Sunday, 27 May 2007

STOP PRESS! WWAO agrees with Iain Banks

It must be compulsory for wannabe writers in fifth year at school to read The Wasp Factory and marvel at it.

It's not very good. Perhaps I was somewhat jaded when I read it for the first time. The book was the same age as me when I picked it up from the 'Older Students' section of my school library. The slim book was finished in a weekend and I was not left very impressed. In 1984, the year Orwellians were doing Jones impressions of "We're all doomed!", readers may have been more shocked at images of maggots feeding off living brains. And the brains of children for that matter.

Next came an attempt to read The Crow Road. Twice I picked up that heavy volume and twice it was returned to the library unread. It was not until this year that I finally finished a copy. Again the story was about nothing. I may have missed out on some wonderful metaphor for life but, honestly, it was really about the main character getting his hole wasn't it? But it was well written and had enough interesting plot twists to keep the reader engaged. Better than some of the painfully written tripe that appears on the lists of book trendsetters such as Richard and Judy.

And your point caller? I was reading through yesterday's email edition of The Guardian. The bibliophile's dirty weekend, or the Guardian Hay Festival, is under way and Mr Banks is appearing at it. Having published his first novel in years he needs to do something to promote it. Hence the article I read in this weekend's Guardian. Unlike some writers who like cowering away from politics, Banks makes no qualms about it. He famously ripped up his passport when Blair went to war against Iraq (please note, Britain didn't go to war) and stamped his literate foot in Dead Air.

One thing annoys me about Guardian interviewers is the immature attitude they take. Honestly, why would you suggest weeing in a swimming pool to a man in his 50s? However, there are some gems in this article. The following quote sums up a lot of my feelings on America:

"Personally, I believe when faced with an imperial power - and let's not kid ourselves, that's exactly what the USA is - one ought to do everything nonviolent one can to resist it, just on principle. The USA is a great country full of great people. It's just their propensity as a whole for electing idiots and then conducting a foreign policy of the utmost depravity that I object to."

The full article is here for anyone who is interested.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Because it's Friday

I wish I had been older to appreciate Dennis Pennis when I was younger. The best bit is the copyright section. I remember people talking about doing that at a creative writing lesson. However I don't know how true it is.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Middle Class Doctors = Responsible Parents?

I should really post my thoughts on the recent shambles that was the Scottish Elections. However, the university system has decided this is exam season so my brain is too fried to start making sense of that chaos. For the moment I shall direct you to Mr Buckland's for some on the spot reporting of this incident.

So I am going to turn my thoughts to, in my opinion, a rather interesting sociological occurrence via the media. I am a great lover and critic of the media. It can be a wonderful outlet which opens an individual up to new ideas and opinions. Or it can be biased rot like the recent story of a child who has gone missing in the Algarve. First up, I will admit my own bias which is I love the Algarve. I have been going on holiday there for a number of years which has somewhat influenced my opinion on this matter.

For those unfamiliar with the story (or too damn lazy to click on the link) a young toddler has gone missing in Portugal. Her parents showed wonderful parenting skills by leaving three toddlers, alone in a ground floor apartment, whilst they went out for a lovely meal at a tapas restaurant. Goodness, I hear you cry, this must be some awful working class chav family who don't know how to look after their children. Er, nope. They're a middle class family and both parents are doctors. Not your typical 'Mum buggers off on holiday and leaves latchkey kids behind' headline. As a result (the BBC has been particularly bad at this) the media have been pointing out what the Portuguese police have been doing wrong and how the restaurant was 'only' a few hundred yards away.

Correct me if I'm wrong but there wouldn't be a problem if the parents had taken some responsibility for their children. Earlier news reports said there were NINE adults in the group. Nine?! And out of that nine NONE of them could avoid this fantastic dinner? Not one of them could have a lonely microwave meal for one and the company of three sleeping toddlers. Or here's a radical thought: take your kids with you! What gets me is that if this was a working class family from a 'rough' area the tabloids would be hounding them for neglecting their child. But we don't expect that behaviour from middle class families do we? So, the media has to take a different approach. Let's point out everything the Portuguese police have done wrong (in our eyes) and hopefully everyone will ignore the parents are entirely to blame for their child going missing. Toddlers are notorious escape artists and can get into trouble in a matter of minutes.

An extract from the above article
"The police had not issued a description of what Madeleine had been wearing, one of the first things a British force would be presumed to have done." She was wearing pyjamas. I'm not a kidnapper of small children but wouldn't logic deem that the culprit (if there was one) would have removed the obvious nightwear as soon as possible? Despite the crazy things Brits do on holiday, a child wearing pyjamas in the middle of the day would stand out like a sore thumb. The urban legend behind my argument is false but there is some logic there.

In the long run, a child has gone missing and I truly hope she turns up in a relatively undamaged way. The longer this goes on, the more I think this missing case is going to turn into another investigation beginning with M.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Scottish Christian Party

I received a 'personal' letter from the Scottish Christian party this morning. Needless to say it has been ripped up and put to better use in my recycling bin. Sadly I couldn't find the campaign video from a few years ago (which is more shocking and hilarious than this one) but feel free to enjoy the one I've posted below.

800% increase of breast cancer if you have an abortion!

250% increase of attacks on teachers!

Do you know 897% of statistics are made up on the spot?

And what the fuck? Comparing Nazi persecution of Jews to what's happening to Christians in a secular society? The two don't even compare. Consumerism is the God we worship now. Get over it.

Percentage of me voting for them tomorrow? Fuck all.