Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ignore X-Factor, Pop Idol, Whatever - Rock Lives On...

I have no idea who competed in any TV Talent Show in the last five years, or even who won, because I see no point in watching garbage that is primarily designed to fill Simon Cowell's pockets. All I know is that Rock lives forever. Further to my previous post about Radiohead's 'OK Computer' being voted best album of the last 25 years, it now turns out that music biggest money-makers of the last twelve months were... Bon Jovi.

Yeah, that Bon Jovi. The aging-but-still-going band that started 27 years ago, and are still rocking.

Aussie hard rockers AC/DC came in at No. 2 and U2 were at No. 3. All good so far.

Sadly, and unexplicably, self-publicist Lady Gaga came in at No. 4, but when you consider that the top 3 acts of 2010 are rockers with a combined 98 years in the business, and Lady Gaga will be forgotten by this time next year, we'll let that one slide as a rogue result. Can't see anyone playing her music for the next thirty years, can you?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Why I Am No Longer A Christian ...


Not me, but blogger latentexistence, has written a tight, sharp and hard-hitting post on his current lack of faith.

Jokingly (I think) he tweeted afterwards that he was "Fucking terrified of the fallout I'm going to get from that blog post."


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Radiohead's 'OK Computer' Named Best Album Of The Past 25 Years ...


Ignore 'Pop Idol' and 'X Factor' - real music always shines through. OK Computer is one of my all-time favourites and it has now been named best album of the past 25 years by Q Magazine.

The list, to be published in the February edition on sale on December 29, sees Nirvana's worldwide hit 'Nevermind' in 2nd place, with Oasis taking the next two positions. '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' was 3rd while their debut 'Definitely Maybe' was 4th. U2 also managed a pair of albums in the top 10, with 'The Joshua Tree' at 6 and 'Achtung Baby' at 9.

In the entire top 250 albums listed by the magazine, U2 have the largest total of releases, while Radiohead have six. Muse and Oasis have five each.

The Top 30 List:

  1. OK Computer - Radiohead
  2. Nevermind - Nirvana
  3. (What's The Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis
  4. Definitely Maybe - Oasis
  5. Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
  6. The Joshua Tree - U2
  7. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
  8. The Bends - Radiohead
  9. Achtung Baby - U2
  10. Black Holes And Revelations - Muse
  11. Is This It - The Strokes
  12. A Rush Of Blood To The Head - Coldplay
  13. Parklife - Blur
  14. Screamadelica - Primal Scream
  15. White Blood Cells - The White Stripes
  16. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
  17. Hot Fuss - The Killers
  18. Kid A - Radiohead
  19. Funeral - Arcade Fire
  20. American Idiot - Green Bay
  21. The Holy Bible - Manic Street Preachers
  22. Absolution - Muse
  23. In Rainbows - Radiohead
  24. Only By The Night - Kings Of Leon
  25. Demon Days - Gorillaz
  26. Origin Of Symmetry - Muse
  27. Appetite For Destruction - Guns N'Roses
  28. Urban Hymns - The Verve
  29. Automatic For The People - R.E.M.
  30. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
Biggest surprise - how the hell did The Strokes get on there?

For Sale - All Of Our Forests. Not Some, Nor Most – The Whole Lot ...


Rather scary article at the Guardian Online today stating that the Coalition Government is considering the sale of not just "some", or even "substantial", amounts of woodland as the public was originally led to believe, but of all state-owned English trees across the commission's 635,000-acre Forestry Commission estate. This includes many royal forests, state-owned ancient woodlands, sites of special scientific interest, heathland, campsites, farms and sporting estates.

The lot, not a leaf nor twig spared

But the opposition is mounting. By last night more than 98,500 people had registered their opposition to the sale with the group 38 degrees and more are joining the many local forest protection movements springing up as word spreads and people realise what is at stake.

Many people want to protect access to "their" public woodland which is now at risk and they pose a real political threat to local Tory and LibDem MPs who never mentioned any of this in their separate or joint manifesto.

Read more at The Guardian.

Monday, December 20, 2010

BBC Responds To My Complaint ...

On my previous post about lack of media coverage of UKUnCut actions on Saturday, the BBC, bless their cotton socks, have replied. Actually from Saturday to Monday afternoon is not a bad response time. The content of their reply, however, barely addresses the points I raised.



Dear Mr O'Connell

Thank you for your feedback regarding BBC News on 18 December 2010.

We appreciate some audience members felt we did not afford enough coverage to protests held by the group “UK Uncut” on this date.

This was a busy news day due to the widespread level of disruption caused by the severe weather. Saying this, we did report on the protests during our Teatime bulletin at 17:10. An extensive report also featured on the BBC News website, detailing the protests in London and providing background information on the “UK Uncut” group. It can be seen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12027256

It must also be stressed that previous to the most recent protests we have extensively covered the actions and intentions of “UK Uncut”. Such coverage includes online and ‘Today’ programme reports which can be seen and heard at the following links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12013069  
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9267000/9267344.stm  

We felt we afforded a balanced and appropriate level of coverage to the protests considering their size and in proportional relation to other news stories prevalent during the day in question.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

BBC Audience Services



It's a rather banal response which smacks rather of a 'boilerplate', suggesting that this complaint is a regular one. This is clearly an issue to monitor on an ongoing basis.

UKUnCut Protests - Why They CAN and WILL Work In The Long Term ...

After yesterday's #payday events across the UK organised on Twitter by #UKUnCut, there are two burning issues now being discussed:

Why the lack of media coverage?

Did the weather-based travel disruption really warrant 96% of airtime on the major TV news channels? (the other 4% was cancelled sports events and on the BBC, a 'Strictly Come Dancing' preview disguised as news.)

I have complained to the BBC on-line, as follows:



Sirs,

For the last few hours (12:00 to 16:00) there has been far too much coverage of weather disruption (probably 90% of airtime) - most of it of very little benefit after the fact - and far too little, or no, coverage on other major events in the UK today, especially the #UkUnCuts actions against High Street stores up and down the country.

This follows on from poor or little coverage of other actions taken against VodaFone and the Arcadia group in recent weeks. BBC News' editorial policy and choice of stories is an issue which needs to come under serious scrutiny if taxpayers and license fee payers are to continue to fund BBC News on it's current basis. Otherwise many of us who support #UKUnCut and other similair organisations may choose to add our voices to the call for a complete restructuring of current BBC News Services.

If you want to continue to broadcast and be funded in the current manner, I would suggest that you seriously re-evaluate your existing editorial policy and report all worthy news stories. And if you don't consider the #UkUnCut actions story to be worthy, then perhaps BBC should reconsider the position of the person that makes that decision.



No reply as yet but I'll keep you posted.


The second issue is more critical:

Will these protests work in the long-run?

I believe they will.

Just as Vodafone, Boots, HSBC 'et al' claim that their tax-avoidance is legal, (and sadly, they are right) so calling for specific companies to be boycotted is also legal. This is the basis behind ethical consumerism. As tax-payers and voters we have little power (usually) except an election vote every 4 years. Many are now realizing that their spending money is also a terrific weapon.

  • Choose NOT to spend money at an unethical store and you hurt that companies profits and reputation in the long-term.
  • Spread the word and others will consider doing the same. At least, if various companies in the same business sector are closely price-matched, tax ethics may well be the deciding factor. I'm delighted to say that I have persuaded 6 people to dump Vodafone.
  • Other businesses considering similiar unethical tax evasion will perhaps reconsider the potential future ongoing cost of a public backlash.
  • Highlighting the issue will hopefully pressurize the Millionaire's Cabinet into dealing with tax avoidance long-term as promised. Perhaps in the next budget or two we might get some legislation in place.

 If #UKUnCut is to work, it must continue the pressure relentlessly - in which case I honestly believe it simply cannot fail to have a political and economic effect on UK Tax Policy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Current List Of 'British' Tax-Dodging Companies ...

A list for you to consider when out and about with your wallets. All I ask is that you use the only power you have left - the choice of the consumer.

Cadburys - Twinings - Britt Assurance - Vodafone - Boots - Top Shop - Dorothy Perkins - British Home Stores - Burtons - Evans - Miss Selfridge - Top Man - Top Shop

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2010: When I Say I Am The Best, It’s Honesty, Not Arrogance, Says Mark Cavendish ...

The criticism most frequently directed at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year is one of terminology: the majority of those nominated for the gong, runs the argument, are devoid of personality. It is not a sneer that could be applied this year. Not with Mark Cavendish in the running.

The bracingly self-confident Manxman is short of neither character nor opinion.

Nor, in 2010, has he suffered an achievement deficit. Finishing second in the sprint classification, he added five more stage wins in the Tour de France to the six he won in 2009, taking his tally to 15, to become easily the most successful British rider in the race’s history.

More at the Telegraph article.

[PostScript: In 2011, Cav won 5 more stages and won the final Paris stage again, three times in a row. In Europe, Cavemdish is as famous as David Beckham.]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quote Of The Day ...

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.

- Bill Watterson

Pastor Jones On The Way To The UK ... ?

Pastor Terry Jones should not be allowed to place a single toe on British soil.

This is the man, you may remember, who this year advocated the burning of Korans of the anniversary of 9-11. He is a preacher of hate to all faiths not only radical islam, but even some sects of Christianity other than his beloved particular 'cult'.

This is the man who is radical in Christianity as his targets are in Islam - While running his Christliche Gemeinde Köln Church in Germany, press agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported that church members said Jones "ran the Cologne church like a sect leader and used psychological pressure on members", “subordinating all activities to his will".

This is the man who keeps a handgun on his desk as a toy.

This is the man who calls himself 'Doctor' by publicly - and illegally - using an honorary degree from the unaccredited California Graduate School of Theology in 2002.

This is the man who in 2008, was ejected by the congregation in Cologne for being a Christian fundamentalist, due to untenable theological statements and allegations of financial impropriety.

Following an invitation from the English Defence League Jones is considering attending a rally in Luton in the U.K. in February 2011 (the BIG one on the 5th) to share his views on Islamic extremism. This news caused a reaction from the anti-fascist group Hope not Hate which has launched a petition to the Home Secretary to ban Jones from entering the country.

If he is let into the country, I look forward to giving him a... suitable welcome at the airport.



Postscript:

The EDL invitation was very rapidly withdrawn, with no reason given. Result, either way!

Russian Football Nationalism On The Rise ...

Further to the previous post on Nationalism and Racism in Russian football (and why they didn't deserve the World Cup) it seems that Nazi salutes were the order of the day in Moscow over the weekend. (Russian football fans run riot in Moscow protest)

Russian 'football fans' and UltraNationalists ran riot in the centre of Moscow on Saturday, when a demonstration descended into violence that left 13 people hospitalised. Thousands of fans, supported by members of far-right groups, gathered in Manezhnaya Square near the Kremlin for the protest, with some shouting slogans such as "Russia for Russians" and performing Nazi salutes, according to an AFP photographer.

They were protesting the death of Yegor Sviridov, a Spartak Moscow fan who was shot in the head last Saturday during a fight with men from the Russian Caucasus, a remote area of Russia from which thousands of migrants have moved to Moscow for employment prospects. In July another Spartak fan, telejournalist Yury Volkov, was stabbed to death in a fight with men from the Russian Caucasus in a central Moscow park. A Chechen man has been charged with the crime.

"If the authorities don't change the policy on immigration, there will be a lot of bloodshed," said one demonstrator, whose face was hidden behind a black mask.

Yeah, reeaaallly looking forward to this World Cup, aren't we?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Joy Of Joys! Vodafone's Twitter Screw-up ...

This morning a new Twitter viral started - called #mademesmile - Vodafone decided that despite being in the middle of a £6 Billion Tax Fraud Battle, they'd start a competition that allowed peoples tweets to appear on their own home page - without any filtering - allowing UKUnCut and any other right-minded tax-dodger-basher to post their honest and balanced views on these thieves.

This #mademesmile is currently one of hottest trends on Twitter. Can you imagine the wonderful inquest tomorrow morning at Vodafone HQ? Wouldn't you just want to be a fly on the wall in that office ?!

Q. How many VodaFone executives does it take to run a Social Media Competition?

A. None, they've all been fired for this cock-up.

Monday, December 06, 2010

More Tax-Avoidance - Now I Can't Eat Cadburys Chocolate ...

If you buy a Cadburys chocolate bar in the UK, the tax on the profits will go to the Swiss Government.

Kraft, the new American owners of Cadbury's chocolate are working on a plan to shift major parts of the 186-year-old British business to Switzerland in a move likely to deprive the UK exchequer of millions of pounds of tax.

So chocolate-loving Brits are paying money to the US and Switzerland, and the British Exchequer gets to see very little of it.

They too, are added to the steadily growing Boycott List.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Britons Don’t Normally Join Protests, But Something Has Changed ...

Excellent piece on the Liberal Conspiracy site about Saturdays protests against UK-based tax-dodging companies such as Vodafone, Top Shop, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, etc.

Also a good piece on Channel 4 News (online version here).


It's amazing to note that there is no longer a social group than can be tagged as 'protesters' - just very angry citizens, tax-payers and voters.

BNP And EDL Thugs Run Away In Hull ... !

I'd never have believed it would ever happen, but the BNP is finally showing signs of being a spent force.
On Saturday a planned demo by both organizations outside a Hull mosque attracted only 20 thugs - who were rapidly chased away by several hundred Unite Against Fascism supporters.

Coupled with the fact that the BNP has STILL to audit it's 2010 Election accounts, is leaking floods of members and has reported debts of approx £500,00, I can hear the death bells now. Happy days! British political parties are not allowed to maintain debts over a long period of time, or have election audits outstanding for longer than the permitted time,which means that the BNP will be forced to fold, losing the holocasut-denying Griffin his seat as a Euro MP. Happy, happy days!

Sadly the same is not true of the racist and outright nazi EDL, a far more dangerous group with no 'restriction' as to their recruitment or behaviour, as suffered by the BNP, being a Political Party. We will be watching them carefully - especially in Luton on the 5th of February, when we fully expect to run them out of town again. These days we only get to see the backs of their heads.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Russia And Qatar? Are You Kidding Me ... ?

So Russian Mafia money, Putin's trickery, massive bribery, a corrupt FIFA and openly anti-British sentiment by long-time crook Sepp Blatter has resulted in a World Cup hosting win for Russia. I'm not bitter, really.

They even had international fraudster, blackmailer and thief Roman Abramovich on their team. (If Russia is so wonderful, how come he lives in Wentworth, England?)

Well, the Moscow Mafia will be partying non-stop for days - nothing gets done, moved or built in Moscow or St Petersburg without their approval and several brown envelopes - They'll make more money than ever. Because of their influence, Russia's building standards and safety regulations are nonexistant, and frankly it'll all end in tears and (literal) disaster.

Russia has also been singled out continuously as one of the most racist countries in the world, particularly in the football arenas.

Never mind the BBC making the Panorama programme FIFA's Dirty Secrets on FIFA corruption - that's their job. The timing could have been better, sure, but if FIFA are squeaky-clean, they should be able to brush off these allegations. Sadly, FIFA executives answer to no-one but the chief Blatter.

"Women should wear tighter shorts and low cut shirts to create a more female aesthetic"
- Sepp Blatter
And Qatar? Just because the oil countries have more money than class, should we allow them to purchase every sporting event under the sun? Including events that their population have very little interest in?

What next, Dubai hosts the Superbowl, UAE presents the Cheltenham Gold Cup and The Cricket Ashes live from Yemen?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Just Had To Post This ...

What kind of SICK parent gives their child a name like this?


... Any why would he ever want to be promoted ... ?