Saturday, December 24, 2011

Art ... or Porn ... ?

I admit. I have a thing for body art and tattoos. This, to me, is art. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cavendish : Fastest Man In The World : Sports Personality Of The Year ...

He commands Beckham-like levels of fame in Europe. He's won more awards - in Europe - than almost any cyclist, yet until this year in the UK he was less well known, except within cycling circles.

But we knew. We knew long ago. And more importantly, *he* knew. I've never met a man so driven, so 'fuck you, i'm doing it anyway'.

At last night's BBC 2011 Sports Personality Of The Year Award, he not only won, but he won by a landslide, with just a shade under 50% of the total vote. Just deserts, for the first Briton to win the World Road Racing Championship for 46 years and the first ever to win the Tour de France Green Jersey for top sprinter,

For a man labelled as a 'motormouth' he was a little bit shocked, and thoughtful in his acceptance speech. He enthusiastically thanked his team - he always does, in a genuine manner - and went on to say:
“For cycling to be recognised in a non-Olympic year, it's unheard's incredible.The more people who are riding bikes, the more they can appreciate what it means."

"It is not just the Tour de France - one race a year. We are racing 100 days a year. They know what it is to race such distances for such a long time. They appreciate all it takes to do that."

"There couldn’t be a more perfect way to go into the Olympics than as Sports Personality of the country. We go in, it’s the first medal on offer at the Games and everyone is looking at me and my team to achieve that first goal."

"It couldn’t be more fitting that I am doing that with this accolade under my belt."
British Cycling was honoured after the last Olympics, with all those gold medals. (Although strangely, on the track Mark Cavendish was the only member of the squad of fourteen not to win at least one medal.) But in a non-Olympic year, this is epic.

22/12/2011 - the day Cycling became mainstream. And if it inspires a few thousand to get onto two wheels, help the environment, and get healthy at the same time, that's wonderful.

And Cavendish? He's only 26, but he has, I think, his *best* years ahead of him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Occupy Movement : The Public Perception ...

OccupyLSX has been a whisper in the street.

Since October 15th, as well as regular visits to the @OccupyLSX camp at St Pauls, the @OccupyLFS at Finsbury Square, and more recently the wonderful @BankOfIdeas, I have been engaging, with others, the flood of misinformation on Twitter and other Social Media platforms, as well as promoting the Occupy Movement as a whole; blogging, discussing, following and spreading the news about various issues.

Two things struck me initially, and have continued to do so: The clear public support for the Occupy Movement's position on most of the issues; and the relative *lack* of public engagement on the methods, tactics and strategy used by the Movement worldwide.

In short: They mostly agree with what we say; but they don't always approve of what we do.

Public support, even media support *on the issues* is quite clearly in favour. Early on (17th October), The Guardian polled an 87% 'Yes' in response to the question "The protesters [OccupyLSX] are taking a stand against the bankers and the financial institutions. Are you with them?" [1.]

But strangely, only two weeks later (31st October) The Sunday Times polled only 44% in response to "whether or not they supported the anti-capitalists’ aims" ... without being clear, in the poll, what the aims actually were. It didn't help that the Poll was in Murdoch's Times, of course, nor that OccupyLSX was referred to - again -  as 'anticapitalist'. [2.]

Since then there hasn't been a clear poll taken, but what *has* happened is that mainstream media have finally ended discussion about the protest itself, the Church and the resignations; and started highlighting the root causes behind the protests. Even The Sun and The Daily Mail, this week. All of the broadsheets and many news bulletins are now talking about what *we* have been talking about for nearly 10 weeks, and there is clear public anger over the inequalities in our system, our forms of government, our taxation policies, and almost everything else OccupyLSX has stood for.

But OccupyLSX is still seen by too many as a bunch of (brace yourself) non-working, benefit-claiming, lefty/entitled, smelly, bearded (even the females) socialist/communist lentil-eating sitar-playing borderline-criminal terrorist-agitators. (various descriptions taken from far-too-many vitriolic tweets)

Our public persona has failed. Our most publicly-known spokesperson is probably Laurie Penny. We never intended to be a brand - but we needed an image, and the image we put out there failed to deliver the support that OccupyLSX fully deserved.

So why is that? I would put this down to 5 factors as expressed constantly on Social Media; "We don't 'get' you"; "You're breaking the law"; "You're too few"; "We hear all this about..."; and "You've achieved nothing."

1. They Don't Get Us...

This is because OccupyLSX is protesting in a new way that the general public haven't seen before. They expect us to march, sing and shout - and go home. Occupations and long-term protesting were for the Maze Prison, Greenham Common, and Dale Farm - all over single issues, and all outside the capital, all overlooked (after the first few days) by the media, and hence, the populace.

They fail to understand that the Occupation is an ongoing process, an experimental journey. We're doing things that have rarely been done before, right in the public eye; Creating a community at St Pauls and Finsbury; Taking over empty spaces and using them; all under one umbrella movement.

We march on certain set occasions - and then *go back* to the encampment.

The British people (and all over the world) are struggling to understand this - partially *because* we have failed to explain it properly.

2. We're Breaking The Law...

Hmmm. Tricky one, this. On some things, the Occupy Movement is the *right* side of morality but the *wrong* side of legality. If you're being pedantic. I counter this by comparisons to history - and I think the Occupy Movement has earned that comparison.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs, The Battle of Cable Street, Womens Suffrage, Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Tianemen Square, The Arab Spring, Tahrir Square, Libyan and Syria uprisings.. (feel free to add your own examples); all broke the laws of their countries; because if the laws are wrong, I believe you have a moral *duty* to choose which ones you break and which ones you comply with.

And that list? Everyone on that list is seen - today - as a hero or heroine. Let history judge us, because *no* social change can happen within the rules of the old regimes.

If it was good enough for Mandela...

3. We're Too Few...

The Public read and watch (a little) about London, and perhaps New York. I tell people about the scope of the Movement, and they are always surprised. 'That many?' I hear. Yes, over 951 occupations in 82 countries, at the last count. [3.]

Anonymous say 'We Are Legion'. And we are. Add in those who support in mind but cannot in person; and we are countless.

4. We Hear All This About...

Ask anybody about the Occupation in London and they'll tell you that they know about the 'empty tents'; The faeces in the Cathedral; The drugs, the fighting, the sanitation issues, etc.

The misinformation in certain parts of the media has been apalling. I've spent countless hours online with fellow troll-fighters @YMAHTrolling and @EX fighting these myths, and gradually grinding them down.

Many of the 'Trolls' who intently spread these messages know full well that the myths have already been debunked, yet they continue to do so under their own private agendas, *always* anonymously. The two worst offenders have been 'outed' as expat tax-dodgers, living abroad and working in the forex trading business, not actually paying *any* UK tax, (that would be @fatcouncillor and @MockTheLeft) and having never visited the sites to view with their own eyes. And yet these people are watched religeously by right-wing followers who post on their comments.

But it's harder to fight the misinformation in the mainstream media. We are still referred to as 'anticapitalist' despite the variety of views within the Movement. We have had no apologies forthcoming from those titles who have knowing printed false information. We expect none.

A little truth and balance from the media would be nice, but as the Leveson Enquiry has clearly indicated, we may have to wait a while on *that*.

5. You've Achieved Nothing...

Well, a) We have.. and b) We're just getting started.

Because this is such a radical *way* of bringing the issues into the public domain, I think perhaps many people expected us to get results in a few weeks. I think - I hope - most people within the Occupy Movement have realised that the only way to effect Social Change is not to convince the Governments, or the Financial Institions, but to educate and inform the Public, and get *them* to demand the changes that are required; and the Public Conciousness is a slow-moving beast. But it is gradually rising, sniffing the air and finding that it doesn't like what it smells.

It is a crawl. It's a fight.

But we can display some small wins so far; HMRC's boss will resign, and the Department is being investigated. All Political Parties agree on taking firm action against City excesses. Tax procedures of major companies are under the microscope. The Church has been forced to re-evaluate itself.

People mostly agree with what we say; but they don't always approve of what we do.

But more importantly, people are beginning to question the status quo. And that's a beginning, not an end.




Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tom Cruise Is *No* Jack Reacher ... 'Mission Implausible' ...

If you're hooked on great detective novels .. as I am .. You'll be aware of Jack Reacher. I just *love* these books. I even have the t-shirt.

Reacher is the creation of British-born thriller writer Lee Child, and has appeared in 16 novels so far, all of them best-sellers (the latest, 'The Affair' is just out).

He's a big man, a quiet loner, with mental and physical scars, wandering the US after many years of Military Service, drinking lots of coffee, getting into lots of trouble, solving problems and then moving on.

As the author describes Reacher :

"He was in the machine his whole life. Then the machine coughed and spat him out. Now he takes it easy. He's not looking for trouble. But sometimes trouble looks for Reacher."

The short guy
So many Reacher fans have been waiting for the movie. And here it comes... prepare to be disappointed. Reacher - 6'5", 250 lbs, wide, intimidating, blond-ish, will be played by ... Tom Cruise.


Tom Cruise.

A full foot too short, 100 lbs too light and not nearly half as mean.

The template
Let's get an idea of who Reacher should look like, shall we?

When Child was asked a few years ago who he had in his minds eye when writing the Reacher character, he mentioned England Rugby International Captain (and World Cup winner) Lawrence Dallaglio (left). Oh, if only he could act.

Maybe Hugh Jackman would be a good cast. Or Damien Lewis. Jeez, even Vin Diesel.
Not Tom Cruise, then.

There's been an huge uproar among Reacher fans over this ridiculous casting. After years waiting for a Reacher movie, perhaps even a series, it looks like a possible franchise (think Jason Bourne) will be stopped in it's tracks by the Hollywood machine, and Cruise's ego. (Mind you, I never thought Matt Damon was right for Jason Bourne either.)

There's even been a Facebook Page been set up : "Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher".

The blonde
Apparently, Tom Cruise has been rather upset by the criticism, even before shooting starts.

Of course, the movie might just be saved by the casting of the wonderful Rosamund Pike (right) as Cruise's co-star.
But the plain fact is, just as Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy, Tom Cruise is no Jack Reacher.

You might even call it 'Mission Implausible'.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The #Anonymous 2011 Xmas Video ...

Ethical Hacking Crew 'Anonymous' have released this video as a retrospective on what has been an epic year...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Colour Purple ...

Some people have a 'thing' for colour. This lady, for example, clearly adores Purple. Hat, scarf, shoes, backpack - and matching laptop.

Seen in Costa Coffee, Surbiton.