Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Slayer - Disciple

This is for any indie pop fans. I'm feeling like crap today with horrendous flu, so I don't see why they shouldn't suffer too. God Hates Us All indeed. Superb. Choke on it you milksops!
Irony attack!

I've just received another blast from my former schoolmate Rob, regular trawler of the net for the sublime and the ridiculous. Is this the new face of counter-cultural media sabotage? A mere childish prank? Surely there can be few cases of such absurdly exaggerated sarcasm being so thoroughly well orchestrated.


And of course a thoroughly deserving target. Asking for trouble? They got it. Fools.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Killing Joke Frenzy

More 80s greatness. Jaz Coleman's now quite a star out here after appearing in the off the wall but strangely mediocre Czech film Year of the Devil with the excellent folk band Čechomor a few years back. Look at him. Imagine if he was your dad.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Stop press!

A good seven months after the general election our illustrious elected representatives have, miraculously, taken the momentous step of forming a government. Not a particularly strong government, relying as it does on a mere two opposition MPs breaking with the party whip for the greater good of national stability (or for bribes, as they have been accused of taking), but a government all the same. As could be expected, opposition leader, power-crazed thug and former PM Jiří Paroubek, to whom all notions of sportsmanship or innocent until proven guilty are clearly alien, refused to congratulate PM Mirek Topolánek on gaining the vote of confidence.

The new government has overcome considerable obstacles, succeeding despite the fact that Topolánek’s wife has attempted to sabotage him by holding a press conference stating that she hoped his lame-duck government would fail the test in parliament. She also took the opportunity to claim that the press conference was her only viable means of communicating with him, since he has now moved in with his mistress, who despite the PM’s pressing schedule he has managed to get pregnant. In between all this he has also taken time out to lash out at a stalking journalist, booting the journalist’s car and screaming insults. Get in there lad!

The new government’s days are however clearly numbered, with early elections likely to be held within a year or so, with Topolánek hoping to gain a more secure majority, which would indeed be the case if elections were held now. His standing remains refreshingly unaffected with an electorate which evidently has little problem separating the public and private spheres – something which would be unthinkable in the moralistic USA (yes, it’s back to Yank bashing here in Spleensville). In fact his credit has probably been boosted, after all now he seems all the more human. Makes me think that perhaps this is a relatively civilised country after all.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Above are some images I received in a forwarded mail yesterday, containing some startling geographical revelations about the part of the world in which I’ve taken up residence. Now I don’t wish to immediately leap to conclusions and launch into yet another bilious rant (nah, that would be too obvious wouldn’t it?), and I acknowledge that, like, anyone can make a mistake, right? But… isn’t it just a teeny bit revealing about the US view of the world?

I am obviously not the first person to comment on this issue, and have frequently been annoyed by knee-jerk anti-Americanism in the past. For example, the widely reported story that less than 1/3 of US citizens own passports (though it’s funny nobody seems to be able to agree on a precise figure) may have some truth in it, but take into account the fact that the average US citizen gets two weeks annual holiday. In such a situation how many people are likely to consider flying to Europe or further abroad, suffering three days of jetlag and returning after having enjoyed a mere passing glimpse of the bewilderingly historical country they’ve squandered their entire vacation on?

On the other hand, when it comes to the people responsible for US foreign policy one tends to be a little less sympathetic. The fact that before becoming president, Bush had been abroad less times than Cheney had suffered a heart attack is not just funny, it’s also rather frightening. And in a society where presentation has become so hugely important, the above howlers do seem to indicate a rather cavalier attitude towards foreign states, and provide a clue to why the US has got so appallingly out of its depth in Iraq, with its ridiculous expressions of horror at the taunting of Saddam – as if nobody had expected this to happen. As if executing him wasn’t a vengeful and inflammatory act in itself. Own up, for God's sake.

It's impossible to feel anything but utter contempt for the US administration, whatever Christopher Hitchens says (and he is a man I used to greatly respect and admire, but can’t help thinking that his continued support for US foreign policy now stems solely from his vanity and refusal to admit he was disastrously wrong on Iraq). Buffoons, the lot of them.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Eco thuggery!

Having just flown back to CZ from the UK for approximately £50 return I have presumably incurred the wrath of the mighty Ian Pearson, minister for climate change (I wonder if his position is subject to performance related pay), even if I didn’t fly with the infamous Ryan Air. I have to admit that this is an issue which causes me a certain amount of discomfort, as it genuinely does seem more or less ecologically indefensible to jet around the world for next to nothing whilst causing untold carbon emissions. Eventually we shall all pay the price, no doubt. On the other hand, back in the bad (good?) old days before cheap flights I used to take the coach back from Olomouc to London, approximately 24 hours of discomfort, followed by a bleary-eyed few hours hanging around Victoria waiting for the coach to Coventry. Door to door the entire journey could take up to 30 hours. I remember that I used to attempt to wipe out the discomfort and boredom by taking Rohypnol, the date rape drug. Selfish as I feel for saying it, this is not a situation I wish to return to. So therefore I, along with all the stag weekenders etc. (we’re all jet setters now), am guilty as hell.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend myself, or indeed Ryan Air, here. Nevertheless, there is something that rankles in Mr Pearson’s preachy tone. I’m all in favour of punitive taxes for ecologically irresponsible businesses, and if this means higher air fares, so be it. In any case, the figures I’ve seen have referred to an extra £25 on transatlantic flights – hardly extortionate or unreasonable. So far so good. The thing that bothers me is that this self-righteous outburst comes less than a week after huge price hikes on trains, buses and tubes. 4 bloody quid for a single from zone 2 to zone 1 in London? During the 2 weeks I was in the UK I spent considerably more on public transport than I did on the return flight from Prague to Birmingham. So it seems Mr Pearson, representing a government that has done woefully little to get people out of their cars and back onto public transport, is hardly in a position to start lecturing us on environmental matters. Perhaps it’s his very sense of impotence and projected shame at the government’s piss poor record on transport that has caused him to lash out at the only reasonably affordable means of public transport there is. The implication, when you think about it, is that if at any time we’re not being ripped off by unscrupulous bastards then we should be made to feel guilty for being eco-thugs. By not getting shafted for once in our miserable lives we’re not “playing ball”. Things aren’t what they used to be in the good old days when flying was the exclusive preserve of government ministers and the like. How frustrating it must be for our moral guardians in the government to see plebs like us enjoying such guilty pleasures. How very public spirited of them to chastise us.

This kind of preachy and hypocritical bullshit really puts my back up. Put your own house in order before you open your pontificating little gob next time Pearson, you loathsome New Labour piss-ant.

By the way, Happy New Year everyone!