July 26, 2005

Terrorist logic

A very interesting article which seems to provide some factual basis for the gut feeling I and many other people have: taking the fight to the suicide terrorists is counter-productive.

A key quote:

So if Islamic fundamentalism is not necessarily a key variable behind these groups, what is?
The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign—over 95 percent of all the incidents—has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.
Posted by Oxygenik at 3:31 PM | Comments (2)

July 14, 2005


Honor Tags. Oh dearie me.

Posted by Oxygenik at 2:00 PM | Comments (6)

July 12, 2005

Duct tape festival

Some things are so marvellous they subsume any attempt to comment on them. This is one such thing.

The Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival

Duct tape evangelists

Medieval duct tape outfits:

Posted by Oxygenik at 2:09 PM | Comments (4)

July 11, 2005


Enough has been written about the bombings by people who were affected, so I needn't add to it. I would like to write about how weird it has been since then: I have never seen the city so empty as it was on Thursday afternoon. I didn't go out on Thursday night, but I expect it was probably the slowest day for the entertainment business since records began in 1641. The next day was definitely the quietest Friday night I have ever seen. My friends and I went to Mother Bar at 333 Old Street. This part of town is usually heaving on a Friday night, but Mother was totally empty. It was very strange. After a few drinks in neighbouring Cocomo (we got a whole bench to ourselves! At 9:30pm!) we tried Liverpool Street but nothing was happening. We probably should have guessed this from the emptiness of the Tube; there were about 20 people in the whole carriage, staring intently at each other. You could see they were thinking, "Does that dropped glove contain explosive?" After ringing round a bunch of clubs to find something, Noriko suggested Brick Lane, but nothing was happening there either; the bars were all shutting early, 93 Feet East was already shut, Vibe Bar was shutting soon. We went in out of desperation, to find it also almost empty. On a balmy summer evening the tables outside were deserted. Inside there were only about 30 people in both rooms, and nobody smiling Very strange.
Posted by Oxygenik at 10:46 AM | Comments (5)

July 4, 2005


How many times have I been to Glastonbury? I can't remember, and it's possible that if I don't write it down now I'll forget this one too - so here goes: what follows is an unstructured dump of what I think about this last glasto that was.

I went before in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and possibly 1998. I can't actually remember if I went in 1998 or whether I got hacked off by the weather in '97 and didn't go back, but either way, it had been a long time and it felt strange and wonderful to be back. I went with Mat and some colleagues of his - for the most part nice guys although Brendan pissed me off from the moment I met him by keeping a carload of us waiting for 45 minutes without explanation or apology. This was even more frustrating as they were 45 minutes of daylight at the end of the journey we could have used. Sadly this wasn't an isolated incident, and he turned out to be a bit of a twat. Everyone else was lovely though, especially Chris and Jo, a funny and impeccably matched couple.

We got down on Wednesday evening and carried and wheeled our stuff from the car to the group campsite, which was rather bizarrely placed to be at least two fields away from anywhere, but Mat's colleagues obviously thought it was a good idea. In total there were 10 of us - Mat and myself, Mat's colleagues Dave, Chris, Jo and Brendan, Dave's boyfriend Tom, Tom's best friend Ian, his girlfriend Maria and someone else called Neil whose relationship to anyone I never managed to fathom. Neil was quite funny; very likely drug-damaged (he introduced himself on Saturday to Ian despite having shared a camp with him for 3 days) but really engaging nonetheless. I really wanted to chat to him but it was akin to chatting to Eliza.

By Wednesday night Mat and I had set up our chalet as well as Bob's tent (Bob was coming later) so we went for a wander around the site. Already there were a lot of people and we read later that around 50000 people had come by Wednesday. I spotted a trancey shop, and wandered over. I have a lot of time for trance; it's a really dinky cute subculture that seems to be purely about fun. Not really being sure how far I could push it, I suggested to Mat we get some nitrous for a laugh, pun fully intended. Up for it as ever, Mat was yelling, "Jesus fucking Christ!" but thought he was only saying it... then again, maybe he was only saying it and I thought he was yelling it... who knows? Nitrous, ever the gateway drug, led to mushrooms, which led to an amusing Thursday as we got up and munched them down while waiting for breakfast. As it turned out breakfast took long enough in the preparation for us to get really twisted, start the day's spliff parade and watch the texture of the tent roof separate into different layers, form new images and turn into new layers... very trippy, and then a delcious fried breakfast from Chris.

Thursday was a scorcher - a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and we went on a group wander about the place, and I was delighted that so much was exactly as I recalled from so many years previously, with plenty of novelty too. The cider bus, the milk stalls, the falafel shop on the way to the Greenfields in exactly the same place as before (it gave me food poisoning in '97 but I wasn't about to see if that hadn't changed) and most of the shops seemed to be much the same as ever, with the same fabulous supporting cast as ever. We met Beth as well, which was a delight unexpected. She's as good fun as ever, and the three of us meandered about the site with no particular agenda. In the dance village we found a cool outdoor space with mobiles and lights and music and atmosphere, so Mat and I dropped a half because we wanted to spazz out there for a bit. An excellent reason for pilling I feel, and one that was entirely justified - we did in fact spazz out for a bit and enjoyed ourselves greatly. Beth said she was scared of drugs and didn't join in, but was having a great time anyway. While we were ambling around I spotted a camping supplies stall and bought some extra tent pegs to soothe a nagging worry I had about the tent. After everything had worn off and we were finally ready to go to bed, having tried unsuccessfully to enjoy The Warriors (someone said during a quiet bit, "This movie is the pits!" and everyone laughed) we made it back to the tent, started pegging it out and then the rain started. We got to bed and I couldn't sleep at all because from about 4am onwards it was as full-on an electrical storm as I have seen in my whole life. Parts of the site were hit by lightning, but the proximity wasn't the problem, it was the terrible duration; it was still lashing down at 11am the following day! My side of the tent got the brunt of the assault, but the old thing held up perfectly. Most people got some rain in their tents, but ours was perfectly dry inside.

Friday was spent mostly doing nothing. The sky was grey, the air damp and chilly and the site a churned up boggy mess. Having done pills, shrooms, cider and about 8 spliffs the previous day I wasn't in the mood for trudging through the swamp and so skulked around the campsite, ate my disgusting Alpen astronaut food and read. The kids loved it though!

Thanks to the lack of rain on Friday, by Saturday afternoon the condition of the soil was much improved and I had high hopes for the evening, which was when Luke Vibert was starting proceedings in the Dance Village. Before that Beth and I hooked up at G Love, which was a lovely bit of continuity; I saw him with no particular reason to on the Jazz World stage during one of the original years I went ('93-'95) and thought he and the band were awesome! I bought Coast To Coast Motel and was hooked. A couple of years ago in Japan I saw their Best Of, picked it up and fell in love again. They were storming and repaid my spotty devotion in full.

I obviously have a lot of time for LV and he didn't disappoint. A hard banging set of Amen Andrews stuff, the end of which saw me and Mat pretty well up on the red diamonds I picked up from my chemist the week before. I also needed a dump, and boy did I get one. In fact, it was without a doubt the finest shit I've ever had in my entire life, and one glimpse at my prolapsed sphincter, should you ever need such a graphical confirmation, will convince you I've had some corkers in my time. Pills have a strange effect in that they make me (and many other people) need to take a dump, and being in Glastonbury is a strong dump inhibitor. On their own, the two factors would probably cancel each other out, but when you add in the fact that I'd been eating a lot of Alpen, there is only one inescapable conclusion: turdstrike! There was a long queue, I was getting higher and the need was unavoidable. By the time I'd wiped down the seat and squatted the backup was getting dangerous. Slowly a rich, yellow brown serpent eased, no, teased its way out, an inch at a time. Some girls banged on the toilet door because I was taking so long, but I was barely able to assert my existence such was the ecstasy of the moment. A good shit is worthwhile at any time, but the best shit of your life, on pills? Priceless. When I was done (and not a moment before) there lay a good 20 inches of unbroken kraken. I could only apologise to the waiting girls as I wafted out of the portaloo feeling as light as an odour.

In all honesty I don't actually know what happened after this - I know Beth took some pills for the first ever time and spent the rest of the evening trying to work out when she could again. Sorry about this Beth, but it'll never be that good again. You can chase it as much as you like, but it's probably better if you don't. We saw Dreadzone, who were forced off the stage before they'd finished their set, and then we went roaming around looking for music to dance to. There wasn't any and by the time we'd realised this it was late. Mat and I tried to watch Sin City, but it wasn't working: the film has almost no continuity as it is, but fried on E it was hopeless. 4am rolled around sleep beckoned.

Sunday was, finally, another scorcher. Strolled around, saw some of Brian Wilson's set, dawdled, and got an early night. Then Beth rang me at just the point where it's impossible to get back to sleep but still early enough to get up and have a night. I got up and found her in the Greenfields, but then as we wandered from tent to tent it seemed like everything was closing. We met up with Chris, Jo and Mat and saw the last act in the circus tent, the compere closing the cabaret tent and then finally stepped out and saw the fire-jugglers close the festival. Chris and Jo went back to camp and despite Beth's assertion that Lost Vagueness never lives up to expectations, we went on their. It didn't, although we did all have a delicious crepe, after 25 minutes in the queue.

So that was Glastonbury, 2005. As we left on Monday morning, Neil was lying in a chair I'd bought. I tried to say goodbye, but slapping his face didn't wake him up. His skin was warm though, so I assume he was still alive.

Posted by Oxygenik at 5:20 PM | Comments (13)