Thursday, 29 April 2010


Gillian Duffy is a bigot. It's probably going to be the most truthful statement from Brown in this campaign and he's being vilified for it.

Of course the Labour party was built on exactly that sort of bigot. But, you know, we've always looked away and mumbled something about it being for the greater good. Every so often a Julian Baggini will show up in Rotherham, or somewhere very much like it, and attempt to explain away racism in Labour industrial heartlands and, with some hand waving, insult everybody's intelligence in the process.

There's no apologies for it or any disembling you can do to get round it. The same sort of self-interest that has someone voting for Labour, that is a belief that the Labour of old that had some interest in protecting the working man from the machinations of capitalism still has some vestges in the new party, is the sort of self-interest that spills into lazy racism and quite a few other "isms" too.

What these bigots aren't, though, is what's wrong with Labour. What's wrong with Labour is that it has forgot how to keep these bigots happy while actively seeking to change society for the better, Labour hasn't bothered to do any of that in years. Instead it has been trying to keep businesses happy while taking away the rights of the voters bit by bit.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Videogames ... Art

I don't have anything particularly coherent to say on the "are video games art?" thing that Roger Ebert launched on an unsuspecting internet recently.

Games are made by artists. Certain levels of games are certainly artful, just as individual chess pieces can be works of art. Images of (sometimes imaginary) games decontextualised from the game are art.

It seems to me that a lot of games that are mentioned as art are art only when the user stops interacting with them (Knight of the Old Republic has a fabulous twist that comes in a cut-scene, for an example).

One reviewer, sorry I can't find this, of Lego Star Wars mentioned that he'd played it co-op with a friend and right at the very end the friends had to turn on each other to finish the game. He reckoned this act had more more emotional resonance than the whole prequel trilogy. He may well be right. No doubt Ebert would say "Ah but is it art?" as if he was the devil in the Conundrum of the Workshops. Is Kipling art? Do I like Kipling? If Orson Welles is the one being Kipled then: yes and yes!

Anyway, Bookslut claims to have found a confluence, or perhaps a slight bumping together in Machinima Poetry. To be honest, the example given here does't work, it's three mildy related things shown together in the hope that someone will find the creator "deep" or "soulful" or something. But the page promises more and the examples might get better...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Down The Pan

The Daily Torygraph headlines a story about India thusly: India has more mobile phones than toilets: UN report

The report actually says only one third of the population of India has access to proper sanitation, which is entirely different.

Anyway, if we take the headline at face value and ponder the fact that, according to a Wikipedia page, The UK has 75 million phones for 61 million people I would hazard that in the UK there are more toilets than phones, too.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Low Brow

E-readers[1] are feeding a rise in people reading Mills & Boon, apparently.

Looking at any download chart would probably enable you to draw similar conclussions about people's taste in public and what they really like.

I'm reminded of a letter in a recent issue of Four Four Two wherein a bloke claimed that, because his local team were in a very low division and, anyway, his country's level of football wasn't that great, he could support whoever he wanted. That summary probably has him protesting just a little too much but you get the general idea. Anyway giving himself the freedom to choose to support any team in the world guess who he chose?

Close enough. It was, in fact, Barcelona. Further justification being that, if you are going to watch football, it better be at the highest level.

He was proud enough of his choice, and justification, to write in to a football mag about it. He had the whole of football in front of him. He could have chosen plucky, obscure teams with a rich a varied history. He could have picked, say, Donny Rovers. Or Vorwärts Steyr. Or gone with something like St Pauli or Hibs or Nottingham Forest. He could have got in touch with local fans and turned up at matches and been welcomed as a foreign guest, perhaps. But no.

It's easier to watch Barca as they are good, they are on telly quite a bit, especially with the Champions League, and they have players who you've heard of. Actually, now I've said it, I might support them myself....

[1] Not to get all curmudgeonly and philistine on you but eDisplayer, surely? The person is the reader.

Truth In Humour

If the voters really are fed up with New Labour and believe that the Tories are a viable alternative, don't you wish Labour's admen had the balls to do The Grauniads april fool's version:

It's no "San Serif", but it made me smile...

Also worthy of a mention is Charlie Stross whose deadpan style had me going until about half way through. Looking at the comments, I wasn't the only one.