Thursday, 26 February 2009

Going Down In History

For a while now the Guardian has had a regualar feature called Reel History that assesses the historical accuracy and the entertainment value of films inspired by true events. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford gets an A- for accuracy, for instance, while only garnering a D for entertainment, which is a little harsh and it manages to be one of those reviews where the reviewer wanted to watch a different movie:
Too often, the monotonous voiceover recounts events which sound a lot more interesting than anything happening onscreen, while the audience is left watching endless shots of snowy fields and rickety furniture. Jesse James remains a distant figure[.]

All of which seemed to have some point to me rather than being reasons to mark it down.

Anyway, it's quite amazing that they hadn't got around to U-571 before now as at seems exactly the sort of movie the format was built for: A movie about a moment of British Heroism that has been handed over to Americans to make it more Box Office friendly. As if that wasn't enough:
Obviously, at some point during pre-production, someone asked the question: "But how can we make this film even more ridiculous?" Fortunately, the answer was readily to hand: cast 90s poodle rocker Jon Bon Jovi as the chief engineer.

So, plenty of reasons to hate this movie. But the reason I'm posting about it here is for this line:
The director actually has the audacity to end on a title card dedicating his film to the memory of the real sailors who captured Enigma machines. Yes, that same memory he has just desecrated. This is exactly the most tasteless gesture the film-makers could have made.


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

£50 Million In Heroin Is Only £100,000 (Also Not Actually Heroin)

Ministry of Defence propaganda and the Afghan drug war
So operation DIESEL, in reality, resulted in the finding and destruction of somewhere in the region of 1300kg of unprocessed opium and an a quantity of the chemicals required to process opium into heroin. A few quick sums: According to the UNODC the 'farm-gate' price for opium in Afghanistan in 2008 was $85 a kilo, and these DIESEL stockpiles were presumably not far from the Helmand farms on which they were produced. 1300 x 85 = $110,500, in other words, opium worth approximately £78,000 to the Taliban, at this point in the supply chain.

Were this 1300kg of opium to have been turned into low grade heroin (and we can reasonably suspect that this was what was going to happen), on the basis that it takes around 10kg of opium to produce 1 kg of heroin, it would have produced around 130kg. If the ‘street price’ of a kilo of heroin in the UK is estimated to be around £50- 75,000, then 130 kilos would earn you somewhere between £6.5 and £9.7 million. A very large sum of money certainly, albeit nowhere near £50 million.

It does make you wonder what drugs the MoD is on.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Prawo Jazdy: Road Menace

Mr. Jazdy was wanted by the Garda for over 50 motoring offences in Ireland, until it was pointed out that:
"Prawo Jazdy is actually Polish for 'driving licence' and not the first and surname on the licence."

Pure Genius.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Yet Another Post-Gig Claim Of Greatness

Well, we were great. All the 'Berries were on form. The Marki had any number of fine solos. Walter kept the all the pieces at just the right tempo. Hannes made "Dead, Drunk & Naked". I was glad to get through the whole thing with my voice intact.

The games room at Doherty's Bar isn't huge (I'd guess we got about 30 in — not packed but good enough) but singing with no amplification was a bit daunting. I managed it though. Having to belt out the songs didn't exactly suit all of them (a few songs really need more of a croon and the Tom Waitsy bit in Vanilla Pudding is diffcult to do without close miking) but some of the songs we did we as good as they've been. I personally thought we'd never done a better Prison Grove.

The only really wrong thing I remember was had an odd hesitant moment from me at the beginning of Dead, Drunk & Naked.

Our new song, "Love's Grown Cold", was a blast and just the thing to pep up the second set.

All in all, a fun night.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Me and new friend (and temporary member of Cricket Club Steyr) Emlyn. I post this only because I don't think I've ever looked so happy in a photo.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Yet Another Gig Poster

Yes, it came from which I suppose sort of makes me a hack, but in Austria where that image isn't really in the public consciousness it makes me a poster maker of very great speed...

Monday, 9 February 2009


I have lots to say about this, too. But for now just marvel at the crassness that is my campaign to get more people interested:

Yet Another V. Busy Post

Really, I'm just working my socks off...

Which is bad because I had a huge rant about just when you thought banks couldn't get any lower they find a new low, then start digging.