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Category Archives: Culture

Michael Foot’s obituary was written by Mervyn Jones, journalist and Michael Foot biographer (and a fascinating character in himself – his father was Ernest Jones, a confidant of Sigmund Freud’s) who predeceased Foot by over a week on 23 February 2010. Not necessarily wrong, but just feels odd


My current ‘book’ of choice is The Dirt, the Motley Crue biography, only out, what, about nine years now?
It’s hysterical, in the humorous sense, but also in what they do. If ever there were a book about excess that wasn’t written by Hunter S Thomson, then surely this is it. However, the more I read, the more I fear for my soul. There’s stories of guitar head insertion into willing females, self abuse and Satanism. None of that worries me in the slightest, it’s more the affect it may have on readers.
I’m not Tipper Gore, I like metal, I like rock and roll and as far as I’m concerned glorify what you want and do what you want, but that doesn’t stop me having a few moments of reflection after realising I’ve been tittering away about yet another hilarious anecdote where some woman’s been dehumanised and demeaned. But that’s rock and roll. Right? This here’s a strange/no place for a post feminist.

Well more like 200+ rules, ideas thoughts from some bestselling authors. Get the inside track from writers like Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Ian Rankin, Zadie Smith and Will Self. And get an inside track on scribes like Philip Pullman who simply says “my main rule is to say no to things like this, which tempt me away from my proper work.” Indeed. I wonder, when asked to write about something you do, which is your living, your livelihood, how honest are you? Despite how established you are, there’s always the fear of some little upstart coming up from the back. I imagine that worst feeling of all is being told by the newest, most insipid author on the block “you inspired me…”

Anyway, it’s a fun read.

I was on The Hype Machine earlier, and came across a cover of The Ronettes’ ‘Be my baby’ by We Are Scientists. The classic Ronettes’ original version is one of my favourite songs and almost always gets a turn when I’m djing, and the We Are Scientists version is fine too, but it reminded me of something funny a few years ago.
I have millions of nieces and nephews, or if we’re going to get technical, 13. So I’m in my local shopping centre with my two nephews, aged 5 and 7 at the time, and and I take them into a music store to buy a dvd. As we’re walking across the store my nephew tugged my coat and pointed at an album – “Auntie Tish, is that the Pussycat Dolls?”.
I look forward to reminding them when they’re 15.
And while I’m hyping stuff up, check out my new favourites song – Aloe Blacc – ‘I need a dollar‘. Trust a sister. It’s deadly.

After reading this article in the Guardian by Carole Cadwalladr how much do I want to be one of the 1500 people that visit North Korea annually?
A lot to say the least. Sounds fascinating. Particularly like the Canadian guy who chose North Korea to be his first foreign visit!

The line-up for the 2010 Bonnaroo has just been announced and is making me seriously consider taking at trip to Tennessee in June. Over the weekend of the 10th-13th, the mighty Stevie Wonder, Jay Z, Dropkick Murphys, Gaslight Anthem, GWAR, Kid Cudi and Tori Amos to name just a few of my favourites, will be playing the festival. Check it out and ting, and maybe, just maybe, see you down the front.

In an aside, I was djing in Dublin on Saturday night (at a 40th birthday party of  a family member). I played Superstition by Stevie Wonder. I have never seen a dance floor clear so fast. People over 40 should have their voting rights rescinding. No good citizen doesn’t appreciate Stevie!

Stevie Wonder/courtesy of Al Satterwhite

Having just written Mock the Week, I now get the play on words (mock the weak for those of you that are experiencing a similar downturn in brain activity. I blame Christmas) but back on topic.

SRO Audiences, the company that fills the audience for the big BBC shows including Alan Carr: Chatty Man, The Graham Norton Show and erm, Most Haunted, announced today that it has tickets available for the next recording of the Mock the Week (rather than mock the weak, the weak being the politicians, trembling at the might of the brutal comedians. I guess it gets funnier when you think about how I actually managed to miss that one. It’s like the time I got ‘only Smarties have the answer’. Did I mention I have a masters degree? Take that education!)

Anyway, time to redeem myself; here’s the link (, so go grab yourselves some tickets to gawk at Dara O’Briain and see if the absence of the deliciously irreverent Mr Frankie Boyle is apparent.

This – – is surely worth a look. From Hurricane Katrina, 7/7, Cambodian prostitution, Sarajevo war stories…these photographs tell you more truth than a Wikipedia entry ever could.

Here’s a few of my favourites, they’re all in the Guardian and Observer this weekend.

I was in the queue at M&S yesterday and my jaw dropped, plummeted and recoiled at the sight of the Daily Express yesterday (at least I’m sure it was the Express, please do correct me if I’m wrong) – Now Muslims Demand  Full Sharia Law.

The story is about a (small) Muslim group Islam4UK seeking to impose Sharia Law on Britain, and who are proposing to hold a rally on October 31st to kick off their (let’s face it) unlikely to succeed campaign. Story aside, and the link is provided above even though it enrages me to think that you’ll click through and encourage this kind of BS and advertising revenue they’ll get from viewing that page, I’m all about the free speech and right to expressionism but this is outrageous. The headline is, at its most base, racist, divisive, inaccurate and offensive, and designed to play on the fears of those feeling marginalised, not report accurate information. Even the headline alone – Now Muslims Demand Full Sharia Law – they’re demanding full Sharia Law – whatever next? The implications of that headline are enormous and desperately deconstructive.

They have not done their job, they have even managed to do a disservice to tabloid journalism which I had thought almost impossible given where it’s been heading toward, abysmal sensationalist journalism, verging on non-sensical wordage. Playing on the fears of the centre and to the right, those people in the UK who fear simply what they don’t fully understand, is a shocking, underhanded and deceitful way to sell newspapers. In this country where the bloody BNP has gained seats and are sitting next to credible politicians who are seeking to serve the needs of the people of the UK as a whole, not racist, divisive, offensive everything the BNP and its bedfellow the Daily Express are. Crusading for a fairer Britain? Indeed.


Well Sting, there’s now another book by Vladimir Nabakov that’s set to cause quite a stir, but not strictly in the same sense as Lolita.

November 17th, 2009 is a day the Nabakov family were never sure they’d see and the day Nabakov fans have been waiting for: The Original of Laura will be printed for mass consumption.

At the time of Vladimir Nabakov’s death in 1974, The Original of Laura remained unfinished, solely surviving scattered across 138 index cards but never coming together fully in the author’s lifetime. The index cards have remained in a Swiss vault for the past three decades while the Nabakov family agonised over whether to publish the work or not against Nabakov’s wishes, who wanted any unfinished work destroyed after his death. It only adds to an intriguing argument about seeing the art above the artist or the artist above the person; has Dmitri Nabakov served the artistic world right by producing the work or done something distasteful to his father’s memory?

For better or worse the family have decided to publish his final novel, The Original of Laura, available from Penguin on November 17th, 2009.