Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bwahahahahahahahaha! Popular drug-addict strikes again. Actually, I'm impressed. I didn't think Pete Doherty would make a fortnight before doing something to break the law again.

Linda Smith dies. A real shame, she was a highlight of radio comedy.

The BBC misses the point. No, ignore the top bit, look further down, to where Stonewall complains about how little gay and lesbian visibility there is on the telly. Aunties response? "Buh-but Captain Jack! The two lezzers on Eastenders! And, um, did we mention Captain Jack?" Why not just say 'yes you're right'?

Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Making With the Linky

These people link to me, now I return the favour:
Dogwood Tales,
Love & Rage and, proving that he can't keep away, my Bush-lovin', Republican American hunka hunka burnin' love, Patrick, is blogging again at Holy Prick Faggot, proving the most important thing to do right now is piss off the Muslims 'because we can'. Of course, it's easy to be butch when you're an anonymous American half a planet away from where the shit is actually going down. Still, as thr Iraqi Government has got it's own death squads up and running I think it's about time for the Allies to pull out in the knowledge of a job well done.

I am a librarian. And don't you forget it!

Sunday, February 26, 2006


I'd just like to apologise to anyone who came to this blog as a result of searching for Naomi Alderman for the previous post... And this one.

Where Are my Pants? [via BoingBoing]

Saturday, February 25, 2006

"The gaping anus of Christ"

I went to see Stewart Lee this evening in Finchley, and as I think that is a sentence that wouldn't improve any if I actually placed it into context I won't bother. Very funny though.

Grrr, Argg!

Lowri Turner talking about bisexuality on Women's Hour. The link probably won't last for more than a few days.

What is Turner doing on there? What does she know other than blinkered prejudice? I'll try and either find or do a transcript over the weekend, but I'm listening at the moment and halfway through Lowri says "Well, as an identical twin I shared a womb with another female so I'm used to having a close relationship with another female but that's not sexual..." Priceless.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Shhhhhh, keep it quiet.

Jesus and Mo.

[via Delenda est Carthago]

South Dakota legislators vote for abortion ban, it just needs the signature of the Republican anti-abortion Governor.

And now, South Dakotan fashion news: The new look for Spring was unveiled today...

Remember, if she floats then she's a witch!

Elsewhere in Gilead, The Supreme Court, now with added Conservatism!, is going to look at whether other courts were right to declare Shrubya's partial abortion ban unconstitutional.

Help me...

I've tried to ignore it for months now but it's becomming so obvious that disguising the affliction is fast becomming an impossible and foolish action. Whilst socially debilitating it's not the end, indeed many other people have managed to lead perfectly ordinary lives despite this and there's even drugs that can be used if it gets too much.

I think I'm slowly succumbing to professionalism.

It's horrible.

I think it was my achieving the status of Chartered Librarian last year that did it. Now I browse through Library and ICT technology websites, admittedly I ignore and forget almost all of what's on there, the rest is stuff that doesn't actually have anything to do with being a librarian. But still. I now read Update, the pointlessly glossy and glossily pointless magazine for CILIP (who one might argue are also equally PG and GP). Really it's a magazine for people who are in the business of Librarianship rather than the business of being Librarians, again I mostly ignore and forget most of what I read and most of it is irrelevent (they're starting to emerge from a long slough of articles about Knowledge Management, so by the Autumn they will have finally discovered Web 2.0). But still. Look, I just linked to Ariadne for Dewey's sake. Admittedly to take the piss, but still.

I didn't want to be a professional and was sceptical about professionalism. ut you get a sniff of it and it's addictive. If I don't watch myself it'll be messier than Noel Gallagher with a big bag of cocaine.

Now, if you don't mind, I've got a TALIS briefing paper to read on Do Libraries Matter?

< sob >

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

As an experiment, I bring gifts. You Send It gifts. Firstly, some music: Arcade Fire- Wake Up. From Funeral, released this time last year. They sound like a joyous version of A Silver Mount Zion/Godspeed/any number of other names, probably not surprising as they issue from Canada and the Hotel2Tango studios. I strongly recommend this album, it's the opposite of it's title, so life-afirming, good for what ails ya.

Also see The Arcade Fire website.

Alternatively, brief comedy with Warren Ellis on Alan Moore. I downloaded this several months ago from here. It seems to be all that remains of a larger non-functioning site, I'd give more links if the owner gets in contact. Meanwhile, thanks to You Send It these links are good only for seven days or a few downloads so if you come across this much later you've missed your chance. Sorry!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I've got Olympic ice-skating on the telly with the sound muted while my iTunes plays. Young, barely pubescent, American Jewish girls are pirouetting to a mix of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, The Fall and early Patti Smith. They go together quite well.

While Creationism in the U.S. has been mostly a Christian thing, it's rise in the U.K. seems to be equally split between Christians and Muslims, according to this report on increasing numbers of science students who believe Darwin was wrong. If Government passes the Religious Hatred Bill I wonder if it could become illegal to try to argue with a Muslim who tells you the world was created in seven days by Allah?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Giggling From the Top of the Slippery Slope

The whole cartoonsofMohammedbystupidDanesagate has left me confused as to where exactly I stand on the whole freedom of speech issue, other than thinking that taking the attitude of being surprised if you piss other people off being really dumb and unhelpful, but in the meantime I can't help but take pleasure in David Irving getting three years porridge in Austria for denying the Holocaust. He claimed that, based on documents he'd found in 1992, he'd realised that the Holocaust had indeed happened, unfortunately for him the judge remembers the case between him and Penguin books/Deborah Lipstadt in 2000.

However, those of us in Britain, you remember, that plucky little country of shopkeepers that stood up to the Bosche and said "nein danke!" to Mr Hitler, shouldn't laugh too long. We have ID Cards and the ban on Incitement to Religious Hatred to look forward to and despite a craven Government all to happy to agree to whatever bollocks bLiar, Golden Brown or Charles 'Bunter' Clarke spout, Parliament is now going to be asked to sign off on a Bill that would make them obsolete and allow ministers and other Government officials, some of whom aren't elected but appointed, to amend and introduce new laws without oversight.

With slouch and swing around the ring
We trod the Fool's Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
The Devil's Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
Crawled like a weed-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
We passed an open grave.

Heh heh heh...

Stephen Green, head honcho (and sometimes you begin to wonder sole member?) of charmless bigots Christian Voice, is very upset that Jerry Springer: The Opera has been given an Arts Council grant to enable it to go on National Tour. [via MediaWatchWatch]

It would not be possible for this show to be any more blasphemous and insulting to Christians if it tried.

Precisely the wrong thing to say in this situation I think. I mean, for starters, what if...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Swearing, it's not big and it's not clever, unless you get Tom Baker to do it. [via B3ta]

Do yourself a favour. Virus-scan your mind.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

There's been a problem with Blogger for the last day or two. Supposedly fixed now but I've lost a couple of posts, including a long one about my day yesterday. Shame really, but I don't think I can bear typing it out again.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Frank Dark Knight Returns Miller is doing a Batman Versus Al Qaeda book. Yep, the next terror attack in America is on Gotham City and tall, dark and broody fights back. No, I don't know if he saw Batman Begins. But did you read The Dark Knight Strikes Again? It looked like it was drawn by a four-year-old. And this story sounds like it will be written by a four-year-old too. Still, it won't be as bad as Doctor Doom crying in that issue of Spiderman about September 11th 2001.

I'm not against comics tackling serious subjects, just Frank Miller doing it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Whitechapel Idea Store
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

Ground Floor, Whitechapel Idea Store
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

Whitechapel Idea Store
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

I went to the Whitechapel Idea Store today. By not referring to it as a library Tower Hamlet's don't need to put such a tiresome emphasis on books and can instead have all the cool things like DVDs and computers instead. I bumped into a former colleague of mine who now works in the Whitechapel I.S. it turns out that it's partly privately funded, my knowledge of legislation is poor but I've got a vague idea that a public library can't be called a public library if it's not entirely publicly funded, but I could well be wrong. I have to say though that 'idea store' really sucks as a name. I can understand them wanting to get away from the image of a staid library and what it represents but 'idea store' smells of desperation and New Labour management-speak. It also sounds suspiciously consumerist, which is not what a library should be.

It certainly looks nice, if rather books-free. A four-storey building, what I found most interesting was that the fiction, the most popular part of a library, was on the top floor. My Deep Throat told me this was to encourage people to go through the rest of the Idea Store to get to them, but as the stairs and elevators are in the centre of the building and enclosed, you don't get to see the rest of the li- Idea Store as you go up to the top which rather spoils the effect. The bendy shelving, which you can see in the third picture, I think is great. It wouldn't work in every environment but it does do so here.

With the exception of the desks on the ground floor and reference floor the library does seem to be light staff-wise, what staff I saw were mobile and dealing with customer enquiries by going to computers hidden in cupboards and behind concealed panels. If you consider that our library has three enquiry points over two floors and has several rooms without any staff presence at all but has five or six members of staff visible at any one time, Whitechapel seemed to be managing on what looked like one member of staff per level, with a couple more in the childrens area and the ground floor welcome desk.

I'd not been to whatever was there before and I haven't bothered to try investigating Tower Hamlets finances, so I don't know whether my perception of a library that was light on books is accurate or how it compares historically. Certainly, although the library was fairly busy, I didn't see anyone browsing any of their books when I visited, late on a wednesday morning. I'm not sure running a library service as a concealed add-on to an internet cafe is the way to go but with councils wanting to increase their Council Tax more than the Government is willing to let them this kind of PPP may be what our futures look like.

Media Voodoo

At the weekend the media were all telling us it was going to be a difficult week for Tony Blair. Difficult votes on unpopular subjects. Gordon Brown effectively the Prime Minister already. Tony Blair a marginalised figure. What happens? He gets the complete smoking ban and the still supine Commons votes in favour of the Bills the Lords struck down. It was the same with the Universities Bill. 'Oooh, he's dead!' they said. In the late Nineties the British press consistently underestimated the malevolence of the Republican controlled Government apparatus and didn't realise they'd censure Bill Clinton just because they could. So, as they've been predicting that Blair and Bush are fucked for the last eighteen months or so, perhaps it's time to try a new tack? 'Blair invigorated and prepared for a fourth term'? 'Bush keeps careful lookout while walking along narrow high mountain path'? And my own personal favourite: 'Margaret Thatcher in no pain at all and not kept awake at night by the screams of her many victims'?

Thatcher T-Shirt

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cheeky! Pot/Kettle Watch 2

pot and kettle
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

The BBC has been criticised by a group of MPs who say a major building project went over budget by £60m to £270m. Because the Government never goes over-budget in any of it's projects...

Monday, February 13, 2006

You fucking muppets.

Pete Doherty vows to stay 'drugs free'. In other news, pigs vow to fly and Satan vows to get a snowplow on HP.

Tony Blair claims to have won the argument on ID cards. Tony, the word you meant to use was 'ignored', you've ignored the argument on ID cards.

Yet another security expert comes out against ID cards.

So, from memory, let's see, the public either don't want it or at least don't want to pay for it, the security services don't need it, the academics don't believe it'll work, the companies that will take our money don't believe they can deliver it, the House of Lords has voted against it and until recently the Government was working on the assumption of bringing this in using means that didn't involve anyone voting on it because they knew they'd lose. Meanwhile councils around the country are being capped so they can't increase council tax because they aren't getting enough money from central Government. Money that is being spent on the abuse of Iraqis and Afghanis and... ID Cards.

How's this for a slogan? "A vote for ID Cards is a vote for the closure of all public services" After all, if we're dead then we're not going to be at risk from terrorism and, if we're going to die early there's no point wasting time and resources teaching us is there?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I've been neglecting you mon petit filous , I know and I'm sorry. I've been terribly tired all day, not helped by the constant rain and the grey sky. There's also someone in the neighbourhood who seems to look on fireworks in the same way other families might go out for burgers. They set a load off earlier. What's with that? We get them for Bonfire Night, Diwali, New Years... Was it someone's birthday, or did someone think "Meh, I'm bored, I'm going to go set off some fireworks in the rain"?

I think the tiredness is mainly the psychosomatic backlash from BiFest yesterday. I did have a good time but when I got home yesterday evening the first thing I thought was "I've got to get out of this skirt!" Now, feelings of self-worth and body image aside, one of the things I am not hung up on is the whole transvesticism thing. I find I do get a bit short if I'm in a situation where people think I'm trying to pass as a lay-dee because that's not what I'm doing. Nobody yesterday was doing that.

But it was more tied in with being out after dark. I don't think I have explicitly stated it here but I was jumped one evening coming home during December 2004. I was wearing a skirt at the time. Initially they didn't manage to do anything but cause me to scuff my knees as I was punched to the ground but the long-term effect has been a certain skittishness about being out after dark. Of course, with our climate and with work that has been unavoidable and I can deal with that. I've also been out in skirts since then, during the day.

Yesterday I knew I'd be coming home in the dark. The obvious answer would have been to just wear trousers yesterday but as much as there was that anticipatory fear, that somehow all the bigots in North London would be coming out of their crypts with sundown, there was also a certain amount of anger at myself for feeling like that, meaning I couldn't not do it, it was either go to BiFest in a skirt or not go at all. So I went, I came back, I walked just over a mile from a train station to my flat through the early evening and of course, I was fine. But I think spending Friday evening and then Saturday afternoon working myself up over the maybes left me somewhat short at the mental bank. And my frustration last night about me worrying about nothing last night made me regret the reason I was so worked up in the first place.

Still, at least this gives me a nice little tale to tell my counsellor this week. I'd hate to feel that I had such a pointless life there was nothing of interest to report ;)

In lighter matters, episode three of The IT Crowd was very disappointing, especially after I'd been so positive last week. Despite some good individual jokes, pretty much from Moss and Ray again, it was let down by bad writing over Jen's character. Two thirds of the way through she reveals her problem is that she is always lying, unfortunately up to that point in the script she hasn't really lied, unless you could the lie of omission in her not letting a security guard she fancies know that she really didn't know the answer to some classical music questions he asked and just guessed. When he phones her as his phone a friend when he appears on Who Wants to be a Millionaire she of course gets the answer wrong. But then, because he asked her out on a date beforehand, they for some reason feel obliged to go through on the date despite now not fancying each other any more.

Battlestar Galactica meanwhile, seems to have decided to spend the second half of it's second season doing all the things it hadn't done in the first half. Consistant characterisation is out of the window with crew members on the verge of mental breakdown one week and fine the next. Also, a couple of weeks ago the fleet got a second Battlestar-class ship. However, despite a few references here and there that's been largely ignored and doesn't appear to have had any effect on the fleet. The stories we've had since then haven't been bad exactly just ill-timed. We've had stories about humans in the fleet who think that peace should be made with the Cylons which, considering they are the last few hundred thousand representatives of planets that were destroyed by the Cylons less than a year ago by their terms would seem to stretch credibility. I can't understand how a show could have been so genuinely surprising a few months ago then loose it suddenly, so quickly.

More British abuse of Iraqis uncovered.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Very tired. Just back from Brighton BiFest which was great fun. More tomorrow.

Restrain Me

I don't know what it is, but whenever I see

I want to hit something... I suspect this is all part of a clever Government plan to further lower the numbers of people that do anything political.

"Of course Jeremy, I'm not going to answer your question but instead reply to a question I've just thought up in my head. Furthermore I will answer it with a faint half-smile as though picturing someone you care about being attacked by swans in one of our national parks. I will only change expression if you interupt my non-answer in what I can assure you would be a pointless attempt to try and drag me back to answering a question I have no intention of replying to. Don't forget Jeremy, I know where you live, perhaps you'd like a meeting with our new Militant Tendency?"

Next in this series of 'Politicians who really feck me off when they appear on telly': Eric 'Blair is my co-pilot' Joyce.

Friday, February 10, 2006

BiFest tomorrow! Yay!

Apparently this is some kind of compromise on ID cards. The Government is going to give MPs a vote on introducing compulsory ID cards. I'm not sure I see how this qualifies as a compromise. A 'compromise' would suggest they are altering an element of the bill, this doesn't actually change anything to do with the scheme.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said he had "listened to the concerns that people have expressed"... Mr Clarke told the BBC: "It is a concession because it's a different proposal than we originally had about the means of going compulsory. And it's designed to meet the concerns that some colleagues had but it's not a concession on the principle of going compulsory, which is at the core of the scheme."

So he 'listened to the concerns that people have expressed' and then ignored them and went on doing what he was going to do anyway. That's sensible government.

Cultural editor of the Danish paper at the centre of the Islamic cartoons furore sent on gardening leave after announcing plans to try and piss the Jewish community off as well.

Flemming Rose, culture editor of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, got the order after saying he might print Iranian cartoons of the Holocaust... [Jyllands-Posten editor-in-chief Carsten] Juste, who said the paper would not print the Iranian cartoons [satirizing the Holocaust], did not say how long Rose would be on holiday.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Tories Continue Their Outreach to the Queer Community

The Thatcher government's failure to openly accept gay people was wrong, Conservative chairman Francis Maude, has told a gay news website... He told the PinkNews.co.uk website he now regretted voting to ban councils from promoting homosexuality.

I'm not sure if I agree with his position that Government homophobia caused the gay community to be more promiscuous in the Eighties, but hey, I wasn't there.

Naomi Alderman & World Book Day 2006

Naomi Alderman will be talking about her new book, Disobedience at Hendon Library, on Thursday the 2nd of March, 2006, 6:30 to 7:30 pm.

From the blurb: In suburban north-west London, where leafy avenues wind into the countryside beyond, the Orthodox Jewish community of Hendon quietly conducts its daily life. Hidden from the gaze of outsiders, the faithful live, work, love and pray, with little concern for the sprawling metropolis outside.

But then a beloved rabbi dies, and his passing brings his wayward daughter home. For the past ten years Ronit has been living the life of a modern New York woman; returning home, she's looking forward to catching up with old friends, perhaps settling old scores. But it soon becomes clear that Hendon and Ronit don't fit. Her home has become a more unsettling place than she had anticipated. And when she is reunited with her childhood girlfriend Esti, who has taken a very different path in life, it's not long before the two women are forced to confront their pasts - and to examine the difficult choices they have made.

Disobedience is a brilliant, unputdownable novel that illuminates a culture that has existed in Britain for centuries, yet remains almost entirely hidden. With incredible insight and enduring wit, Naomi Alderman offers a contemporary take on the search for love, faith and understanding in a world filled with conflicting moral and sexual ideals.

The book is only published the day before, so if you're a quick reader you've got about thirty-three hours to read it if you want to ask questions!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Trust No-One. Especially Me When I'm Telling You 'Trust No-One'.

The truth is out there.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Making With the Crazy

"They want to test our feelings," protester Mawli Abdul Qahar Abu Israra told the BBC. "They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers," he said.

Well, I guess that answers that question.

Why is it so many things that cause offense are hardly ever worth the effort? The Satanic Verses, Crash, Jerry Springer the Opera... Really the Ayatollah Khomeni Book Club has done wonders for Salman Rushdie's reputation, how many of his subsequent novels can you remember off the top of your head?

I'd see the whole Danish cartoon issue as freedom of speech if it wasn't for the cartoons that portray Mohammad as a terrorist. Then it becomes freedom of stupidity. Still, others are covering the issues better than me...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Happy

Obviously I am well known as a carefree and jolly kind of person, who never frowns or let's the travails of life get him down. And I think it's only fair to share my secret with you little people. Whenever things look like they are turning to the bad, I simple listen to this little song by Da Vinci's Notebook and all my cares are blown away.

WARNING: It contains a rude word. It also probably won't work if you have ladybits.

The IT Crowd

Watched The IT Crowd on Friday night and it was great. It was Father Ted meets The BOFH , no surprise as it was written by one of the two Ftaher Ted writers, Graham Linehan. But it returns to the basic premise of that show, people that on no account should be allowed to mingle with the general population, in Father Ted they were exiled to Craggy Island, in The IT Crowd they are stuck in the basement of an IT company in London and are encouraged to stay there as much as possible.

Character-wise Roy has most of the worst habits of Father Ted, he's rude, stupid, arrogant and his mouth often gets him into situations that cause him considerable pain. Moss is definitely Father Dougal, living in a world of his own where he has three different-sized pairs of glasses depending on how excited he is and gets the concepts of 'golf' and 'office fires' mixed up surprisingly easily. Uber-boss Denholm (a wonderful performance by Chris Morris) is very much Bishop Brennan, only stupider. It's only office manager Jen that doesn't really fit into the Father Ted mold and as of the first two episodes she's probably the least interesting character, she's a girl so she doesn't know anything about computers and spends the second episode obsessed with fitting her feet into shoes three sizes too small. Oh dear. Katherine Parkinson gives it her all but of the four main characters has the least to work with.

If they can keep this up it'll be great. And Roy goes through episode one with a RTFM t-shirt. How geeky is that?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Three Tunnels

Three Tunnels
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

It's a comics meme thing.

Friday, February 03, 2006

This, on the other hand, is just wrong.


Brokeback to the Future.

Amazon.co.uk suddenly get literal...

On the 22nd of December I ordered:

1 copy of Hot, Throbbing Dykes to Watch Out For, 'usually available within 4 to 6 weeks' and 1 copy of Snivilisation, 'usually dispatched within 24 hours'. About a fortnight later I added to this order with 1 Far Side Calender, usually dispatched within 24 hours'. The calender was sent a couple of days later, despite me choosing the 'Super Saver' delivery option of having things dispatched in as few collections as possible. Around the 20th I also added to the order one copy of Funeral also usually dispatched in 24 hours.

Now, in the past when I've ordered stuff at different levels of availability they send me as they got it. In this case, unless both the CDs are not yet available and their website is hopelessly wrong, they're holding them back until they can work out whether the ...Dykes book is available, which I doubt, as 4 to 6 weeks always used to be their code for 'not wanting to admit we don't have something'. But it looks like they'll make me wait until the bitter end for all of it.

Lowri Turner - Week Two

I SEEM to have outraged half of Wales with my comments last week about gay MPs. For those who didn't read them, I said I didn't want a gay man as a party leader or PM because I felt most gay men's lives were too different from the majority of the electorate.

Last week, what she said was: Frankly, I don't trust a man who says he swings both ways, unless he is a spotty teenager who hasn't sorted himself out yet. Oaten is 41 and Hughes is 54. If they think they are old enough to run the country then surely they are old enough to work out which gender they fancy? Those who claim to be bisexual are simply trying to fudge the truth.

Now she's claiming her comments were about gay MPs. Bisexuals don't get mentioned at all. I'm not sure whether that's a deliberate snub, she's lumping bis in with her 'many' gay friends or whether we were all too damn indecisive to send a letter of complaint?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It is often said that "All evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing".

But conversely, "All evil needs to fail is for evil men to say 'Damn this is some fucked-up shit I'm doing here'".

Happy birthday

Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

My paternal Grandfather died around fifty years ago. If he had lived then yesterday he would have become a centenarian.

I went and found the Apple Store in Brent Cross. Thank God their stuff costs tons or I might never leave it. Bought myself some 'Sound Isolating Earphones' which will hopefully mean that I'll be able to hear my iPod on the tube now.

Tracking you through your mobile phone.

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