Monday, January 30, 2006

Bono's 'Red' label follow-up

There's a bit in The Corporation where a US National Labor Committee spokesperson shows a label given to him by a terrified female sweatshop worker who wanted him to know what she was working on in those horrible conditions. The label was from a Kathie Lee Gifford-brand shirt, and says boldly beneath Kathie Lee's fawning image 'a portion of the profits from this shirt will go to children's charities'. Ahhh, you think; commerce and philanthropy in perfect harmony... until the NLC guy reveals that the 'woman' who had worked on the garment in the sweatshop was 13 years old.

I don't know entirely how I feel about Bono's escapade yet (apart from nauseous and deeply mistrustful), and I do agree with your comments that we need and deserve clear, transparent outlines of how much money is going to who; when it's going, and how it's getting there. Alex said (and I think probably most people would agree that):

Whether they're getting rich or not at least they're doing something to help, and surely pure intentions are irrelevant as long as the ends are a benefit to some people who need the help.

Do the ends justify the means? Well, they can do. I just don't really see why these 'means' are the best way, or even a particularly good way, of achieving 'the ends'. It will still just amount to Western individuals donating cash, rather than systematic change, which I'm sure everyone agrees is necessary? Is this so different from Live8 really - it's just more feel-good placatory philanthropy (with the added benefit of helping companies 'broaden their customer base' - *shudder*)?

Am I wrong in thinking that the main obstacle to treating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa is that the drugs companies are still refusing to bring their prices down (thanks to good ol' 'hard commerce', Bono's bestest friend)? Am I also wrong in thinking that the combined efforts of western governments, the UN, the EU, and a smug, past-it popstar prick with a God complex and stupid sunglasses might be able to force those prices down?

One uncontentious point to finish on: Bono wants shooting for the phrase 'punk rock commerce' alone.

More on the Pope's religious leanings

Tony Blair warns that the impact of climate change may be more serious than previously thought in a new government report on global warming published today.

Next week: Tony Blair reveals that, contrary to previous assumptions, peace is actually a good thing.

If you're finally waking up and smelling the CO2, Tony-Come-Lately, then give Elliot Morley (Environment Minister; good guy) some fucking support as he gamely but unsuccessfully tries to meet your own goddamn emmissions targets!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I suddenly feel very, very - almost violently - ill

From BBC News:

"The rock star Bono has launched a new global brand, Product Red, with a share of profits to go to the fight against Aids in Africa.

Launch partners American Express, Gap, Converse and Giorgio Armani announced a range of "red" branded products.

These will include T-shirts, footwear, sunglasses and a credit card.

The hope is that profits from the venture will generate a "sustainable" flow of money to support the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria.

Bono warned the world was losing the fight against HIV/Aids, with 6,500 Africans dying of the disease every day.

He stressed that this was a commercial venture and not philanthropy.

"Philanthropy is like hippy music, holding hands. Red is more like punk rock, hip hop, this should feel like hard commerce," Bono said.

Product Red wants to draw on the branding expertise and commercial might of its corporate partners, with plans that hundreds of companies could offer "red" branded products.

Red partners, in turn, hope to broaden their customer base while doing something good at the same time."

Gary 'Incitement to Violence' Neville

Manchester United defender Gary Neville has been charged by the Football Association with improper conduct after taunting Liverpool fans at Old Trafford

Good! Those of you who think sport is for braying morons (unlike art or culture, which is only for clever people who read books obviously) won't understand why, but some players you can just tell are arseholes as human beings. Thank you Gary Neville for confirming my long-held suspicions.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Josh Lyman's gone and I can't go on...

Or at least he will be gone after the seventh and final series of the West Wing:

So Farewell then, President Bartlet

Personally I think the show's greatest achievement is managing somehow to be more gripping than, say, '24', despite lacking the constant gunfire, hostage-taking, explosions, sieges and so on. As Jonny Freedland pointed out, they didn't dumb down the jargon for one minute. And who cares the writing was so sharp that you have to watch it with the subtitles on? That's how sharp I want all TV writing to be.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Cash Meerrrrsheeeeen

Latest NS column, which permitted me to rant about Hard-Fi briefly; a nice positive start to '06. The Indelicates are actually worth checking out though.

Hello Kitty

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Car drop, pony snow, blue dangle cheese mask"

Shout out to Dry Rot for exposing the biggest hoax visited upon the public since Orson Welles read a dramatised version of War of the Worlds on American radio in 1938 and many listeners thought it was real. And what is this hoax? That Beck's lyrics take you on a phantasmagorical journey through the mind of a genius.

Feeling iBereft

My iPod has gone iWrong and is telling me it's iLostallofmysongs. I'm pretty sure they're still on there somewhere, buried like so much pirate gold, but for now I'm in the highly unusual position of having to walk around listening to, y'know, the noises of Balham High Street. I suppose there's something liberating and refreshing about walking the streets and hearing the ambience of my local environment/my own thoughts; really though I'd take a shuffled playlist that skipped merrily from Shostakovich to Wu-Tang to Sonic Youth to Noam Chomsky any day. You can't really see, but it says 'Songs: 0'. You can't imagine how terrified I was when I first saw this. The iHorror of it all.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Are you dumb?

If not, then why haven't you skipped along to the Dot-Alt blog to check out Bok-Bok's brilliant radio set from Saturday night. Hear Young.Dot's amazing 'Erh Yeah', hear the legendary, Norwood Junction-referencing 'Southside Run Tings', hear Alex shout out to virtually everyone I know (as well as to Morley's Chicken in Tooting, the mysterious 'Paella Mercenaries', and more); all of this and more in one lovingly encoded mp3.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Saturday night at the movers

Dot-alt's illustrious DJ Bok-Bok (some of you may know him as 'Alex') is playing out live on UTZ streaming radio Saturday night from midnight-2am, so do as I intend to and pull up a sofa, spark something flammable, pour yourself a Lemsip Headfuck (Lemsip, garlic, whisky, brown sugar), and drink in the intoxicating tunes!

Here's the link to the live audio and webcam stream. There's also a facility to send in requests and shouts on the right side of the page, so let our man know you're out there - it's gonna be HUUUGE!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Weird science

Because I've been sick I've been using my cousin Sara's recipe of hot lemon and honey with fresh garlic and ginger in it (I highly recommend this btw, it really clears you out). The 'used' garlic subsequently went turquoise. That's right, turquoise. Does anyone know why?


Owing to being laid low with la peste I've actually been able to watch PMQ's (Prime Minister's Questions, for my foreign brethren) for the first time in months.

Ming Campbell just asked why it was that so many schools don't have permanent headteachers. Cue the House collapsing into laughter, and a gift to TB, who replied "well, it's often difficult for organisations to find a good strong leader. Especially a failing organisation". TB's on fire today, he's ripping the Lib Dems to shreds.

Some people don't like the idea that MPs josh and quip in the House, seeing it as a hangover from when Parliament really was just an old boys club. But screw that, I think it's highly entertaining, and doesn't detract from the fact that PMQ's remains a vibrant, tangible manifestation of democratic life in the British corpus. And it's live on BBC2, which I think is pretty noble; I bet Senate debates aren't shown on American TV outside of C-Span.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Feel the Illinoise

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Celebrity Rinsessions Death Machine Highlights

Alex has blogged the sum total of everyone at Dot-Alt's highlights of 2005.

Also, if you want to see my four-line, verse review of the Rinsessions night at Ministry it's here.

That's all for now. Ooh, except I've been invited to nominate which celebrity I think will die first this year as part of an elaborate, slightly tasteless game called Celebrity Death Watch. You get to pick two and have to put £1 in for each. The following have already gone: Sir Ian McKellan, The Queen, Pete Doherty, Peter Sallis (voice of Wallace), Bob Hoskins and Clive James. Any suggestions?

And finally, can anyone put forward a persuasive case that 'Cash Machine' by Hard-Fi isn't the worst song ever recorded?