Tag Archives: Guardian

Phone hacking scandal: Who knew? Loads of us.

Can there any longer be any doubt that News International is a force of evil in the world? (This wasn’t my scheduled subject, but “events dear boy, events.”)

There are all sorts of pictures of perps and victims I could have used to illustrate this - but here's the Murdoch monkey at the top of the tree - the spider at the centre of the web. Unfortunately the bad smell does not come solely from him. There's a strong whiff very much closer to home.

They’re the reason I receive text messages like this:

Hi, I am unable to answer my phone at the moment but if you leave me a message, the News of the World will email it to me later.

 But the appalling behaviour of some journalists is not the most shocking part. What’s really scary is that the omertà of Britain’s press and politicians on phone-hacking amounts to complicity in crime Continue reading

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A tune and a wee cup of tea

Tea first, then scroll down to mellow music

Too much pressure? Too much fussin’ and fighting? Time for a mellow tune and a wee cup of tea – just where you wouldn’t expect it.

Here’s the challenge Continue reading

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Filed under art, life, Music

To see ourselves as others do…

You will join the Tea Party. Ah go on. Ah go on go on go on go on....

To see ourselves as others do is a concept that can be overrated. You’ll get nowhere if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, worrying about what other people think. Why give head space to the knee jerk doubters who oppose anything new almost as a matter of principle. Or as the Irish saying goes – “F**k the begrudgers”. (It’s not one you find on decorative tea towels. Nor does it include the Fr Teddishfeck“. But I find it comes in handier more often than the road rising to meet you and being in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.)

Then again…

Seen from Europe the Tea Party phenomenon seems to be fizzing with crazies, bigots, racists, ex witches, anti masturbators, science deniers, the deluded and opportunists.  But Continue reading

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Journalism today – con jobs and hamster wheels

Are journalism courses the biggest con around? Academically and vocationally. Continue reading

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Filed under media

Politics time again (to quote Buju Banton)

Time for some politics. Three stories. Two American, one British.

  • One is sad but true.
  • Another rings very true, but is, in fact, just silly.
  • The third might be true. I’ve no idea.

But which is which?

1. Sauce for the goose, but not the gander. This quote from Peter Schmuck, a Baltimore sports writer, concerning the indictment of Roger Clemens (left), a baseball player in the USA who allegedly lied to Congress about taking steroids:

“Isn’t it great to live in a society where the penalty for lying to a Congressman can be up to 30 years in jail, but the penalty for a Congressman lying to you is another two years in office?”

I’m not sure what the going rate for lying Congresswomen is.

Hey. This is what came up when I put AWNAA in Google images. Er... perhaps.

2. Finally a bill we can all support: The AWNAA Act of 2010

Washington, DC – Congress is considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans: The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition. Continue reading

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Euphemisms for… ahem… you know…

Death in the North is different. We don’t like to acknowledge the event. Down South they’re weeping and wailing and partying round the coffin.

But up North we don’t like to talk about it.

We come up with euphemisms instead.

He’s tatey bread Continue reading

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Filed under life

The pram in the hallway

This is something you should never do. But hey, we’re all adults here. And we can shoulder responsibilities and still be experimental and creative at the same time, can’t we. More after the washing machine destruction. It gets particularly destructive at 55″ in. (Thanks ColtMonday.)

Getting back to the pram. Cyril Connolly said this:

“There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hallway.”

A bloke would say it I suppose. A woman would just Continue reading

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The Banned / A New Name

Everyone’s getting banned. Aung San Suu Kyi is banned from leaving her house arrest in Burma. Ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya is banned from leaving the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. And now I’ve been banned from using the computer on Sundays. I proudly stand with my fellow bannees. But Sunday is past. So I can now mention a couple of things.

  1. Worrying/odd treatment of the British National Party (BNP) by BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat show. See Guardian newspaper news story and Roy Greenslade comment.
  2. Something delightful I saw on the Cultural Snow blog.
  3. I’ve changed the name of the main character in my novel, Blackwatertown, to (ta dah) Macken. Or more fully. John Oliver Macken, aka Jack Macken, aka Jolly Macken. There now. Isn’t that a heroic moniker?

Macken’s previous name was too close to living people, who might themselves be displeased, or might themselves incur the displeasure of others incapable of differentiating fact from fiction. Bad for the health and all that.

Macken is a conflicted Catholic policeman serving in the RUC in the 1950s. After farcical encounters in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains of County Down, he is demoted from sergeant and banished to sleepy Blackwatertown near the Irish border. His arrival has far-reaching consequences: It wakes the place up; stirs up the murkiness round the mysterious death of the police officer he is replacing; sparks a new border war; and begins a sometimes dark, sometimes funny, wild ride through the politics of sexuality, sectarianism, loyalty and what it means to belong.

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Filed under media, Music, My Writing, politics