Really? Really?!?

Ffs, I go away for a few days and look what you get up to. Sometimes it can be nice to be proven right but sometimes it’s also nice when my inherent cynicism is proven wrong. It really would have been nice if the beings with whom I share this poxy little island had made an effort to prove themselves to be something other than jabbering slack jawed xenophobic forelock tugging fucking yokels.

Seriously, just look at yourselves. Braying in your hubris like a donkey with its old fella caught in a vice. So wrapped up in your delusion of what the UK is, and what it once was, that you choke yourself with the blood stained union flag. So determined to “reclaim” your sovreignity that you force another Scottish referendum that will, in all likelihood, see a vote to leave the UK and rejoin the EU. So sordid in your bigotry that you drop to your knees and felate Nigel Farage as the European facist parties cheer from the other side of the Channel.

So well done, you’ve handed the keys to the country to those most determined to sell it off. You’ve more than likely destroyed the United Kingdom (not really a bad thing for Scotland tbh) and shown the UK up to be the cess pool of ignorance and bigotry that it truly is.

Fuck y’all.

As Frankie Boyle said yesterday. It’s time to accept the result of the vote and move on. Preferably to another country.

 

I did have a lovely time on my holiday though. Thanks for asking. 😉 :p

Watch This: Urban Ghost Story (1998)

I do love me some supernatural horror -not werewolves, vampires, and the like but I do like a good ghost story. I love ghost stories, I think, because I am such a rationalist and the presence of ghosts is probably the greatest of the ruptures with the real that we see in the supernatural horror canon -certainly more so than the other traditional monsters that we see stalking the pages and screens of the genre.

There is however one thing that has repeatedly bugged me about ghost stories and films and that is the class of the people who are, usually, affected by the supernatural events. It isn’t true in 100% of cases but there does seem to be a preponderance of upper middle class people affected by things that go bump in the night. It is almost as if regular working class people are immune to the attentions of the dearly no-quite departed. I know that there are exceptions to this but they are exceptions and exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis eh?

What confuses me about the lack of working people in supernatural horror films is that the economic situation of working class people is such that fleeing from the horror isn’t even remotely an option -or is at least going to be far more difficult that it is an automatic source of tension and conflict.

I’m not sure how much of this is a hangover from the Gothic tale and the works of M.R. James but I do much prefer a story where I can relate somewhat to the life experiences of the characters and to the non-supernatural troubles that they face.

As I said, there are some exceptions to this. One exceptional exception is the 1998 BBC film Urban Ghost Story.

The story follows the events following the joy riding accident that nearly kills the 12 year old protagonist and does kill her equally young friend. Twelve year old Lizzie lives with her Mum and younger brother in a small flat in a Glaswegian high rise. After the accident strange things start happening and Lizzie’s mother, Kate, does her best to try and protect her daughter from events but she is hampered by her economic position and all the generally shitty things that we have to deal with on a daily basis.

It is a beautifully bleak film which does a great job of capturing at least some of the reality of life for working people in the UK and uses that reality to further problematise the supernatural troubles that beset the family. There are one or two problems with the film -the reinforcing of the myth of young working class women getting pregnant simply to get a council flat is a glaring one- but on the whole it is a brilliant example of a working class ghost story.

It hasn’t been on television for about five years -which is no surprise as it looks like it was filmed on video and so maybe wouldn’t appeal to those who expect everything in HD- but it is available on DVD and, I’m sure, it will be available somewhere like the Pirate Bay. If you get the chance to watch this I highly recommend doing so. 🙂

A Musical Guide to Modern Britain

I’m writing a wee near future story set in England and as part of my process for writing it I’ve put together a playlist on Youtube. All the songs are by the same band, Radical Dance Faction, and date from the early-mid 1990s yet I think that they perfectly capture where I think that Britain seems to be heading and no, it isn’t a cheerful place.

The music rocks though.

poverty_2269121b

A Right Old Two & Eight

Plans are afoot to make the terminally ill work in order to receive benefits. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the story, shared on Facecrack just now, as I had just finished the most recent part of a new story set in near future Britain where the narrator is recounting facing an eerily similar situation himself. (Very rough unfinished draft here) This comes as the latest in a wave of horrifying attacks from the millionaires in Whitehall against the working people of this island. Attacks that have seen people starving to death, taking their own lives to be free of the hardships and humiliations heaped upon them, dying because they can’t afford to refrigerate their medication, thousands upon thousands of people forced to resort to charitable handouts from food banks. On and on it goes, colder and colder it grows.

I’m reminded of the introduction to Alan Moore’s masterful analysis of the Thatcher regime, V for Vendetta, in which Moore says:

Naivete can be detected in my supposition that it would take something as melodramatic as a near-miss nuclear conflict to edge England towards fascism.

“It’s 1988 now. Margaret Thatcher is entering her third term of office and talking confidently of an unbroken Conservative leadership well into the next century. My youngest daughter is seven and the tabloid press are circulating the idea of concentration camps for persons with AIDS. The new riot police wear black visors, as do their horses, and their vans have rotating video cameras mounted on top. The government have expressed a desire to eradicate homosexuality, even as an abstract concept, and one can only speculate as to which minority will be next legislated against. I’m thinking of taking my family and getting out of this country soon, sometime over the next couple of years. Its cold and its mean spirited and I don’t like it here any more.
Goodnight England. Goodnight Home Service and V for Victory.
Hello the Voice of Fate and V for Vendetta

It is cold here. It is cold and mean spirited. I’ve never been the biggest fan of what passes for ‘British culture’ but now it seems that all the bitterness and spite that sits quietly poisoning our society is coming to the fore. We’re luckier than some, the Family Strange, as C and I both have, hard won, university educations and so have at least the potential of finding jobs that will allow us to escape these small minded tiny islands.  Is it right to consider jumping ship merely because we can? Are we rats deserting a sinking ship? Should we not stay and try to fight alongside our fellow islanders? Our class? But that means that we likely condemn Little Ms X through our choices. At least if we flee then we allow her the potential to grow and live somewhere that isn’t being dragged so rapidly into a Neo-Victorian age of misery and dread. The choice seems made.

“Those who can should do for those who can’t”

Here’s an impassioned statement from Denis Curran of Loaves and Fishes in East Kilbride on the horror that is facing many, many families in Scotland and throughout the UK as a result of austerity measures and benefit cuts brought in over the last 5 years. That we live in the twenty first century in a supposedly developed country and have people going days without food so that they can feed their children and walking miles in the hope of getting a food parcel is an utter disgrace. That these people are then targeted by the media and government as scroungers and thieves is, to put it bluntly, sickening.

I’ve said it before but it is worth repeating: this present government in Whitehall seems intent on dragging us back to the age of debtors prisons and work houses.

Malcolm X

Words just… I… What the…?

The Daily Mail Fail is a British tabloid paper that has a long and sordid history of being a mouthpiece for the extreme right and the most reactionary and regressive elements of British society. They have long championed attacks on everyone from working people, the unemployed, the sick, single mothers, refugees, foreigners, and pretty much everyone that makes up the majority of the population of this wee island. So I’m rarely surprised when I see the latest bile to be issued from the hallowed halls of Northcliffe House. This story, however, did make me do a double take.

Daily Fail

Now, things are bad in Britain and they are getting worse. The number of people who rely on handouts of food from charities is sky rocketing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, especially with the ongoing attacks from the government in the guise of austerity measures.

The government claim that this rise in a reliance on charitable hand outs has nothing to do with their attacks on the welfare state and is due to people simply being more aware of the existence of food banks. As if people who didn’t need to would go begging to the Citizens Advice for a handout rather than just popping to the shops. Now, it seems, the Daily Fail has joined in and is trying to brand the poorest and most vulnerable of our society as scroungers. Same as they have done with the unemployed and refugees.

The journalists who wrote this piece of shit article, Simon Murphy and Sanchez Manning, are the lowest of the low. I understand that we all have to make a crust and that the world of journalism has been changing rapidly over the last few years but there is absolutely no excuse for this. How can a person claim to have even the slightest shred of humanity and think that it is acceptable to write an ‘expose’ on how a group giving away free food are somehow enabling immoral/unethical behaviour? By giving away food to the poor? It just beggars belief.

The right believe that if we just got rid of food banks then the need for them would simply disappear, rather than it would lead to families going hungry and having to choose between bills, rent, and food. Well, I think that one of the greatest philosophers of our small island, Mr L Kilmister, has a possible solution should we see the end of food banks without a rise in the standard of living for the majority of people in this country.

Here’s to the formation of the RTCEFB. The  Revolutionary Tendency for the Culinary Expropriation of the Flesh of the Bourgeoisie. 🙂

 

ETA: A wag on Facebook just summed this article up perfectly.

So basically one of their well paid reporters told a series of complicated lies so that he could steal food meant for starving families. Then they can’t even keep their headline consistent with the body of the article where they brag about this.

Why aren’t the Mail’s offices on fire yet?

ETA 2:  This: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwJRjf2BSD4