at the moment will improve. I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I don't care.

If you think that it cannot happen, I will point you to a time not so very long ago when the starving people of Germany voted in the National Socialist Party, or the time Senator McCarthy was allowed to ruin the lives of hundreds of people and caused many thousands of others to live in fear, or the time the starving Russians allowed the Communist party to rule them for decades. And that is only the last century.

Hey, talking about that, remember the time we let the Prime Minister implement control orders without evidence? Or the time we let the Americans stop off en route to taking weapons to Israel that ended up killing innocent people including some UN people? Or the time we allowed the genocide in Rwanda to continue? The ethnic cleansing in Bosnia? The time they went on at us about Avian Flu, which seems to have disappeared

I love to be trivial. I love to talk at length about rock music or movies, or whatever you like. But I know as well as I'm sitting here typing that, if the worst should happen to freedom, my rock music, my movies, my thoughts would be some of the first on the block. If you think you would be safe, think again. There's nobody in the world, nobody that is safe from the thought police of censorship. We are all gloriously, wonderfully different and therein lies humanity's great triumph. To make an attempt at suppressing that is to spit in the eye of God Himself, who created us this way- everyone the same and everyone the different.

Remember also this, seemingly unrelated: Michael Collins was called a terrorist once, but he had his own Hollywood movie made. Violence is never right so we must all, all of us, be aware and be strong and make sure as one great, teeming mass of humanity, that we need never call on the services of a Michael Collins or a V again. To make sure that we never get to the point where blowing shit up is the only way. 

Should these things come to pass, I stand by what I've just written. Don't bother looking for me at home, I'd hope that I'd already be working against you when you come for me with bats and guns.

We are all born free. What we do after that is up to us.
apolla: (OTP)
If you have not seen V for Vendetta yet, you really should.

It was written during the Thatcherism years, but if you think it doesn't count now, you're living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

It is a dystopian future, but if you think it couldn't happen, think again. All the ingredients for that reality to begin are here now.

If you live in America, get rid of George Bush. He and his friends have no interest in helping anyone but rich powerful white men become richer and more powerful.

If you live in Britain, get rid of Tony Blair. He has no interest in anything but his own power, his own self-important place in history and his cronies.

They have no interest in doing anything in Lebanon or Palestine or Israel or Iraq that won't do anything for them. They have no interest in learning their history or the history of others. They have no interest in discovering the worlds of other people or the lives of other people or the thoughts, hopes and dreams of other people.

Many of you will already agree with me. I don't believe there's any politicians in the UK or the USA that actually gives a shit about we, the little people... but I don't believe the ones we have at the moment will improve. I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I don't care.

If you think that it cannot happen, I will point you to a time not so very long ago when the starving people of Germany voted in the National Socialist Party, or the time Senator McCarthy was allowed to ruin the lives of hundreds of people and caused many thousands of others to live in fear, or the time the starving Russians allowed the Communist party to rule them for decades. And that is only the last century.

Hey, talking about that, remember the time we let the Prime Minister implement control orders without evidence? Or the time we let the Americans stop off en route to taking weapons to Israel that ended up killing innocent people including some UN people? Or the time we allowed the genocide in Rwanda to continue? The ethnic cleansing in Bosnia? The time they went on at us about Avian Flu, which seems to have disappeared

I love to be trivial. I love to talk at length about rock music or movies, or whatever you like. But I know as well as I'm sitting here typing that, if the worst should happen to freedom, my rock music, my movies, my thoughts would be some of the first on the block. If you think you would be safe, think again. There's nobody in the world, nobody that is safe from the thought police of censorship. We are all gloriously, wonderfully different and therein lies humanity's great triumph. To make an attempt at suppressing that is to spit in the eye of God Himself, who created us this way- everyone the same and everyone the different.

Remember also this, seemingly unrelated: Michael Collins was called a terrorist once, but he had his own Hollywood movie made. Violence is never right so we must all, all of us, be aware and be strong and make sure as one great, teeming mass of humanity, that we need never call on the services of a Michael Collins or a V again. To make sure that we never get to the point where blowing shit up is the only way. 

Should these things come to pass, I stand by what I've just written. Don't bother looking for me at home, I'd hope that I'd already be working against you when you come for me with bats and guns.

We are all born free. What we do after that is up to us.

GAH!

Wednesday, 26 July 2006 22:16
apolla: (Percy)
Way to make my guys uncool, you bastards:

Led Zeppelin rocks Britain's MPs.

NEVER talk about the music you like if you're in politics. It makes you look uncool, desperately trendy, stupid, deaf or all of the above. And worse, you will make the people I care about seem uncool by being liked by you. Bastards.

GAH!

Wednesday, 26 July 2006 22:16
apolla: (Percy)
Way to make my guys uncool, you bastards:

Led Zeppelin rocks Britain's MPs.

NEVER talk about the music you like if you're in politics. It makes you look uncool, desperately trendy, stupid, deaf or all of the above. And worse, you will make the people I care about seem uncool by being liked by you. Bastards.

Stuff n Nonsense

Tuesday, 25 July 2006 20:41
apolla: (OTP)

I thought I should drop in and update on real life, which is something I dabble in occasionally.

Still, today I began to believe once more that humanity is one of God's least-successful experiments. The planet is full of sheep and lemmings and mindless drones that don't seem to care that they're sheep, lemmings and mindless drones! Look at the shit we get fed on TV and in the news: for every story of a little child being bombed in Lebanon there are six about Posh being pregnant, Gillian Anderson being pregnant, Cristiano Ronaldo possibly being paid truckloads for kicking a ball around for someone other than Manchester United.

It just tires me. I would love so much to have faith in humans, to find you all amusing, but I can't. I feel like an outsider with my own species because I simply don't get it. I mean, I do a pretty good job at coasting through life (The Clare Human Outreach Program) but the idea that other people live this way because they want to blows my mind. Seriously: are there people happy to live one of these Quiet Lives, with mortgages and stuff?

Do you realise that hardly anyone OWNS anything? I mean it- what do you own? Do you own a business, or the means of production for anything? Aside from a house perhaps, what do you own that is of consequence? The land you live on? You don't own much, do you? A few books, some clothes, maybe a tin of food, a computer. Sure, this is a LOT MORE than a lot of people have, but it's not much is it? The land we live on, it's all owned by a small moneyed minority whose fathers and great-grandfathers and Norman ancestors owned.

Can you tell that I read some George Orwell essays on Saturday? I'm not suggesting Britain (or even less likely, L'America) go Socialist, as he did... but the only parts of his essays that are dated involve the Empire. Seriously, most of the stuff he said in 1940-46 is not only still relevant, it is more relevant!

The article about the English language really got to me, and I shall copy out his five rules for you now, because we are ever more riddled with cliche and meaningless managementpoliticspeak than ever.

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
5. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

He's not talking about the literary use of the language, because in books and novels and poetry these things are sometimes required. Now, I'm the first to admit I use cliche sometimes, although usually in a knowingly mocking manner. I use long words all the time because that's my way. Still, these are points we should all take into account. This isn't the usual pedantry regarding apostrophes, it's an attempt to grasp at the truth behind what people are saying: "language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought."

The soundbite of the whole collection is included in this particular essay as well as printed on the cover:

"Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is desinged to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

I tell you this: even Orwell himself has been taken and twisted into cliche: How Orwellian, etc etc. Do not fall for it. Be brave and singular and vast armies of angels will come to your aid when you need them.

*

Enough of that serious stuff, for I am the master of the trivial. I have now been off Diet Coke for nearly two months, and only broke my regular Coke embargo the other weekend at Guilfest although I've been drinking some (not much) since then. I'd like to say that my life has improved beyond measure, but I'd be lying. My hair has stopped falling out quite so much, but I can't really tell the difference. I haven't been ill or anything once three days had passed. I haven't even minded it being gone from my life, although I find water unutterably boring.

So is aspartame the devil's semen? Maybe. I don't know. I can live without it and I'm trying to break the bonds of capitalist corporate dependency by drinking Frappacinos every lunchtime at Starbucks...

*

What else? Oh, Jim Morrison's last notebook is being auctioned soon by Cooper Owen and is already at forty thousand pounds with a guide of eighty. Does anyone have a spare one hundred thousand pounds I could borrow? I can't bear the idea of the boy's last, terrible and tortured ramblings (have read some pages. it's not easy or pleasing or particularly good, but it's what I imagined a dying man might write like) falling into the hands of a rich person who doesn't care about him or his thoughts. I imagine that anyone who CAN afford it is the kind to either shove it away from the world or buy it simply to brag "Hey, I've got Jim Morrison's notebook from Paris."

Surely it belongs with someone who actually cares about the man behind the legend underneath the myth? Not me necessarily, but someone who cares that Jim Morrison was once a living, breathing man. I would love to own it, to read it, to have it... not in an acquisitional manner but in a... I'm never going to be able to look into my boy's eyes, OK? I'm never going to hear his voice in the room with me. I'm never going to know what he smelled like (probably not good towards the end) or what he felt like. I'm never going to have him sat opposite me unless God Himself In All His Divine Grooviness lets me go back to look after him. This is something I am (begrudgingly) resigned to, but it leads me to look for ways to fill the hole in my being. It may be listening to 'Unhappy Girl' six times in a row, or trying to learn 'Take It As It Comes'  on the guitar. It may be running to Paris for an afternoon or the occasional mental breakdown.

Actually, that's all bollocks. I want that notebook because more than almost anything else in existence, it contains Jim's mind. It's his thoughts and with someone like Jim, that's his soul. I'll never get to look into his eyes, but to see the biro marks on the page is nearly almost as good.

So, let the fundraising begin. I'll be buying a Euromillions ticket on Friday I think. Just in case, you understand.

*

Saw Failure to Launch on Saturday with my brother after he rented it on DVD. Is it me or are romantic comedies becoming increasingly smug? They've almost always been about the wealthy portion of the world, but it's becoming almost intolerable.

*

Stomach hurts. That is all.

Stuff n Nonsense

Tuesday, 25 July 2006 20:41
apolla: (OTP)

I thought I should drop in and update on real life, which is something I dabble in occasionally.

Still, today I began to believe once more that humanity is one of God's least-successful experiments. The planet is full of sheep and lemmings and mindless drones that don't seem to care that they're sheep, lemmings and mindless drones! Look at the shit we get fed on TV and in the news: for every story of a little child being bombed in Lebanon there are six about Posh being pregnant, Gillian Anderson being pregnant, Cristiano Ronaldo possibly being paid truckloads for kicking a ball around for someone other than Manchester United.

It just tires me. I would love so much to have faith in humans, to find you all amusing, but I can't. I feel like an outsider with my own species because I simply don't get it. I mean, I do a pretty good job at coasting through life (The Clare Human Outreach Program) but the idea that other people live this way because they want to blows my mind. Seriously: are there people happy to live one of these Quiet Lives, with mortgages and stuff?

Do you realise that hardly anyone OWNS anything? I mean it- what do you own? Do you own a business, or the means of production for anything? Aside from a house perhaps, what do you own that is of consequence? The land you live on? You don't own much, do you? A few books, some clothes, maybe a tin of food, a computer. Sure, this is a LOT MORE than a lot of people have, but it's not much is it? The land we live on, it's all owned by a small moneyed minority whose fathers and great-grandfathers and Norman ancestors owned.

Can you tell that I read some George Orwell essays on Saturday? I'm not suggesting Britain (or even less likely, L'America) go Socialist, as he did... but the only parts of his essays that are dated involve the Empire. Seriously, most of the stuff he said in 1940-46 is not only still relevant, it is more relevant!

The article about the English language really got to me, and I shall copy out his five rules for you now, because we are ever more riddled with cliche and meaningless managementpoliticspeak than ever.

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
5. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

He's not talking about the literary use of the language, because in books and novels and poetry these things are sometimes required. Now, I'm the first to admit I use cliche sometimes, although usually in a knowingly mocking manner. I use long words all the time because that's my way. Still, these are points we should all take into account. This isn't the usual pedantry regarding apostrophes, it's an attempt to grasp at the truth behind what people are saying: "language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought."

The soundbite of the whole collection is included in this particular essay as well as printed on the cover:

"Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is desinged to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

I tell you this: even Orwell himself has been taken and twisted into cliche: How Orwellian, etc etc. Do not fall for it. Be brave and singular and vast armies of angels will come to your aid when you need them.

*

Enough of that serious stuff, for I am the master of the trivial. I have now been off Diet Coke for nearly two months, and only broke my regular Coke embargo the other weekend at Guilfest although I've been drinking some (not much) since then. I'd like to say that my life has improved beyond measure, but I'd be lying. My hair has stopped falling out quite so much, but I can't really tell the difference. I haven't been ill or anything once three days had passed. I haven't even minded it being gone from my life, although I find water unutterably boring.

So is aspartame the devil's semen? Maybe. I don't know. I can live without it and I'm trying to break the bonds of capitalist corporate dependency by drinking Frappacinos every lunchtime at Starbucks...

*

What else? Oh, Jim Morrison's last notebook is being auctioned soon by Cooper Owen and is already at forty thousand pounds with a guide of eighty. Does anyone have a spare one hundred thousand pounds I could borrow? I can't bear the idea of the boy's last, terrible and tortured ramblings (have read some pages. it's not easy or pleasing or particularly good, but it's what I imagined a dying man might write like) falling into the hands of a rich person who doesn't care about him or his thoughts. I imagine that anyone who CAN afford it is the kind to either shove it away from the world or buy it simply to brag "Hey, I've got Jim Morrison's notebook from Paris."

Surely it belongs with someone who actually cares about the man behind the legend underneath the myth? Not me necessarily, but someone who cares that Jim Morrison was once a living, breathing man. I would love to own it, to read it, to have it... not in an acquisitional manner but in a... I'm never going to be able to look into my boy's eyes, OK? I'm never going to hear his voice in the room with me. I'm never going to know what he smelled like (probably not good towards the end) or what he felt like. I'm never going to have him sat opposite me unless God Himself In All His Divine Grooviness lets me go back to look after him. This is something I am (begrudgingly) resigned to, but it leads me to look for ways to fill the hole in my being. It may be listening to 'Unhappy Girl' six times in a row, or trying to learn 'Take It As It Comes'  on the guitar. It may be running to Paris for an afternoon or the occasional mental breakdown.

Actually, that's all bollocks. I want that notebook because more than almost anything else in existence, it contains Jim's mind. It's his thoughts and with someone like Jim, that's his soul. I'll never get to look into his eyes, but to see the biro marks on the page is nearly almost as good.

So, let the fundraising begin. I'll be buying a Euromillions ticket on Friday I think. Just in case, you understand.

*

Saw Failure to Launch on Saturday with my brother after he rented it on DVD. Is it me or are romantic comedies becoming increasingly smug? They've almost always been about the wealthy portion of the world, but it's becoming almost intolerable.

*

Stomach hurts. That is all.

apolla: (Queen Maeve)
Go here. Do it now. Watch. Listen. Think.

I wish Johnny Leper was still with us. People listened when he called us on the bullshit, even when it was his own.
apolla: (Queen Maeve)
Go here. Do it now. Watch. Listen. Think.

I wish Johnny Leper was still with us. People listened when he called us on the bullshit, even when it was his own.

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