I usually have a cordial dislike for adverts, and don’t like drawing attention to them, but I feel I must flag up the fact that, two or three nights ago, I heard Hello By The Cat Empire in the background of a toyota advert. If I heard correctly, and I’m pretty sue it was them as Lyn heard it to, that would be the first time I heard the cat emp being played in the british media. I squealed loudly: I still adore that band, and still treasure the memories I have of listening the them at uni with charlie. Who knows: maybe this is the first sign of their full-scale introduction to england. hope it is, but if they do make it big over here, remember where you heard about them first.
It is absolutely sodden out there: definitely a day for pottering around the house, watching tv, blogging, reading and maybe catching up on one or two programmes I’ve missed on IPlayer. It would also be a good day to listen to Lyn play some tunes. I haven’t listened to lyn doing her thing in ages; it seems like every time I want to chill out at home for a bit, chopper calls and tries to convince me to o to the pub. I really must learn to put my foot down and stand up to both chopper and my taste for beer. It would be better for both my wallet and my liver, and today it would mean I remain far drier. Besides, who needs a pub juke box when you have one of the best deejays in the country for your girlfriend?
I’m sorry, but this is just far too cool for me not to link to. It’s someone playing a heavy metal version of ‘Concerning Hobbits’ from The Lord Of The Rings. I stumbled over it yesterday, and immediately made Lyn pipe it through her big speakers; it really does kick butt. Mind you, what Tolkien would have made of a piece of music played on an electric guitar but has been adapted from an orchestral piece, originally played as one of the background themes in an adaptation of one of his books, and whose title is taken from one of the subheadings in his preface, I dread to think. Awesome though I think it is, I dare say the professor would have hated what postmodernity has turned his creation into, and I must admit that also makes me feel a bit sad.
I must admit to being quite fascinated by the performance of Rupert Murdoch at the Leveson enquiry – and it is indeed a performance. There is a power struggle at play which just begs for analysis: I am reminded of the accounts of trials of kings or ex presidents, where men used to wielding great power and respect are interrogated and spoken to like commoners. Their power has been stripped away. It must be so strange for Murdoch, so used to having the rulers of the world eating out of his hand. Mind you, it’s nothing he doesn’t deserve: he may have had a bit of a go at the bbc (albeit less of a rant than I was expecting) but I think it is he, not the beeb, who is responsible for the puerile state of the British media today. He is the one who has tried to turn the British mediascape into commercial-infested pap; this morning he tried to use his time at the stand as a soapbox, denouncing the rise of alternative news outlets, including us bloggers, but to his credit lord Leveson nipped that in the bud. In other words, I could see that Murdoch was trying to bend proceedings to his own advantage,, but for once failing. It made for quite fascinating viewing, and I’m sure better writers than me will be penning intriguing deconstructions of it as I type. It was as if we were watching great men being undone, yet clinging desperately to the belief that they were still great. What the ramifications of this weeks’ events will be remains to be seen – it should, by rights, have already brought about Jeremy Hunt’s resignation; the fact that we haven’t seen that tells us all we need to know about this tory government. I’m sure it’ll continue to unfold, and I’ll stay glued to it, much to lyn’s chagrin. She, probably wisely, sees all this as some tiresome sideshow, and wheels back into her studio to get on with some real work.
I was going to blog about this yesterday, after seeing katie caryer flag it up on her facebook page, but got distracted by other matters. This is the site of Lost Voice Guy, to my knowledge the world’s first and only VOCA using stand-up comedian. I’ve not had chance to check him out fully, but this is pretty exciting, and dare I say it groundbreaking stuff. To begin with, I was in two minds about this, concerned that it might be mere tokenism, but then I watched some more of the guy’s act, and realized how genuinely funny the guy is. Thus yet another barrier is broken down, proven to be false. For my part, though, I can’t wait till he comes to perform in london so Lyn and I can go heckle him!
By and large I have had a film-oriented day. I haven’t actually watched any films, or done any editing of my thesis, but I’ve continued my obsession with Peter Jackson by watching clips abut the making of the lord of the rings. I was very excited, too, to discover that academic film studies has not actually neglected the trilogy as I suspected. Murray Pomerance has a new book out, called From Hobbits To Hollywood, at last giving jackson’s epic the analytical treatment I’ve yearned to see since 2004. In some ways to see that book published makes me feel less of a mere fanboy, especially given that Pomerance is a writer whose work I draw upon for my own. It feels that my opinion that what Jackson did in producing those film(s) was something exceptional has been confirmed by the wider film community, and I don’t need to feel ashamed about preferring them to Truffaut. In short, it’s good to see I’m not obsessed by films the academic community shuns as populist. It feels like I can, at last, come out about liking lotr.
I’m not sure about the importance or veracity of this, and apart from this post from the washington post I can’t find any detail, but it seems that 125 people from disability campaign group ADAPT have been arrested while protesting against cuts in Medicaid. I just thought I’d flag it up, as it is likely to be a major disabilityrelated news story, but its still going on so there’s not much detail. The best I can do is send you here to the Twitter feed, and express my solidarity with my fellow crip activists over the pond.
I was woken by the sound of helicopters this morning. The London marathon passes through Charlton, of course, and I presume they were filming it from on high. I still have a liking or choppers ever since I had a ride in one in Australia. Anyway, about an hour later, being washed, dressed and watered, I headed to the end of the road to see if I could see anything interesting. I had never seen the village so quiet, so devoid of traffic, but by then most of the runners had already been through. It seemed that there wasn’t much left to see, but I decided to hang around a bit anyway. after a few minutes, and after an aborted attempt to get talking to one of the stewards (I gotta get my lightwriter fixed!) I was considering heading back in when I saw something which I think is quite brilliant.
I saw a young lady come around the corner in the distance, two men walking beside her. She was using a rolator – a walking frame of a kind I once used when I was small – and obviously had CP. I waited for her to pass me, and then applauded as vehemently as I could; frankly I felt myself filled with admiration for her. You could debate the politics of such things, and call it a symptom of medical model thinking or a piece of unnecessary crip heroics, but the fact remains this young woman, who I guess was in her early twenties, had set herself a task of competing alongside her peers and was determined to see it through. After all, lazy git that I am, I wouldn’t do such a thing; these days I find the short walk round the corner to the shop too far, and go in my chair.
I decided to ride beside them for a while. She was walking rather slowly. It turned out that their plan was to walk the course over four days, doing seven miles a day. The young woman, whose name is Nicole, was obviously quite tired but very determined. Her parents were walking beside her, supporting her. I would have liked to ask a few more questions, but my lightwriter was playing up, so I kept quiet. I turned and headed home at the edge of Charlton, not wishing to distract them too much. I truly hope that in four days Nicole will stride proudly up the Mall, head held high, having proven once more that us crips can do anything.
I should probably mark the announcement of the death of Lord Ashley of stoke on here. The first deaf MP and a tireless campaigner for those with disabilities, by all accounts he was a pioneer. Were it not for people like jack ashley, the world would probably be rather different for people like me. Click here for the full story.
I must admit to being slightly concerned about the french general election tomorrow. For the first time in modern history, there is a real chance that either a Communist or a fascist could be elected into power in a western liberal democracy. Does this not strike anyone else as alarming? It seems we are regressing to the extremist politics of the thirties. I suppose, in way, that is not surprising, given that we have a financial environment as extreme as it was back then; then as ow, people seem to be getting desperate. It is happening here, in france, and all over the place, including in the states. Whatever happens in france tomorrow, this is a symptom of a very worrying trend; such things rarely bode well for minorities like the disabled.