Extracts from weblog
Author(s): Dee Rimbaud
Copyright holder(s): Dee Rimbaud
This document contains strong or offensive language
Syd Barrett And Me
I was about 12 years old when I first heard Syd Barrett, on a compilation album of early Pink Floyd tracks called "Relics". It cost me £1.25 from the Woolworths in Shawlands Arcade, Glasgow. That was 32 years ago. I remember that album so well, the white album sleeve, with the strange surreal architectural line drawing of Nick Mason (Pink Floyd's drummer). The album only had four tracks credited to Barrett, but you could feel Barrett's influence throughout the whole album.
"Relics" had me in thrall, much more so than "Dark Side Of The Moon", which had just recently been released and made Pink Floyd a household name (I didn't really see the true merit of "Dark Side Of The Moon" until I was 14, when I started smoking dope). Soon after buying "Relics", my mother (who was a recent convert to dope and had bought "Dark Side Of The Moon") bought another cheapie Pink Floyd compilation, "Masters Of Rock", which was from the Syd Barrett era. She hated the album. I couldn't get enough of it. I played it even more than "Relics".
My love affair with Pink Floyd grew after my introduction to dope. I ended up buying every album they produced, all the way from "The Piper At The Gates At Dawn" through to "Wish You Were Here". Of all the albums Floyd ever produced, the most perfect and most poignant was "Wish You Were Here", which was a tribute to Syd. Legend has it, that when Pink Floyd were recording this album, Syd turned up, out of the blue (after an absence of seven years), to 'do his bit'. It was one of those moments of psychic alacrity. It's just a pity that the band hadn't had the nous to let Syd do his bit. Who knows where they might have gone? Certainly not down the slovenly, cynical, pompous path they ended up taking. And who knows what might have happened for Syd? Maybe he could have been rescued from his tranquillised oblivion. Maybe he could have shone again, just like he did when he was young.
I didn't come across Syd at his shiny best until nearly 10 years after I first bought "Relics". It was in the early spring of 1984 and I was 21 years old. I got sent a tape of his two solo albums, "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett", by a girl called Aideen, who I'd met at the Corrymeela Peace Centre in Northern Ireland, just a few months beforehand. Aideen and I wrote to each other for six months, and Syd Barrett's music was the backing track to a blossoming romance, which came to fruition when I sailed over the Irish Sea on a hot July day to be with her again. But it wasn't just the romance with Aideen, I had another intense correspondence going at that time with a guy who I knew as Crow. Between Aideen and Crow, I spent six months of my life writing: not just letters, but poetry and prose too. I was on fire... and Syd Barrett's plaintive, whimsical, poetic songs were fuel to my fire. It was one of the most intensely creative times of my life; and one of the most magical too! It came on the back of a period of utter emotional chaos, making me feel like I'd been reborn. In fact, so reborn did I feel, I decided to change my name. I changed my first name to Dee and my second name to Rimbaud. It was a symbolic act, naming myself. It was like I'd finally come into myself. Naming myself was a magical act; and Syd (who was born Roger Barrett) was all part of that magic.
I'm listening to Syd right now, as I write this... and there is something so profoundly cyclical about all this for me, because I live only 100 metres from the bedsit I was living in when I was corresponding with Aideen and Crow. Not only that, but I am in the process of changing my name again and just about to leave Glasgow for a huge adventure, just as I did back in 1984.
I guess Syd really died along time ago. The bloke who died five days ago was Roger Barrett; a bloke who'd been in a rock band 38 years ago, who'd had a nervous breakdown, who went on to forge a different life... a life of quiet anonymity, back in his hometown. His memories of being Syd were painful ones, which he wanted to forget. I'm sure the bloke that was Roger Barrett wouldn't thank me for this eulogy. And I'm sure there are blogs all over the world waxing lyrical about Syd Barrett right now.
The thing is, that when Roger Barrett was Syd Barrett, he was one of a handful of people who changed the face of popular music forever. He is up there with John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. He was a visionary and a poet, as well as a musician; and for me, personally, he exerted a profoundly magical influence upon my life. For that, I will be forever grateful.
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 9:00 PM 20 comments
Monday, June 19, 2006
Ideas For a Better World: #1
Do you ever sit in a public toilet and read the graffiti? You probably do. There's not much else to do when you're voiding your bowels, unless you take a good book into the toilet with you. I don't know about women's toilets, or even for that matter, men's toilets in other parts of the world, but here in Scotland, the graffiti leaves a lot to be desired. Mostly, it's unimaginative stuff, like vacuous and pointless bragging about the size of one's penis or, even worse, messages of sectarian or racist hate. Occasionally, if you're lucky, some wag might scrawl a joke on the cubicle wall, but the chances are it won't be a victimless joke. Men's public toilets in Scotland are not pleasant places at the best of times, but the sort of vandalism you'll read in them can make you severely doubt your faith in humanity.
A few months ago an idea came to me. It may well be that this idea is 'divine' inspiration...
On the back of this idea I decided I would start a campaign of 'positive vandalism'. Every time I go to a public toilet and every time I use a changing cubicle at the public swimming pool I leave a little message for would-be readers... a positive message, sometimes even a humorous, positive message, carefully written out in felt marker, amongst all the other not-so-positive messages. For example: 'It doesn't matter how big your cock is, what really matters is the size of your heart!' Most times, I just make up something on the spot, and if I am not feeling particularly witty I'll just write something like: 'Love Will Overcome All'. If I am feeling monosyllabic, a simple 'Love' or 'Peace' will suffice.
At present, I am just one small voice in a vast wilderness. But, I hope maybe I can inspire other normally law-abiding citizens to take up the pen and use their love to rage against the rising tide of negativity. It is time that we hippie-minded citizens used our creativity as an antidote to all the cynicism and barbarity that surrounds us day-to-day... and what better place to do it than in public toilets and the changing rooms of sports centres and swimming pools.
I urge you, go and buy a felt marker (preferably an indelible one) and make your mark in a public place. Write something beautiful, something magical, something mystical, something lyrical. Write with your heart. Write with your soul... and even if you can't find something wise and wonderful to say, use the words of someone else. Use the words of Paulo Coelho, Kahlil Gibran, Richard Bach... anyone whose words speak to you, anyone whose words make your soul feel like it has wings. Go out and write these words down anywhere you see words of poison written down. Be an alchemist: create an antidote to all the poison...
Spread the word about positive vandalism and help make the world a better place. Who knows, we might just start a new fashion... a fashion for optimism, for positivity, for creativity: even in the face of such adversity.
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 5:05 PM 6 comments
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Legal Highs, Legal Lows
I'm sitting here at my computer and I'm smoking what is quite literally a stick of cancer. With every draw of its smoke into my lungs I am increasing the risk of contracting this horrible and largely incurable disease. I am also increasing the risk of numerous other horrible and mostly terminal illnesses.
Why am I doing this, you might ask. Because tobacco is one of the most addictive drugs on the planet. Because this addiction is one of the hardest to kick. Because I was suckered into it when I was still legally a child in many respects.
I was seventeen and still considered too foolhardy and childish to be allowed to vote. At that age I was also considered too foolhardy and childish to be allowed to drink alcohol. And yet, I was legally allowed to purchase and consume tobacco! Why?
I have been smoking for twenty-seven years now. I have tried to give up at least fifty times. Each time I failed because I underwent what felt like a minor nervous breakdown, which was accompanied by sickness, spasms and sleeplessness. The symptoms of my withdrawal were not dissimilar to those of a heroin addict's, just less intense. If I had had any inkling that kicking cigarettes would be so hard I would never have started.
Why did I start? Surely I knew - even at the age of seventeen - about the link between cigarettes and cancer. Well, not exactly. I knew they were supposed to be bad for you. I might have heard of cancer, but I didn't really have a clue what it was as a disease. There wasn't as much of a deal made about cancer in the 1970's as there is now, and there wasn't as much of a deal made about the link between smoking and cancer, even though this link was known about for quite some time.
Certainly the government didn't seem to give a rat's ass about this link. People were allowed to smoke on public transport. They were allowed to smoke in cinemas, even cinemas showing films for small children. People were allowed to smoke in their workplace. People were allowed to smoke in restaurants. People were allowed to smoke in public bars. Not only that, but the cigarette companies were allowed to advertise their products on the television, in cinemas, on public bill-boards, even on Formula One racing cars. And advertisers were allowed to advertise these little sticks of death and make out they were cool and sexy, implying you'd score with the opposite sex if you smoked them. The advertisers were allowed to lie any damn way they liked about cigarettes... and the government turned a blind eye.
Under pressure from a growing anti-smoking lobby the amount of public places where you could smoke cigarettes was gradually reduced. In the early eighties cigarette smoking was banned in cinemas (which must have come as a relief for all the little kids that had been passively smoking during Bambi or whatever). In the nineties, suddenly smoking was banned on busses, trains and eventually planes. And, sometime after 1997, when Tony Blair was elected as Prime Minister, cigarette advertising was finally banned... although (thanks to a one million pound donation from Bernie Eccleston to the Labour Party) it was somehow still allowed to continue on Formula One racing cars. Now we're in 2006, I believe even Formula One racing cars aren't allowed to be painted in the livery of Malboro cigarettes (although I couldn't say for sure, as I'm not a big racing fan). Now, in 2006, finally, I have been banned from lighting up in a restaurant or a pub. I am no longer allowed to light up at work (assuming I work indoors). I am no longer allowed, even, to light up in a works' vehicle. Although, if I do want to smoke in an enclosed public space, all I have to do is drive 100 miles south to England.
It's taken nearly thirty years, but the devolved Scottish part of the UK government has finally banned smoking in public places and cigarette advertising is finally illegal throughout the UK. Why has it taken so long to get even this far? Surely, if our governments cared for our health and well-being they would not just have banned cigarette advertising and smoking in public places, they'd have outlawed it altogether. Why has the government dragged its heals so badly? Could it be anything to do with the fantastic amount of revenue they raise through tobacco taxation? Could it be anything to do with their rich friends who are stockholders in the tobacco companies? Surely not! Surely the government couldn't be accused of corruption??? Surely the government has our health and well-being as their number one interest???
Well, it's good that our government has an interest in its own citizens, at last! Although I still question whether it does or not, because, despite the fact that they have known about the health issues surrounding cigarettes for at least half a century they still allow us to smoke the damn things!
But what about citizens of other countries, say... the developing nations. Does our government have any interest in what British registered tobacco companies do in these countries? No, is the straight answer to that. The fact is, they don't give a flying fuck. What our Great British and American companies do in these countries doesn't concern us. We don't give a good God damn! This is the spirit of laissez-faire! The true spirit of capitalism. I have witnessed this spirit with my own eyes. In the year 2000 - after cigarette advertising was finally banned in the UK - I travelled round South East Asia. In Indonesia, I saw something that shocked me senseless. Cigarette Girls! There used to be Cigarette Girls in the UK too, apparently. They would go round cafes, pubs and restaurants and hand out free cigarettes to anyone who cared to try them. Apparently, this practice was frowned upon even as early as the 1970's. I certainly never saw a Cigarette Girl when I was a teenager. But, in Indonesia they are alive and well, handing out free cigarettes to anyone who cares to try them, including schoolchildren. These Cigarette Girls, dressed up all glamorous and sexy, ply addictive poisons on kids, and they are allowed to by the Indonesian Government. These Cigarette Girls, employed by British and American companies, get kids hooked on a drug that will, in the end, probably kill them. We all know the statistics. If you are a smoker and you don't die of a smoking related illness you are in the minority. If these British and American companies acted like this in Britain or America they would be prosecuted, wouldn't they? Surely, our governments have some jurisdiction over British and American registered companies. Surely they could actually clamp down on their practices, even though they are not happening on our shores. Surely our governments have some sort of moral obligation to prosecute these companies for highly immoral practices? Surely we should protect the children of Indonesia from a lifelong and deadly addiction? Surely our governments should care about what British and American companies do in other countries? I mean, they cared enough to give aid to Indonesia after the Tsunami (although, nothing like what the British populace voluntarily gave). Or maybe our governments don't really give a flying fuck what these British and American companies do abroad, even if it involves sentencing millions of people to a premature and painful death? Maybe, our governments aren't as good as we imagine.
Given that tobacco is a highly addictive poison, which I am legally allowed to consume by my government, I do find myself questioning my government's policy regarding other drugs. The official line is that I am not allowed to take them because they may be detrimental to my health. I'm sorry, come again? Because of my health? Did I hear you right? I'm allowed to smoke cigarettes okay. I'm even allowed to smoke them in the same room as my four year old child? Is that right? But, let me get this straight, it is illegal for me to smoke pot? And why? Well, the official line now is that there may be a link between schizophrenia and pot smoking, but only (for some reason) in pot smoking adolescents. Well, I'm 44 for Christ's sake, why can't I smoke pot? It isn't addictive! It ain't going to kill me! And, as highs go, it's pretty damn mellow. I mean, you've never seen two stoned guys squaring up to each other, prepared to fight to the death over some imagined slight. Thinking about it, what awful drug would make two normally rational guys square up to each other, prepared to fight to the death over some imagined slight??? Oh yes... alcohol: a drug that turns normally rational people into, at best, incoherent fools, and at worst, into psychopathic killers. Alcohol, a drug that is addictive. Alcohol, a drug which you can overdose on. Alcohol, a drug, which if consistently and heavily used will destroy your internal organs and kill you. Alcohol, a drug linked to schizophrenia in heavy users of any age. Surely a drug like that should be illegal if something so much less dangerous and injurious to health, like pot, is illegal?
Surely, our government's policy towards what drugs we are allowed to consume should be consistent. Either our government should be protecting us from ourselves or they shouldn't be? Either our government should nanny us or they shouldn't. If I am allowed to consume drugs that might kill me, like alcohol or cigarettes, surely I should be allowed to consume other drugs that might kill me, like ecstasy for example (even though it is much less likely to kill me, given the relatively small amounts of ecstasy-related fatalities, and it isn't addictive, unlike tobacco or alcohol). Why am I not allowed to take ecstasy? Why are the millions of Britons who use it every weekend at risk of criminal prosecution? And why are the people who choose to supply it to them at risk of spending more time in jail than rapists and paedophiles, when the people who choose to supply us with poisons like alcohol and cigarettes are given a fat pay-cheque, a pat on the back and a knighthood from the queen. A knighthood from the queen, when they send out Cigarette Girls into squalid towns in the third world with the sole intention of getting kids hooked on an addictive poison? Surely not? Surely yes!
It's time our governments made up their minds where they stand. Either, they regard us as week-minded and incapable of looking after ourselves and they ban ALL drugs... or, they consider us to be consenting adults who can make informed choices about what we do and they legalise ALL drugs. What we need is consistency in the law. And until there is consistency, no government will ever gain its citizens respect. Whilst tobacco and alcohol remain legal and other drugs do not, we must remain suspicious of our governments. We will not be able to believe that illegal drugs are illegal on health grounds. We will suspect the governments have other agendas. Could it be, perhaps, that some of the drugs that are illegal are really only illegal because they cause a perceptual shift, because they open up your mind, because they make you question authority? Surely not!
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 10:15 AM 7 comments
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Gretna The Glorious
Well, Gretna were magnificent. Despite an onslaught from Hearts, a team two leagues above them, Gretna weathered the storm for over 30 minutes. And even though they went a goal down before half-time, they battled on. In the second half of the game they came alive. Watching them, you'd have thought they were a premier league side too. They pressurised from the start and fairly rattled the Hearts' defenders cages, winning a penalty fifteen minutes from time. Hearts' goalkeeper, Craig Gordon - who is also Scotland's number one - managed to save Ryan McGuffie's penalty, but McGuffie scored on the rebound. From then on, Gretna were on fire; and a second goal did not seem inconceivable. Sadly though, it was not to be. The score remained one-each: as it did all the way through the thirty minutes of extra time. In the end, it was down to penalties; and Hearts - with their international goalkeeper - prevailed.
Hearts' won the Scottish FA Cup, but only just. Gretna came within a whisker of causing one of the greatest upsets ever in Scottish football. Although, in the end, they didn't, no-one in their right mind could say that Gretna had their dream broken today... and only a really crass journalist would claim they had their hearts broken.
If anyone won today it was Gretna. The Hearts players and supporters may be glad to get their hands on the silverware, but to win it in the way that they did - through a penalty shoot-out with a 2nd division team - must surely put a tarnish on that trophy.
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 6:30 PM 1 comments
Silverware For The Underdogs?
Today is a day for football. I'm not usually big into football, but I do have an almost pathological desire to see all underdogs grasp unlikely triumphs. Possibly this desire is a reflection of my own internal landscape. I too would like to triumph... unlikely as it seems.
I've just seen the Scotland football team win the Kirin Cup. It's a pissy-farty little cup, but it's a cup nonetheless. They pulled it off by holding high-flying Japan to a nil-nil draw, just two days after demolishing Bulgaria 5-1. Crappy little cup or not, the underdogs triumphed. So, I salute them.
Could it be the day for the underdogs? Well, I bloody well hope so. Tiny little Gretna F.C. have reached the Scottish Cup final; and they are playing Heart of Midlothian, who would normally, in such a situation, be considered the underdogs. It's a cup final of underdog versus über-underdog.
It's not just the fact that they are a small team that Gretna have my support today. It's because their chairman is a chain-smoking, animal-loving, hippie millionaire; and his team are actively involved in their local community, unlike most football clubs. With Gretna, it's not about money. Their manager, Rowan Alexander, who I'm sure many a premier league side would like to poach, has made it clear he intends to stay at Gretna. Despite the obvious lure of big bucks, he's more interested in job satisfaction. Even if Gretna lose today - even if they get totally gubbed by Hearts - he will have the satisfaction of having lived a dream.
Last year, if you'd mentioned the name Gretna to most folk, it would only have conjured up the image of young English couples eloping to get married. Now the name is synonymous with football. Let's hope that after today it's synonymous with giant-killing too!
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 1:28 PM 0 comments
Thursday, May 04, 2006
The Uncertainty Principal
There are times - and they are becoming more frequent - when I wonder what exactly is the point of blogging? What do I hope to achieve by pouring these fragments out into the increasingly cluttered cyber-universe? Why do I bother adding my tuppence worth?
The temptation is to go through this blog and my other blogs and delete the whole fucking lot. It would be no real loss, would it? None of you would miss me if I did a cyber disappearing act. There are plenty of other blogs out there: hundreds of thousands of them, millions of them, maybe even hundreds of millions of them... who knows? I wonder if someone has ever counted.
Did you know - I've just discovered this - that if you put the word 'blog' in Google it comes up with 2,170,000,000 listings. That's nearly ten times the amount you'll get for 'Jesus'; three times the amount you'll get for 'sex'; and two times the amount you'll get for 'love'. There's more blog out there than there is love; and poor old Jesus doesn't even get a look in.
Why are there so many blogs out there? Why are we all sharing our most intimate thoughts with any stranger that might happen to chance upon us? When I was younger - before the internet exploded all over us - we kept diaries. For those of you still in your teenage years, let me explain what a diary is. It's a book (you might have seen one of those on an adult's bookshelf) full of blank sheets of paper that you write in with a stick like thing called a pen. Before blogging, us oldsters used to write our most intimate thoughts in these books, and we would hide them away in secret places, praying to God (sorry, not even going to try to explain what God is) that no-one would find them and find out what was really going on in our minds.
I still have a diary. It's a big, black book that I sometimes write in. Not often, these days... in fact, hardly at all. Like almost everyone else, I feel compelled to share my thoughts with the cyber universe. I don't know why. It's a compulsion.
At times I think I might have been hypnotised... that these computers emit some strange frequency that acts upon the brain. I'm not saying - especially not to you conspiracy theorists - that Bill Gates and co have designed these machines to turn us into a race of unthinking golems (although it is a thought, that Billy Boy may well be a manifestation of Satan): just that there is something about these damn machines that mesmerise us, just like televisions do.
Anyways, the thing is... a resistance is building up in me. I am growing tired of computers and surfing the internet and blogging.
I am constantly wondering, what is the fucking point?
If I don't chance upon the point soon I may just pull of my cyber disappearing act. The question is... will you even notice?
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 2:20 PM 2 comments
Monday, April 03, 2006
Scotland Riots, Government Collapses
The first full drinking weekend after the government's anti-smoking laws came into effect proved to be Jack McConnell's final undoing. The smug, grinning ex-First Minister was not so smug or grinning as he faced a veritable battery of the media from both North and South of the Border on Sunday night to hand in his resignation, after a vote of no confidence at an emergency meeting of the parliament on Sunday night. With a rash of defections from the Labour Party to The Scottish Socialist Party, the leader's position was untenable and a general election announced. The first polls, this morning, predict a probable landslide for The Scottish Socialist Party.
The trouble started at an organised Smoke In, in pubs and clubs in the centres of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness on the Friday night. What started as a peaceful protest against nanny state fascism degenerated into riots, in which hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damage were done to government and council properties. As news of the riots spread further, riots broke out all across Scotland, even in normally sleepy wee towns like Oban, Fort William and Mallaig.
The riots continued well into Saturday morning and only calmed down around mid-day. Emergency services were left stretched to deal with the aftermath. Three policemen were dead and forty-five had been hospitalised. Fires were still burning on Saturday night. Riot police were called out on Saturday night, but this seems to have been considered an act of provocation, for if anything the riots on Saturday night were ten times worse. It's been suggested that anarchist factions from England and Wales arrived in Glasgow and Edinburgh on Saturday to stir things up, though there is no factual proof of this. Whatever the cause, the centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh this morning, after three nights of rioting resemble war zones. The BBC announced this morning that a twentieth police officer - admitted to casualty last night in critical condition - has died.
If only this had actually happened. If only Scotland had stood up and said enough is enough, already. We will burn down our city centres rather than let you government bastards erode yet another of our civil liberties. But no, Scotland to a man and a woman just lay down like a sad-eyed little puppy and let those government bastards give it another big kick in the guts. Roll on ID cards, the spread of CCTV cameras, the extension of the time the police can hold you without trial, the anti 'terror' laws and the general growth of Big Brother culture. We Scots would rather continue to eat shit - great big plates of it - than do anything about it. And what am I doing about it? Well I'm leaving dude, that's what I'm doing!
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 9:21 AM 7 comments
Thursday, March 30, 2006
More On Non-Smoking Scotland
Ironically, I am now smoking all my cigarettes outside. With our house going on the market tomorrow, Su and I have elected not to smoke in the house. We've watched these programmes about re-decorating and marketing your house and rule number one is not to smoke in your own house. If you do, it'll knock ten thousand pounds off the value of your house... or so the experts say. I guess a few weeks of discomfort are worth ten grand.
The house is now well-aired and baskets of potpourri have been placed strategically round almost all of the rooms. What with the place having been freshly painted you would never guess that we've been fagging away here for the last five years. This house is now a non-smoking house.
So, between our own self-enforced non-smoking rule in the house and the government's blanket ban on smoking in pubs, clubs and restaurants I have nowhere to smoke except for the big outdoors... and it's bloody Baltic out there. It's supposed to be Spring, but you would never know it.
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 9:41 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Some Points For Jack McConnell To Consider
It would have been feasible to allow enclosed, ventilated smoking areas in pubs, clubs and restaurants so that those who smoke could exercise their right to do so. There was no need for a blanket ban. Owners of these establishments would have happily shouldered the expenses involved in order to keep the patronage of smokers.
A large percentage of smokers will now choose to stay at home rather than endure non-smoking pubs, clubs and restaurants. The majority of these smokers have children; and these children will have to endure passive smoking to a greater degree than they previously had to, thus endangering their health.
Those pubs, clubs and restaurants that don't have a suitable, adjacent external area and which can't afford to install mushroom heaters will lose clientele and possibly be forced into bankruptcy.
Those pubs, clubs and restaurants that do have a suitable, adjacent external area and which can afford to install mushroom heaters will no doubt gain clientele and prosper, but it will be at considerable expense to the environment. Mushroom heaters burn gas and heat air, which normally does not need to be heated. In these times of global warming it is inordinately foolish to be heating the outside of our pubs, clubs and restaurants.
If it is really our health and well-being that you are thinking of Jack, would it not be better for you to ban the private car from our city centres and to lay on proper public transport? The fumes from petrol and diesel engines must be as bad for us as cigarette smoke... and in the long run, they're a damn sight worse for the planet!
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 8:19 PM 0 comments
Another Reason To Leave Scotland
It would be remiss of me not to at least mention that Scotland is now a non-smoking country. It is now illegal to smoke in pubs, clubs and restaurants. It is illegal to smoke in the workplace. It is illegal to smoke in any enclosed public space. The only enclosed space you can now legally smoke in is your own house, or your car (but only if it isn't a company car). Oh, and of course, you are permitted to smoke outside.
If this were California or Madrid or Bangkok I might not object to a blanket ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, but this is Scotland; and our winter lasts not much less than Alaska's. There are only four months of the year when it could be considered, if not exactly pleasant, at least tolerable to stand outside for a smoke... that is, if it isn't raining (as it frequently is).
I am tempted to terribly slander Jack McConnell (Scotland's so-called First Minister) for dreaming up this absurd law, but I'm not going to bother.
And why not? Because I don't care that much. Because I'm not going to be living in Scotland much longer.
In truth Jack McConnell has helped me, for he has made me more determined to leave this benighted country behind.
When I am in Spain, sipping Sangria (and smoking) in a cafe, by a beach, in the baking sun, should I ever succumb to homesickness, I will not have to remind myself of the pissing rain, the clouds of midges, the moronic football fans or any of the other hundred reasons I don't want to live in Scotland any more... all I will have to remember is my ex-local, now smoke-free pub and its noxious, all-encompassing aroma of old men's farts and stale beer.
There's a lot to be said for cigarette smoke. One benefit of the wicked weed is that it masks ALL other smells. Think on that next time you're out pubbing and clubbing.
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 7:43 PM 0 comments
Saturday, March 11, 2006
As part of my ongoing campaign to stop using my blog as a political bitch-fest I have made one big change in my life. I've stopped watching The News on the telly. I stopped nearly a month ago. I went total cold turkey: haven't even bought a newspaper.
Some of you bloggers out there might be wondering how I'm managing. Well, worry not, I'm doing fine. I am in a state of blissful ignorance. I don't know what's going on in 'the outside world' and I don't care. The only world that matters is the one that is immediately around me... and the news from there is mostly all good. No babies have been murdered, no wars have been declared, nobody's been raped or robbed. Not much to report really.
No news really is good news.
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 2:42 PM 1 comments
Saturday, February 18, 2006
A Change Of Heart
I've been giving some serious thought about what I want to achieve with this blog and where I want it to go. So far, it's been mainly a safety valve for me, a place where I bitch about what's wrong with the world. People like George Galloway and George W Bush have been getting it in the neck big time... and you would think that politics is all I think about. It isn't. It may feel cathartic to say that George Bush is a cunt, but it isn't strictly true. Saying George W Bush is a cunt is as much of a sound-byte as anything Tony Blair ever says. It's an abbreviation. It's an approximation. It's lazy, sloppy thinking. What I really think about George W Bush cannot be summed up in one word. The truth is, I think George Bush is a victim rather than a perpetrator. He was born into an environment where he couldn't help but grow up with nasty, right wing views, and let's face it; he's not the brightest person on this planet. He probably grew up, like all little boys, thinking his dad was a hero and a king... and with his dad being head honcho in the CIA and then president of the USA, he had justification in thinking that. George Junior can't really be blamed for becoming who he became, and thus it is unfair to call him a cunt. If George W Bush had been say, Bruce Kent's son, I'm sure he would have been an active and probably charismatic member of CND, even if he did lack a little in the cerebral department. I'm not sure I would make the same excuses for George's actual dad, or for most of the top-ranking folk in the current US Government, but George W, just like Ronald Reagan before him, is an innocent; to be pitied rather than condemned. So, George W, I'm sorry for calling you a cunt: you're not a cunt; you're just a bit dense, that's all. It's just a pity that so many US voters didn't realise that when it mattered.
So there's my apology to George W. Bush. Now, do I apologise for calling Tony Blair a cunt? Hmm... that won't be so easy. How do I forgive a man for turning the Labour Party into the alternative wing of the Conservative Party? How do I forgive him and all his colleagues for turning British politics into a mirror image of American politics, where all you've got is the choice of the slightly lesser evil of two evils? It's harder to forgive Blair, and harder to retract my statement that he is a cunt, but retract it I will do anyway, but only on the grounds that calling someone a cunt is sloppy thinking. I do not like Blair and I don't trust him. In my more rabid imaginings I think of Blair as a manifestation of Satan, smilingly hypnotising the vast majority into dumb, unthinking acceptance of all his odious policies. How many times did we hear the phrase 'weapons of mass destruction' before the UK and the USA invaded Iraq? It was a mantra that hypnotised the vast majority into acquiescence... and okay, maybe a million people took to the streets in protest, but how many tens of millions stayed at home and watched Coronation Street, drinking cups of tea, not thinking about the massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction owned by our own military. It is hard to retract my assertion that Tony Blair is a cunt, but I will do so, only on the grounds that such a statement is simple-minded thinking. I do not know what Tony Blair is! I can't profess to understand him. I just don't. I don't know how he justifies to himself the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis that were slain in wars that he ordered, wars that most commentators would agree were, if not illegal, at least highly suspect. I don't know how Tony Blair sleeps at night. I really don't.
And what about George Galloway? I don't think I ever called him a cunt... at least I hope I didn't. I know I called him a 'dickhead', which I suppose is more sloppy thinking for which I aught to apologise. But, at the same time, there must be few people out there that don't think George was a fool for agreeing to enter the Big Brother house. He's a politician, for God's sake; he must be well aware of what can be done in an edit suite! He must have known that The Big Brother producers would have a field day making a politician look like a fool... and as it was, they didn't have to work too hard. George, why on earth did you agree to wear a red, lycra leotard? And what in God's name were you thinking, pretending to be a pussycat, lapping imaginary milk out of Rula Lenska's cupped hands, which were cupped just inches away from her own furry cup... and with the right camera angle, guess what it looked like you were trying to do George? Had it been someone like Boris Johnston or Charles Kennedy (or any other media-whore politician) we might not have been so surprised, but George Galloway, the man who single-handedly destroyed Senator Coleman on Capitol Hill at the Senate subcommittee for homeland security??? I guess it just goes to show that no-one is so great that they cannot take a fall!
So, I've cleansed my conscience, to a degree: no-one is a cunt. I take it all back. I've been guilty of lazy short hand. I don't think it does anyone justice to denigrate them with one simple word... and, why that word anyway? Vaginas are beautiful things, aren't they? Wouldn't it be better if we invented new swear words? I might make some suggestions at a later date... or I might not.
Anyway, to cut to the chase, I think I'm going to make some efforts to turn this blog around. I want to start writing about positive things. I don't think it serves the world well to perpetuate negativity, even if it is cathartic. So, I'm going to endeavour to write a bit more about what is true, beautiful and glorious and less about what pisses me off. If I'm pissed off about something I think I'll try to keep it to myself, or maybe I'll just write it down on a bit of paper and burn it, I don't know. The thing is that I'm not sure it serves any purpose to bitch about things. Bitching never changed anything. You cannae fight fire with fire, eh? So, this blog is going to be more about water from now on...
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 3:13 PM 3 comments
Friday, January 06, 2006
No Respect For George Galloway
I blame the chemical excesses of the Festive Season - the grey matter is still scrambled - but really, I have no excuses, I shouldn't have done it. Yep, I succumbed, like a temazepam moron, to this alien nation's collective addiction: I watched the opening night of Celebrity Big Brother; and now, I must confess my sins...
Not that it mitigates the crime, but honest guv, I didn't enjoy it!
This series, the hook is that one of the celebrities isn't a celebrity. Only one? What the fuck makes a person a celebrity? I'm scratching my head real hard here. I mean, I'm scratching so hard I've dislodged a bit of brain. Out of the ten so-called celebrities on the show, I had only actually heard of four. One was a washed up, coke-addled game show host. One was in a television series from way back in the seventies. One was in a band that had a couple of hits in the eighties. And the other was George Galloway. George Galloway!!! I was always slightly suspicious of old George, but I couldn't really fault the guy's politics, you know? Well, now he's proved to me he's a total dickhead. He joins Germain Greer in the fame-fucked-me-up cupboard.
(a long pause)
No, it couldn't have been George Galloway. It must have been a hallucination. I really do need to kick the drugs.
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 12:00 AM 2 comments
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Bob Geldolf and David Cameron
There are worrying signs of Blairism in the Tory party. I have been watching their progress since the inauguration of David Cameron as their leader; and it is evident to me that they think their road to success will be achieved through mimicry. Cameron is copying Blair (circa 1995-7) to perfection. He has adopted Blair's stance as a reformer, promising huge changes in his party. Now he is participating in mutual fellatio with pop stars such as Bob Geldolf. Like Blair before him, he hopes to gain credibility via the endorsements of celebrities.
Geldolf should take note that Noel Gallagher and others made idiots of themselves back in 1997 and lost any credibility they had, whilst Blair reaped all the benefits; and nothing of any consequence changed after Blair was elected... at least nothing for the better. Gallagher proved to be an idiot; and Blair proved to be a true politician - ie an ambitious, unprincipled deceitful bastard.
David Cameron, for all his posturing, is a true blue conservative. He is NOT compassionate. He doesn't give a damn about the environment. And he doesn't give a tuppeny fuck about Africa! The Tories are the party of industry, of multinationals, of global capital. They have NOT and will NOT change their colours, but they'll be quite happy to try and fool you into believing they have... and if they have to take idiots like Bob Geldolf on board to fortify this deception then so be it.
If the Tories under Cameron win the next general election you can expect more of the sort of policies that Thatcher and her little stooge Major gave us. The Tories will shaft the poor and they'll fuck the entire third world up the arse until it bleeds. Don't be fooled by their smooth talk and their promises of change. Pray God for puir old "Saint Bob" that they don't win because there's nothing worse than a burnt out pop star with egg on his face (read 'egg' as a euphemism for Cameron gissom).
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 8:13 PM 2 comments
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Henry Moore Sculpture Sold For Scrap
Apparently some thieves have made off with a Henry Moore sculpture. It was stolen from the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, Much Hadham, in Hertfordshire. This was no mean feat, as the sculpture was more than 11 foot long and made from bronze. God knows what it must have weighed. Apparently one of the thieves wore a hoodie, so the police have assumed the criminals are going to have the sculpture melted down for scrap. Who knows, it might raise a thousand quid, which in street value should get you about 100 baggies of heroin. Oh happy daze!
Personally I hope the sculpture does get melted down. I am sick of the sight of Henry Moore sculptures. They are everywhere. One less would be no tragedy.
The ubiquity of Moore is a sin against art. He became one of those "must-have" artists and turned himself into a regular little art factory, knocking out maquettes ten to the dozen, about a tenth of the size of the intended finished pieces, then they'd be made up by gangs of anonymous stonecarvers and bronze foundry workers. The little art factory that was Moore flooded what has always been a limited market. Essentially, Moore was a criminal, for he stole work from other sculptors: good, honest, hard-grafting sculptors who actually did all their work themselves, from inception to completion. He has done a huge disservice to the artworld, robbing it of what could have been a rich diversity of sculptural talent. Thanks to Moore and those like him generations of sculptors ended up on the scrapheap. So, it will be poetic justice if his sculpture ends up there.
posted by Dee Rimbaud @ 12:04 PM 7 comments
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