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One thing to note about the election

May 17th

One thing to note about the election is how badly the BNP did. They are one of the groups who would benefit enormously from proportional representation. As it is, every general election we are reminded they're not really a force to be reckoned with in the UK. I don't think racism is as big a sell in the UK as some people would like to pretend.

The hoo har over Question Time when Nick Griffin appeared on it convinced me that there was no real and present danger of the BNP doing any business in a proper (ie General) election any time soon.

If you didn't see it you really didn't miss much. Me and a few mates watched it expecting something exciting to happen and it took about 20 minutes for us to realise there was never any chance of that. There was the moment when Griffin said he thought gay people kissing was creepy. It made me wonder how he knows that? It also made me wonder who advised him on his strategy for the show, "make sure you annoy gay people as well, don't forget about that!".

This was the key thing for me though, Griffin lacks charisma and our current election system keeps out fringe politics so the BNP won't be gaining any form of real power any time soon. Three cheers for first past the post!

NM

I eye with my little fly

Fly in my eye

Sat on a bus with my girlfriend and as we were chattin’ a little fly decided to take a swim in my eye. Not a pleasant experience. My girlfriend tried to fish it out with her finger while we were still on the bouncing bus. Surprisingly this didn’t work and only managed to guarantee the fly’s corpse a safe place round the back of my eyeball just underneath it. I now have the odd luxury of being able to feel its lifeless body being squashed about in my eye socket.

I wonder what was going through the little insect’s tiny brain as it used the gift of flight to navigate its way into my face and certain doom. I can’t help but feel that I came off the bigger man. After a quick eye bath just before settling down to write this blog entry I’m reasonably confident I’ll find fly debris on my pillow tomorrow. What does Freddie The Fly have to show for his heroics? A weird watery grave.

Some people believe in reincarnation and might tell you that Freddie The Fly was learning a valuable lesson. What that lesson was, only he can know. Maybe he had reincarnated and then committed suicide when he worked out he was now a fly. Previously, perhaps he was Napoleon and he couldn’t deal with life as a little rubbish fly.

Maybe that or maybe the world is a random place and mad stuff happens without rhyme or reason all the time. It’s one of the two.

Music I enjoy #3

Nirvana
“I miss the comfort in being sad”

I remember a mate of mine lending me a copy of Nirvana’s first album “Bleach”. It made very little impression on me. Then they had a big hit with the song “Smells like Teen Spirit” which was quite nice but it didn’t particularly rock my world. At the time I was far too engrossed in The Beatles and The Doors to notice any worth in modern music. Then they recorded MTV Unplugged and their ‘less commercial’ album “In Utero”. It blew me away. Then Kurt Cobain blew his brains out (I still remember the picture of them on the floor in The Daily Mirror) and made it, for me, hard to enjoy his music without a certain amount of moral ambiguity.

The difficult thing about Nirvana is that they helped to define a large chunk of my generation’s experience of growing up. When I think of their music it is inextricably intertwined with other people I knew who loved it and situations which hinge around being part of a ‘scene’ for a bit. That’d be the grunge scene, which was always pretty daft. In fact it did at the time and if you’d have asked me I’d have denied I was part of it.

I’ve still not resolved the moral ambiguity of Kurt’s suicide but these days I understand that the music and the musician should be considered separately. The thing about Nirvana is that they did actually record good music. More importantly it has improved over time. Cobain’s vocal still has the power to shock. The production is nicely layered and provides cheeky extra nuggets with repeated listening. The pace of the albums works well from track to track. In fact I’d even go as far as to say that both ‘Nevermind’ and ‘In Utero’ qualify as that rarest of all beasts: a perfect album.

NM

Who do we owe all this money to?

This deficit that we keep being told about - the huge debts our nation has incurred, who precisely do we owe the cash to?

Someone posed this simple question on Yahoo ask
only to get a typically mawkish response from someone moralising about how you can't always have fun in life, you need to pay money back in the end. Not quite an answer to the question but it certainly explains why the question is so difficult to pose. People love moralising.

Further digging on the net reveals we owe it to 'foriegn financers' and 'private industry'. I think it'd be nice if we were given more information on who exactly we owe all this money to because it might help put things into perspective a bit when everyone is running about like headless chickens, inbetween finger wagging sessions where they spout off stories about how it's no good getting into debt and not paying your own way. For example, if we were told we owe all this money to some dodgy bloke who operates out of an office on an industrial estate and that he wants our kneecaps if we don't pay back by noon tomorrow that might add an air of urgency to things. Or on the other hand if it's some nice old lady who lives on her own with a couple of cats maybe the situation is not so urgent.

I remember a fat northern comedian pragmatically telling me once that "if you owe people money don't sit round worrying about how you're going to pay 'em back, that's their job".

NM

My girlfriend is having an affair...

14th May

My girlfriend is having an affair with Twitter. She's addicted to it. You can guarantee she will be reading it now. No matter what time of day it was when you read those words. I'm not quite as deep into it but I do enjoy an odd tweet.

One particularly odd (but funny) tweeter is this bloke: http://twitter.com/NawtyDanny

It's a parody of Danny Dyer. It's laugh out loud funny.

Alan Watts: http://twitter.com/alan_watts

A passable quote machine based around the late Zen master.

Armando Iannucci: http://twitter.com/Aiannucci

Very funny comedian.

Tony Robbins: http://twitter.com/tonyrobbins

Self help guru. Seems like a good bloke.

Pope Bob drops me into a conversation I don't understand

Recently I was sat with a mate talking about being able to speak another language. He remarked how odd it was that this planet has so many different modes of communication.

"To be honest I'm surprised people can communicate at all, in fact I'm not even sure we do" I replied.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you know, we all live in our own unique realities. No two people ever see the same universe, we all see different versions of it and 'ultimate truth' remains something we're all effected by but never have unfiltered access to."

"Yeah, I'd agree with that."

"Well, it seems likely to me we probably usually only ever approximate communication, believing we understand each other but largely lacking the ability to verify that belief. So, for example, I think I'm making sense and being interesting as I tell you about this whereas you might just be thinking, this guy's a nutter, what's he banging on about?"

"No, it's interesting."

"Even though you're saying that now, you might just be humouring me."

"Mmm" he said as he looked at his computer.

I carried on writing my prep for the show and noticed he was actually looking off into the distance. He then sort of sighed and walked off.

I need to stop reading so much Robert Anton Wilson*.

NM

*Reality tunnels and Pope Bob on wikipedia.

I still believe in UFO's I'm just not sure what that means.

May 12th

Now Cameron is our PM the disclosure crew are out in force! He answered a question of a UFO researcher last year who I know will not let the issue drop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_ZsftZ9GCM

If you watch the video you'll notice the questioner's tenacity, he doesn't let the issue get laughed off and really pushes the point.

His name's Richard D Hall and his website is here: http://richplanet.net/

He's one of my favourite ET researchers and I've spoken to him many times.

As the title of this blog suggests, I still believe in UFO's I'm just not entriely sure what I mean by that anymore. For a "UFO" to retain its title you can't actually know what it is. If you do it is no longer unidentified.

NM

So, you've decided to wash your face?

Short transcript of a conversation I had recently with a mate:

"I'm trying out an experiment by using some moisturiser and an 'exfoliate'. They've got pictures of bulldogs on them to prove I'm not a cissy. I guess I fell for that marketing scam eh?"

"Why, what did you use before?"

"Nothing. I just figured that I should take a bit more of an interest in my appearance so I've gotten an 'exfoliate'."

"Right, so what, you've decided you're going to wash your face?"

"Um... yeah, I guess. But when you put it like that, I mean, um."

NM

Four Lions: raw.

May 10th

I've seen the Chris Morris film about Islamic terrorism, 'Four Lions,' and it's excellent. Me an' the lady went to an independent cinema we like and loved it. Firstly, and most importantly, it's funny. It made me laugh a lot. Secondly it's not a "yah boo" to Islam. It needles the religion in places but not in the sort of hamfisted way I suspect some of its critics in the press wanted. Finally it managed to re-frame the way in which I think about terrorists. I now realise there's a depressing level of stupidity at the core of their actions. This final point may seem a little trite to some but in the heat of the debate, at times, it has been the case that I've credited them with more sense than they deserve.

It was interesting to see them portrayed, as they are in this film, as idiots. Whether that's 'the right approach' to the problems presented by radical Islamist terrorism I'm not able to say but it was oddly refreshing to be reminded of this obvious truth. Obvious in that, anyone who thinks that the 'magic man who lives in the sky' wants them to blow themselves up was never going to be just a little on the moronic side. Add to that the oft quoted fantasy of having eternal sex with a load of virgins as payment for this evil act and I'm thinking of a mind driven by a 'Beavis and Butthead' level intellect. Furthermore, when you factor in the frequent assertion that, they've got it all wrong, made by most of their fellow 'magic man in the sky' believers you're left with a group of people who clearly operate on an 'alternate plane' mentally.

Like I said, in retrospect the observation that these people are clearly not too bright seems a little obvious and trite. Such is the nature of an apposite observation.

Ultimately though it's this portrayal that gave the film a slightly depressing flavour. I left feeling a bit down about the fact that, as usual, it's idiots who are dragging the world down and it only takes one of them to ruin your life.

NM

Group think without the group

I used to think the internet was a vehicle for self expression and personal enlightenment. Nowadays I'm concerned that it is becoming a conduit for 'group think'. What I mean by that is people appear to be acting not upon their own will but rather the will of others. I like to avoid being part of large groups of people. There's something about being in a herd of people that seems to mess with my mind a bit. I feel compelled to do things which I would not ordinarily do. For example, 'booing' someone. I'd never do that in a one to one situation but I'm sure that, as part of a crowd, I will have done in the past. Or chanted slogans which upon closer inspection make no sense whatsoever. Such as: "one, two, three, four, we don't want your racist war". I remember chanting that once on some anti-Iraq war protest and, upon closer inspection thinking, "but it's not a racist war". I was just caught up in the moment, it was exciting. I'd been infected with group think.

I remember me and a mate watching some of the Rugby chaps out drinking in the SU bar some years back. They were singing songs and shouting and behaving like idiots. Pulling their pants down and so forth. "Who are ya, who are ya, who are ya, Ingerland, Ingerland, Ingerland" etc. My mate pointed out that if they were on their own none of them would be acting even half as badly as they do when in a group.

Big groups of people who believe themselves to be united by some sort of common cause are breeding grounds for trouble because 'group think' appears to reduce the intelligence of everyone there to something approximate to the lowest of the herd. Why this happens I don't know. Perhaps it's the perception of anonymity, safety in numbers, morphic resonance, the pathetic desire to fit in, the conviction that if so many other people act/think this way they can't all be wrong or all of these factors combined. What I do know is it's scary and one of the reasons I like to avoid large crowds such as those mentioned above.

The internet seems to give people a chance to access this 'group think' level of intellect without even having to leave their house.

The "sack Kay Burley" campaign on twitter triggered this entry but these thoughts have been formulating in my mind for some time now. If you have a life you'll be unaware that recently Sky news presenter, Kay Burley, has become something of a hate figure for a perceived group of right-on twitter users. So much so that the topic "sack Kay Burley" recently trended on the social networking site. My reply attracted some indignant and self-righteous tweets, which surprised me as it was, I thought, quite reasonable:

"The 'sack Kay Burley' trending topic is the most depressing one I've ever looked into. Twitter is becoming a tool of hate mobs."

From what I can make out Kay Burley's hideous crime was aggressively asking questions of some bloke who seemed to think meaningless right on answers were the best way to deal with a media appearance: "we voted with hope for a better future...". Nothing wrong with a journalist trying to get past fluffy answers, in fact I think it's to be encouraged. It turns out that the group he represented was one that specialises in internet campaigns. Hence the twitter trend.

"Fair votes now" and "Unlock democracy" sound great but don't actually mean anything. Holding it on a placard with a look of religious ecstasy might be fun but it's still without meaning. It's akin to the rugby lads getting drunk and me chanting that I don't want a racist war. As is writing "sack kay burley" over and over again in order to make it trend on twitter.

The interview which caused 'so much' moral indignation. Note the comments section to get more of an idea of 'group think' in full flow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt_cUiCjggE&feature=related

How about constant democracy?

Proportional representation is the in thing at the moment. As a result I've gone off the idea. Mainly because I don't think most of the people who are advocating it know what it means or which system they're in support of. They're just angry.

Furthermore, most of the popular systems (by which I mean those advocated by politicians) allow the political parties to assign MPs to areas once the votes have been counted and their seat numbers are allocated. This would result in MP's not having to answer to people locally at all. The practice of parachuting in MP's from out of town to places like Liverpool and Manchester has always been frowned upon. Most of the forms of proportional representation advocated at the moment would guarantee that happened on a regualr basis. No more Portillo or Jacqui Smith moments!

The only sort of electoral reform I would support (and would get me to return to voting) is best described as "constant democracy" or "rolling elections". I can't find it on the net, even wikipedia has let me down. It was explained to me, like all the best ideas, by a bloke in a pub years ago. It goes like this, you vote for whoever you want. When you don't like them you change your vote to someone else. There are no elections. It's your right to change who you support whenever you want to.

That way people like me who voted Blair in '97 could take their vote back in the event of, for example, an oncoming war in Iraq. Or the death of a someone like Dr David Kelly. Or the treatment of Gary McKinnon. Or, anything which seemed out of step with what you want. In fact, it would mean there was effectively a potential referendum whenever a controversial policy which lacked public support came up.

The main argument against this put forward by politicians is that they would never get anything done.

For me that sounds like another argument in favour of it.

NM

Grr! I can't believe I've been delayed for a couple of minutes, grr!

7th May

So, there's an accident in the middle of the road. You're held up for a couple of minutes behind the two people who've bumped each other's cars. They're clearly swapping insurance details. It's rush hour. It's annoying. Do you:

A) Just sit there an sigh.

B) Try and get round them.

C) Rev your car like a loony and when you get a the chance to get round them, do so as dramatically as you can at high speed with a snarl on your face.

The accident aftermath I saw today reveals that the most common answer to this question is "C". Two 'alpha males' decided to opt for this course of action, one of them almost killed a pedestrian with his theatrics. Well done everybody.

NM

Polling day...

As promised I "improved" my ballot paper. It felt good. I'd had a brief fling with the idea of voting for the Lib Dems but it really didn't seem worth it.


However, I feel my efforts were significantly outdone by a mate of mine over here: http://twitpic.com/1lh0v4

Thusly Murray wins the big bag of nothing. It's in the post!

NM

My least favourite term in the world is "sheeple"

As we were driving around Cornwall on our little holiday we had to stop the car to let a farmer go past with his sheep. I videoed them as they ran alongside us. The song in the background is 'Matchbox' by The Beatles, it happened to be playing on the CD player in my car.

video

I heard someone speaking recently about the oft repeated idea that people are hunters. It's pretty standard for people to talk of us in the long distant past as hunter gatherers. This chap, whose name escapes me, was talking about how he believes the evidence suggests that for the most part we were more gatherers than hunters. More of our time was concerned with being hunted than hunting. He then went on to talk about how our relationship with dogs (which began around 20,000 years ago according to him) is where our hunter status really comes from. Without them we'd have been stuck as mainly gatherer hunters with our prey being rats and insects.

In fact it's probably better to think of humans as just that: gatherer hunters. It seems that is what we have been for most of our time on this planet.

One of the things this chap said we'd notice in our culture if this kind of predominately preyed-upon mindset was truely the dominant part of our psychological make up would be the concept of sacrifice. If a group of animals is being chased by a Lion they will soon learn that you only have to be able to outrun the slowest of your number to live another day. Hence, it's not an unusual sight to see a Lion devouring its prey as other members of the herd walk about nearby. They know they're not going to be eaten, the Lion has what it wants. One of their number has been 'sacrificed' for the greater good. You see this on nature documentaries all the time.

So, what we're looking for is the concept of sacrifice in our culture today. Sacrifice required to appease an angry and hungry powerful being which once fed will leave us to our own devices for a bit... ring any bells?

Ever since I tried this new reality tunnel on for size it has proved useful. Seeing myself and fellow members of humanity as part of a gatherer hunter community makes more sense, even if it feeds our egos slightly less. For better or worse, we're more sheep than shepherds.

NM

In my view this is a good thing


May 4th

I wonder if people evolved to find views like this nice or if there is an inherent 'niceness' within them. I suspect the former but am compelled by evolutionary forces to hope for the latter. I wonder, if aliens landed tomorrow would they also think the above picture looked nice? Do birds, like the one in my previous entry, think this view looks nice?

Actually I'm forgetting myself here. There are of course some people who don't think pictures like the above are particularly nice. In fact, I didn't used to when I was a younger man. I'd wonder what adults were talking about when they said the countryside looked nice. It just looked like countryside to me.

Maybe it's a cultural thing and you learn to think it looks nice. If I'd have lived in the desert would I have an equal appreciation for such landscapes? I imagine snowscapes, sandscapes and the views from the surface of Venus are "nice" if you learn to have an eye for them.

Life is chaos upon which you apply a pattern called order.

Still, it does look nice, right?

Random animals are ancestor spirits

May 3rd

Me and the lady are taking a short break. This is one of the advantages of only working on the weekends, I can go on holiday without having to take time off.

We’re in St Ives. We were greeted in the hotel room by this chap who is stood outside our window.



He’s looking at me right now as I type out this entry as a word document to upload once I reach May the 3rd. Unnervingly he’s just started squawking as I write about him ... and now for the first time since we arrived he’s flown off. Perhaps he forged some sort of psychic link with my brainium and realised I was writing about him. Or, perhaps it was just a co-incidence.

Tomorrow we’re going to the Tate, there’s a gallery here. First though we’re off on an improvised pub crawl.

Influences on my mind #2

May 2nd

Terrence McKenna.

You can't go wrong listening to Terrence McKenna, unless you go away believing everything he's said to you. My first encounter with him came via Bill Hicks who briefly cites him and the so called "heroic dose" in one of his stand up routines. This meant that the name was stored away in a file marked 'some sort of intellectual clever man'. Actually, Terrence, is more interesting than that.

Firstly, the more controversial point of view which he held was that psychedelic drugs are good for you. It's a shame that this idea instantly puts off a good 80-90% of people from the get go as they'd benefit from his other ideas. McKenna is a raconteur in the truest sense. He jumps from idea to idea like a frog with a cheeky grin. He's the authentic voice of ideas which you don't encounter in 60's/70's nostalgic TV retrospectives but which formed a huge part of the dialogue of those decades.

Here's a few good YouTube vids to get you started...

NOBODY IS SMARTER THAN YOU ARE

TIME ACCELERATION
CULTURE IS YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM

Not long now...

May 1st

Still keeping my political opinions to myself at work because of the law. You're not allowed to broadcast any points of view that might encourage someone to vote in a particular fashion.

I'm reminded of my mate Tom Binns's joke about this which he did on Kerrang:

"General election on at the moment so we have to be very careful, I can't tell you to vote in a particular direction. They're very strict actually, I can't even tell you not to bother voting. The only thing I can do is encourage you to vote ... if I want to."

I've not changed my mind, I'm not going to bother voting. I'll post up my spoilt paper on this blog as suggested in the comments section.

NM

What's the tooth about Bluetooth?

"Hey - come in here and watch a film! 2 for 1 on Weds if you're an orange customer."

Who in their right mind is going to respond to something like that? I noticed it was a cinema. I didn't come in. Now you've sent me a text I think I'll change my plans. Stupid.

What exactly is the point of bluetooth? Other than to send me stupid text messages when I go past a cinema or a phone shop? You can transfer files from one phone to another ... and that's it. Leave it on and you get these awful spam texts everywhere you go. Absolute nonsense.

I've switched the function off on my phone now, apparently this saves battery. But it still annoys me that there must be mobile phone signals sturting out of the shops/businesses that use this form of advertising. Can't do us any good to have the unnecessary extra radiation in our densely populated areas like that.

The only good thing about bluetooth is it's named after a Viking. Vikings are cool.

Laughing like an idiot...

Wandering through the crowded streets of London in the morning thinking about how odd it is that people get annoyed over little silly things such as losing their keys. As I daydream a man looks right at me with an angry look on his face. I think it's just the way his face was built. You know, to look angry. He looked both angry and a bit confused. I burst out laughing and tried to disguise it as a cough. The poor bloke looked even more confused. I carried on walking genuinely shocked that I'd laughed in a stranger's face. I've no idea what he was annoyed about or even why his crumpled angry face made me laugh so much.

Very odd.

It was ever thus?


Were lads mags always rubbish or is my memory of them being witty and worth reading not quite as nostalgically rose tinted as it seems? I'm sure I used to look forward to reading the articles. I'm convinced they weren't always just soft porn. I first read about Osama Bin Laden in a lad's mag, I think it was FHM. It was an undercover report where the journalist had met with him and profiled his murderous intentions. I remember heaving with laughter at some of the captions, one about the Hulk still makes me smile: David Banner hogs the toilet while Hulk deals with a bad case of the turtle's head.

The moment when Gail Porter was splashed over the Houses of Parliament seemed to mean something when it happened back in 1999 whereas now it just looks like a tacky PR stunt. Perhaps it's just that I'm getting old. Or perhaps I'm right and there was a point when "lad's mags" were actually worth reading and not just pictures of attractive women. Not that there's anything wrong with pictures of attractive women, just that there's more to life than just that. In fact it used to annoy me when comedians such as Ben Elton would bang on about how lads mags and Baywatch were just an excuse for people to have a quick -ahem-. It's not something I've ever done, to either Baywatch or a lad's mag. I'll bet most blokes haven't either. The reason these mags aren't popular anymore is because they started to believe their own hype. They listened to their critics more than their readers. Pictures of attractive girls are fine but a few decent articles are the reason I used to part with my cash. Rant over.

Music I enjoy #2

28th April

The Beatles.

You can't avoid the fact that this group were the best band in the world. No song they recorded was without merit. Every album they released tested their audience. They never got stuck in a rut. So much so that there really is no such thing as a Beatles style song. They spanned all the genres of pop music you can think of and even helped to invent and refine new ones, the true hallmark of genius.

A blog entry like this is slightly redundant in that there will be no one reading it who hasn't listened to The Beatles. However, I would argue that some people might have listened to them without actually 'hearing' them. Those are the people currently rolling their eyes and thinking that I don't know what I'm on about when I write about music. If you're one of their number, mark these words: you'll change your mind and have your Beatles click point. It'll come randomly in the future and when it does you'll ring me and apologise for ever doubting those four young lads from Liverpool.

Start with The White album, then go on to Abbey Road and after that give Sgt Peppers a go.

NM

Putting a brave, moist, face on things

My increasingly pathetic attempts to self groom have led to me buying some exfoliater and moisturiser for my fat face. I picked up two bottles in Waitrose, the posh shop. They’re clearly marketed at people like me, they’ve got a picture of a bulldog on the front just to make sure I don’t feel like I’m being a big girl. I found this strangely reassuring even though I don’t think of myself as being too susceptible to advertising.

After my first usage I can report that my face looks and feels no different. Just as bloated and blotchy as usual.

NM

Music I enjoy #1

Neil Young

When you present a music radio show you get a little jaded in your tastes and, for me at least, some of the fun of music starts to evaporate. Now I’m presenting an all speech radio show I feel I can enjoy it again. As a result I’m revisiting a lot of old CDs and returning to sonic worlds I’d neglected during my time on the heavy metal station I used to work at.

I recently watched the BBC documentary “Don’t Be Denied” (on my iPlayer) which depicts the musical life of Neil Young. Neil is a favourite of mine. In fact he’s a member of the big three: Floyd, Beatles, Neil. The odd thing about him is that in my subconscious mind he’s a personal friend. He pops round my house and sings a few songs every now and then.

Fortunately I’m not insane so I sort of understand that he’s not actually someone I know but, in the event that he actually did drop in round my house, I really don’t think I’d react with surprise. I’d just have my subconscious saying “see, I told you so, he’s an old mate. Now put the kettle on and go get the guitar”.

The most common error when you tell people you dig the Young is for them to think you’re talking about cheesy funster Neil Diamond. The second most common error people make is to think Neil is “vocally challenged” and has a rubbish high pitched voice. The third is to ask me to play them a few of his tunes. This last one is an error because I own hours and hours of Neil’s music. In fact I own almost all of it. He’s not perfect, some of the stuff he’s put out is truly awful, but I’d keep playing you tunes until you accepted that Neil is one of your favourite rockstars. In fact it could all get a bit hostage on your sorry ass.

Better late than never

April 25th

I am loving this iPlayer thingy. You can download TV shows and watch them anywhere and anywhen. I understand that it's not a new thing but I usually come to technology a few years late. That way it has had all the niggling rubbish design flaws ironed out by the time I come to using it. The iPlayer works like a dream. However, it and the Sky plus box are turning me into a real cabbage potato.

I'm watching more TV now than I ever thought possible. Can't be doing me any good.

Arguing with Buddhist monks

Currently I am attending some classes at my local Buddhist temple. I'm a fan of meditation and enjoy hooking up with others and doing it in a group. The added bonus of short discussions about Buddhism is too much to resist. The only problem is that my naturally contrary nature keeps exerting itself during the questions section. For example, this time the Monk was talking about how anger is bad because it causes people to lose focus. This loss of focus means we see people as 100% bad when in reality they have good points as well as negatives.

This confused me. I don't usually get angry much but I'm not sure it's right to say that anger is always bad. Sometimes it's a good thing. Obviously spitting rage kettle-manic troll type anger isn't good. But 'bit miffed' can sometimes lead to you taking positive action to sort a situation out. I suggested that by directing anger at anger the Monk had lost focus and missed the good points about it. It's not 100% bad. Just maybe 60-80% bad.

This led to a long conversation which ended with her telling me that Buddha once killed someone!

I've googled this incident and it turns out that the mudering Buddha was a re-incarnation of the original one. So, y'know, it wasn't actually him. This is where the conversation sort of naturally finished as the monk explained that I don't understand karma yet so perhaps I should come back next week.

NM

The last laugh

23rd April

Mark Thomas wins £1,200 payout from the Police.

Mark Thomas is a brilliant comedian. Despite me no longer feeling like a lefty at one of his gigs a couple of years ago I still have a lot of time for him. It's odd how true the old cliche about becoming more rightwing the older you get is. There's a quote which is attributed to Churchill that runs like this; "If you are young and not liberal, then you have no heart; but if you are old and not conservative, then you have no brain".

I've quivered a little during this election campaign. For a brief moment I was toying with a vote for the Liberals but now I've remembered I don't like any of them so am going to stick with "NONE OF THE ABOVE". Doing the show is driving me up the wall at the moment. You're not allowed to show political bias without clear balance so it cuts off a lot of potential topics for me. Despite the fact I'm not going to vote.

NM

And now with wings...

I've never understood the big fuss over designer babies. I'd be well up for that in the event that me and the lady decided to spawn. People who think it's a bad idea never really seem to draw out a convincing argument. Why not grab hold of the evolutionary steering wheel with both hands and ride this cheeky mother to the end?

In fact I'd look into the idea of wings. What self respecting child would not want a big pair of wings sprouting from their shoulder blades? Certainly no child of mine would baulk at such a gift. They'd also get gills and self cleaning ears. No syringe business for them to deal with.

And night vision. I'd have that too.

Now, what ethical arguments can possibly get in the way of all those perfectly possible improvements? As far as I'm aware it usually boils down to "oh, Hitler would have liked designer babies," and, "but what about the ones who get born wrong?". Well, firstly Hitler was an evil bloke no doubt about that. However just because he liked something doesn't make it therefore evil. I'd be prepared to bet that he liked Jam. Doesn't make jam evil. Secondly this business of what do we do with the freaky ones who get born pre-perfection is simple. They get raised and live just like we did.

Call the U.N. I've sorted it all out. Designer babies give you wings.

NM

Influences upon my mind #1

Bill Hicks

Or to give him his full and correct title;
William Hicks, unwilling Erisian Prophet, willing swallower of dose heroic and invocator of the pan-demos ‘Goat Boy’.

Back in the days before the internets friends of mine would swap tapes of comedians. There was a bloke called Dennis Leary who did one called “No cure for cancer”. In it he donned the persona of an tough no nonsense ‘tell it like it is’ type of guy. At first we didn’t realise that the material he was doing was exactly copied, at points word for word, from the act of a genuinely subversive voice, Bill Hicks.

I remember a slightly cooler member of our social circle introduced me to Hicks’s material with the sort of arrogance you can only have when you realise someone is a fan of Dennis Leary but has never heard of his superior muse.

The first time I heard him it was a shock to realise that there was someone who had such a similar perspective on life to me. His talent, I think, is to say all the things his audience had thought themselves but had never quite managed to articulate. If Hicks’s material is shocking that’s where the current lies.

There’s a film of his life coming out soon, I watched a trailer for it recently in a little independent theatre me and my girlfriend sometimes go to. Bearing in mind how closely I agree with him, it was weird to recall how genuinely subversive his ideas are and to hear a few gasps in the audience alongside the laughs.

The tricky thing with someone like Bill Hicks is that over the years I’ve watched his material so often it has become part of my soul. I lose track of where his opinions begin and mine end. Robert Anton Wilson believed that was how reincarnation worked. You absorb the ideas of people who are no longer around and then to give voice to them to your contemporaries.

I guess that’s the point of this blog entry. Go google him and watch his work for yourself. Then pass it on. I’ll review the film of his life here once I’ve seen it.

Housekeeping post

I've had to remove the comments bit from the bottom of the front page. It all got a bit nasty there without me even noticing. I've upset a few royalists recently. Uh, and a few religious people. Oh, and a few nationalists as well. Oh dear.

Here's some of the comments which I've preserved for posterity. I've removed the nastier ones but left some of the negative ones in. I generally don't mind people slagging me off to be honest. Just not sure I could leave some of the more agressive comments up.

--COMMENTS OF OLD--

ive always said that nick should be the prime minister that was when he was at hallam fm now hes ended up in london so where is the next move maybe the whitehouse lmao love ya nick from the very controvecial psycho sue morgan

:( i miss the night before with nick margerrison :(

Sorry to see you have moved Nick, loved the show and will miss it, from smiffy ,Bridgwater somerset,

dude you are amazing, i am horrified to see you leave kerrang radio, the listener ratings will drop steeply now you've left, you've transformed the worlds minds and opened them to strange and bizarre new ideas and theories, and i think that was your intention all along :) good job. one last thing, i lost the game :) good luck nick :)

You're probably sick of reading all these comments but...I've listened to the show religiously for the past few months and am actually gutted. Even though you were a complete cock most of the time you're still a legend and it was the greatest radio show ever made. All the best for the future.

nick kerrang isn't the same without you , the nights are just boring. please tell me you are doing another radio showx

Well I don't know what to do at night anymore, I've got three hours spare now, but thank goodness you haven't just disappeared in to the abyss. I can't wait to hear you again sometime, hopefully in the near future, as you are one of the most interesting people I know.

Good luck and hopefully you'll be back on the airwaves soon, it was the best show ever !!

The nights just aren't the same. Nick, you were amazing

awww, finished studying and working just to find out some other dude was in your slot...never realised you had gone unitl I googled it. Radio just isnt the same!

I'm going to miss the wackyness. And what do I do now about keeping up to date with all the conspiracy theoris and Big Brother????? (not the TV Big Brother)

live in australia, just thought my computer could no longer donwload ur podcasts and just found the reason. don't get ur tv program down here on foxtel. so pretty much thats me ****out. bits on u tube i guess. fairplay anyway we all got to earn coin best we can in this world. your a very talented chap and sure we will hear you again.

Michal From Birgham, We miss you Nick! Like the user said, 10-1 No longer the same.

I miss you nick!!! weeknights 10-1 still arent the same :(

somebody told me your on LBC is this true?

hi nicholarse,found your blog,loved it,miss you on kerrang,loz guest show good but miss the night before,and by the way 'I JUST LOST THE GAME'

Good Heaven's! A night-time talk-radio Jock with a TV show on Channel 200. WIth a crap blog. Cripes! Socrates - The New Republic.

Nick. Please get back on air...

Hi.The Night Before should be brought back.NOT ROD STEWART. Nicholarse are you on the zeitgeistuk forum?

I agree. Why exactly did you leave, or get booted? http://www.lbc.co.uk/lbcs-presenters-3411

your shows are rubbish. i have tried.you seem to think that you have to disagree with everything. you havent the gift of twisting words.self opinionated little upstart.extremely irritating.listen to Clive. Nik or Anthony. superb.

nick im gutted i stay up every night to listen to your show and im so upset your greatly missed by me and the rest of the nation im sure. i agree 10-1 will never be the same xxx

nick....you look like a fat version of max off of hollyoaks.

I can't stand this man. He's ruined the overnight slot on LBC. The Ego has landed.

I have listened to a few of shows and really cannot warm to you or your presentation style. Your voice is gratingly unpleasant, your manner is patronising and you are often ill-informed about your subject matter. You take a viewpoint and keep pushing it in an attempt to provoke. You contradict yourself regularly too!

It won't be long before LBC get rid of you. You're no Anthony David! You seems cold, smug and unable to have a real conversation. Please do us all a favour and just piss off!

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