Art, Culture, and Sport

Sacred Cow

Flipping channels the other night, desperately trying to find something less likely to rape my IQ than, well, pretty much everything that every network has ever shat into its nightly schedules ever, I stumbled on to “Are You Having a Laugh? Comedy and Christianity”, an offering from BBC1 in which the self-righteous former MP, epic dance failure, and massive bag of conservative catholic judgement and masturbatory nightmare-fuel Ann Widdecombe was using her loud, barely-contained witch’s cackle to whine about how Jesus and his billion-strong gang of sycophantic stalkers have become something of a target for comedy in the modern era, and that this simply won’t do. Apparently the one-time candidate for Tory party leadership, frequently referred to by the people of Britain as “Doris Karloff” (presumably because she has the looks and substantially atrophied thought-processes of a recently exhumed corpse), sees the widespread mockery of people’s most cherished beliefs (well, hers at least) as being yet another example of the continuing persecution of christians, in wilful ignorance, it seems, of the fact that, actually, nothing is “sacred”. Read more “Sacred Cow”

London Calling

Sport and I have never really seen eye to eye. In fact, we’ve never even really seen eye to navel, what with my general interest in athletic endeavour being somewhere in the neighbourhood of my enthusiasm for the idea of working deep in the very bowels of the Greater London sewer system; other people can do it if they want, but please don’t try to include me or engage me, don’t bring your passion for either into my house, and for fuck’s sake stop going on about it because I really couldn’t care less. For me, the seven year march of the London (copyright LOCOG) 2012 (copyright LOCOG) Olympics (copyright LOCOG) represented nothing more than a £10 billion sports day we couldn’t afford and that was being run for the sole benefit of the corporate sponsors and all the fitness nazis and sports bores who get off on physical displays of repetitive tedium. So, when I sat down to watch the opening ceremony I did so fully expecting to have my abiding cynicism cemented by a cringe-making, cack-handed farce that presented Britain as a nation of deluded spanners. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be proved wrong on an absurdly epic scale. Read more “London Calling”

You label me, I libel you

Despite having spent much of my time since the beginning of the easter weekend in and out of the vets with a conveyor belt’s worth of poorly pets (the full exciting story of which can be read in last week’s post), I’m in a relatively good mood … so much so, in fact, that I thought I’d make this week’s offering a bit of a special one by giving you this site’s first-ever actual proper interview (not with me, obviously, that would be mindlessly self-indulgent and bizarrely schizophrenic). Joining me almost live via email is Vaughan Jones, sceptic blogger and lifter of heavy things who found himself neck-deep in lawyers recently when a christian author sued him for libel over reviews he’d written on Amazon (as well as a few comments) telling everyone that his book, a supposed satire on the religion versus science debate, was crap. So, grab yourself a cuppa and a few jaffa cakes, pull up a comfy chair, and I’ll try to set the scene before asking Vaughan some (hopefully) interesting questions. Read more “You label me, I libel you”

Goddidit

I have to be really careful what I say this week; not because I’ve offended someone and I suddenly feel all guilty about it (as if). No, the reason I should put on my comfy slippers and tread softly, rather than donning my beloved heavy-as-fuck New Rocks and stomp (as usual) through the subject with the kind of psychotic vigour that the hammer-happy god Thor would be flushed with when playing “Whack-A-Mole”, is that the book I’ve been reading and mini-reviewing chapter by chapter on Twitter over the last few days was written by someone who had previously sued, for libel, the author of a scathing review (and general comment on the book’s author) that had been posted on Amazon. Since I’d ideally like to avoid sharing that particular experience, I will be taking great pains to distinguish clearly between the things I state as opinion, and those I state as fact. With that consideration, and the first eight chapters of “The Attempted Murder Of God: Hidden Science You Really Need To Know” by Scrooby, freshly in mind, I’d like this week to talk in a light-hearted satirical fashion about scientific ignorance, specifically the kind that only ever seems to come from religious drivel-mongers [opinion]. Read more “Goddidit”

New Model No. 15

I don’t know about you, but when I heard the news this week that the twin bills SOPA (Screwing Over Proper Artists) and PIPA (Positively Invading People’s Anuses) had suffered a humiliating defeat/climbdown when pretty much the entire world told the entertainment industry to go fuck itself and stop trying to ruin the internet, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, wiped the self-satisfied “Ha ha, we did it!” grin off my face, and then started to wonder just what kind of monstrous form the bills will take on once Hollywood and the record companies had re-grouped and returned to begin the next leg of their “Stealing Freedom Tour 1996 – 2047”. For reasons I can only imagine have something to do with my brain feeling particularly charitable (knowing that I had a blog post to write and no ideas), these thoughts began colliding with ones about the nature of religion versus science and how, as it is with content producers versus the internet, the battle is about nothing more than destroying the competition in order to protect an obsolete business model. Read more “New Model No. 15”

Rant-a Claus

It would be very easy for me to talk this week about the death of Christopher Hitchens, and for that reason I’m not going to; everyone else will have said it far better than I and, besides, I’m sure he would have interjected at some point to ask for both an end to the fawning tributes, and as to whether someone could furnish him with directions to the bar. I could talk about how the morning after Hitchen’s passing would also have been the 50th birthday of the late Mr. Bill Hicks, in whose honour this site is named, and how he, like Hitchens, has had a profound influence both on the way I see the world, and how I choose to write about it. But again, many others will have beaten me to the punch, and I don’t like being repetitive (or repetitive). Therefore, rather than spending 3,000 words getting all sombre over the two fine names from my heroes list who sadly don’t get to survive this season, I shall instead attempt to give you a more positive and upbeat christmas post that will hopefully provide some useful advice on how you yourselves can survive this traditionally stressful and treacherous holiday. Read more “Rant-a Claus”

The Fairy Fella’s Master-Stroke

This week, on a couple of occasions, I found myself locked in a bathroom, crying like a girl who had just seen her favourite dolly viciously decapitated by the razor-sharp jaws of the family dog. I make no apologies for that, just as I make none for the fact that I shall again be talking a little about myself in this post (it is after all, the subject I know best). What prompted these highly-emotional sabbaticals to the nearest toilet was the fact that, on Thursday, it had been twenty years since Freddie Mercury, one of my all-time heroes, had been lost to AIDS. So, in honour of this anniversary, and its patron, this week’s post will have a bit of everything; some ranting, some religion, a little bit of love and joy, obviously some music, drama, and celebration of life, and perhaps a tiny hint of self-analysis. Oh, and I’m afraid to say there’ll be a bit of Ben Elton as well … sorry. Read more “The Fairy Fella’s Master-Stroke”