The Snow In The Summer or So-So

Knowledge is liberation

Koan

If your heart is true and your instincts wild, a wolfblood pack will accept you gladly... #

2 May 2018
Not getting excited for tomorrow's ballot

Local elections tomorrow. We've had letters from some of the council candidates.

To be precise, we've had eight letters since the start of the year from Adrian Delaney (Conservative). He's gone long about how he cleans up rubbish. He stands by shops in the Approved Conservative Pose™, he picks up litter, and wants to bring back free garden collections.

The problem we have with Adrian Delaney (Conservative) is the (Conservative) bit. He stands with the most obnoxious racists we've covered since the BNP in 2009. He will not get our vote, because he stands with racists.

Carole Griffiths is the Labour candidate. We only know this because of her piece on a local website. We've had no leaflet from her. No-one from Labour has dared knock our doorstep.

We will not be voting for Labour. The party is in coalition at Westminster with the Conservatives, and chooses to betray all of its principles. Workers are suffering, and all to satisfy the hugemungously massive ego of its current "leader".

The manifestoes from the Greens and Lib Dems are sensible and relevant to the council's powers. A vote for either of these parties would also send a message to the real audience, the BBC and the newspapers. The message: we still don't want your stupid "breggsit" idea. We said no last year, and there is no mandate from earlier years.

(More: The yellow and green candidates)

In short:

Positions of the nationwide parties on Brexit-related issues. The question mark reflects Labour's insistence on "a" customs union but not "the" Customs Union.

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30 March 2018
Local Radio Times

With the clocks being helpful, we've been listening to North American local radio news, mostly in gobbets of about 20 minutes. Here are some thoughts:

VOCM (St John's) at 0530 local. Fifteen minutes of local and global news, travel, and local sport. Emphasis on local content, sober and serious and well-produced. Quite an old-style bulletin, but kept the pace up. Perhaps there's room in the market for something younger.

(More: CBC St John's, News 95.7, CHML, AM 1250 Steinbach. From south of the border: South Shore Radio, KFOR 1240, Shine All 9s KSHN, WDEV Vermont, WZBD, Newsradio WKOK, and WBAP.)

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19 February 2018
Really deep things

So there's this post and comment thread on Metafilter talking about Little Earthquakes, and describes the album as "music for weird high school theater nerds in the process of figuring out their sexuality".

Mmm, hello.

This blog was aware of Little Earthquakes on first release: enjoyed the singles, and added it to the nebulous list of "would like to get at some point, when we've got through more pressing stuff. And perhaps when it's cheaper."

And that's where it stayed for years. Until this blog started dating a weird high-school theatre nerd who very much was in the process of figuring out their sexuality. As regular readers may recall, this relationship ended messily; said theatre nerd insisted on turning the knife into a wound they'd made, and both of us may still carry the scars.

Said theatre nerd might have figured out their sexuality, got married, had kids. This blog hadn't, and likely still hasn't. Tori Amos has persisted throughout, a little bit of the divine, a few of the bonds that connect humanity and keep everyone together.

But it's the connections we treasure, that there are caring and supportive people who are united by meaningful popular culture. My So-Called Life was this blog's muse, Tori Amos for others, all things Titanic for the next cohort beneath, and then Harry Potter exploded. It's the same bonding as sports fans, for we who are not sports fans.

Who's treading these paths today? Lorde is the weird nerd vibe. Lucy Spraggan does the storytelling and emotional connection. The 100 and Stephen Universe attract various forms of outsider. All have rabid fanbases, and we hope to read about them in Metafilter circa 2042.

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24 January 2018
Popular in early 2002

Not Quite as Popular covers the top five singles on the CIN chart. This episode covers the first half of 2002. We move at the same speed as Tom Ewing's Popular project, which explains the eighteen-month gap between installments.

The new year began with a quiet week; the de facto two week Christmas break was now established. Sales were so weak that Hermes House Band hit number 1 in Scotland with Country roads. We can't blame that on drunken Scotsmen streaming all sorts of shite at Hogmanay parties; streaming had been invented, but not over dialup.

(More: With number ones for Aaliyah, George Harrison, Enrique Iglesias, Westlife, Will Young, Gareth Gates, Oasis, The Sugababes, Holly Valance, Ronan Keating, Liberty X, Eminem, and Junkie XL. Plus a superlative lyric from Ant and Dec.)

Nelly's Hot in herre (sic) only made number 4, but it's the most famous song from June. The track drips sex and sensuality from every fibre of its being. "The sauciest record ever," said the NME. Perhaps let down by relying on one musical hook, it's the breakthrough hit for rapper Nelly, and for his producers The Neptunes. More - much more! - from both as the century unfolds.

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6 January 2018
It's Still In the Top Twenty

Top of the Pops Christmas Day 2017

Silver dress for Fearne, and an ill-fitting red dress for Reggie. Hang on, that's not Reggie, it's Clara Amfo! New blood! Our first new TOTP presenter since 2006!

Kick off with the song of the year, ED SHEERAN Shape of you. Ed's on a large stage, decorated with reindeer and Christmas trees, and he's wearing a festive jumper. That'll look strange when they do Ed Sheeran at the BBC in autumn 2019. Live vocals, and some of the most anaemic overhead clapping we've ever seen. This song drags on a bit, doesn't it.

STORMZY does Blinded by your grace part 2 from the circular stage. He's joined by the Fifteen-to-One gospel choir, dressed in black and standing in a semi-circle around the stage. This is yer obligatory religious content, Mr. Stormzy attesting to his faith. Expect to hear this in black churches before Easter, and in the Anglican churches circa 2117.

DUA LIPA gives New rules on the small stage. Lots of dry ice, and a floor-length dress - we can tell straight away that she's not moving far from that spot. Concentrate on the vocals, and let the cameras do the movement, so lots of shots tracking towards (or away from) Ms Lipa. Good to see the BBC have taken on the basic ideas of Every Song Tells a Story.

Some actual talent, RITA ORA performs Your song from a small stage in the middle of the crowd, and she'll use all the stages before finishing. She's in firey red, with a cape to look like an evil supervillain; the dancers are in very civilian clothes, enhancing Ora's special look. We find the song a bit pedestrian, but this was another ooh-some performance.

(More: Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, Clean Bandit, Anne-Marie, and many more.)

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27 December 2017
Correspondents Look Ahead to 2017

Time for the annual review of the BBC's Correspondents Look Ahead. The edition predicting 2017 was broadcast in the World Service, and domestically on Radio 4, between 28 December 2016 and 1 January this year.

Jon Sopell begins by talking about a sex pest. This blog does not give the oxygen of publicity to this sex pest; we would also like to deny him the oxygen of oxygen, but this is not possible.

(More: President le Pen, Li and Rouhani, and a token moment for Africa.)

We're not going to declare a winner this year; the correspondents suffered from tremendous groupthink, and were unable to present differing views.

Correspondents Look Ahead to 2018 airs in the BBC World Service from 28 to 31 December, and on Radio 4 on Friday evening and Saturday lunchtime. We hope to review it next year.

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11 December 2017
"And by 'sovereign state', you mean..?"

A statement from this blog's MP. We've slightly edited it to remove swearing.

So when [a named sex offender] says he recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital because it's the choice of a sovereign nation, shouldn't he also recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine as the choice of a different sovereign nation? Or don't Palestinian choices count?

Let's unpick this a little.

(More: Explain the status of Jerusalem, define "sovereign state" and "nation".)

Let's run with Mr. Burden's position, that Palestine is an actual "sovereign nation". If this were true, then Palestine would have the ability to do whatever it liked over territory it controls. Palestine could make its own laws, establish its own judiciary, and site its capital wherever it likes on territory it controls.

This changes Mr. Burden's position. He has long campaigned for Palestine to become a sovereign state. Yet here, he takes Palestine's sovereignty for granted, when it is neither de facto nor de jure sovereign. If Palestine is a "sovereign nation", then Mr. Burden's earlier arguments have been consigned to history.

The same argument extends to other "sovereign nations" such as Israel. Israel can make its own laws, establish its own judiciary, and site its capital wherever it likes on territory it controls.

It's almost as if there's a different standard at work here, where Palestine is given advantages that Israel is not, where Palestine is held to a different standard from that applied to Israel. Some might call that "anti-Semitic".

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3 December 2017
The curious case of Damian Green

Further leaks from the police, claiming that they found thousands of smutty thumbnails when they raided Damian Green's office in 2008. Some claimed that merely having legal smut on your work computer is grounds for insta-firing; this blog doesn't agree.

The normal channel for this sort of complaint is through the Cabinet Office. Instead, the police have gone straight to the press.

The standard procedure is to destroy findings when it's clear there will be no prosecution. But, nine years after the initial raid, the evidence is still around.

Even the police accede that the images are legal, no crime has been committed. And yet the police leak the cache to the press. This stinks, and the stench does not come from Damian Green's office.

Back in 2008, there was a mighty protest about the fact of this raid. The police were convinced that Damian Green's office was receiving leaks to damage the police. They arrested Damian Green on charges made up out of whole cloth, and persuaded speaker Michael Martin to authorise the raid as "national security".

Martin was a failure as speaker, hopelessly pro-Labour, and would be the first casualty when the expenses scandal broke a year later. It appears that he's still exacting his revenge, from beyond the political grave.

Let's make a few things clear:

  1. The police were out of order to arrest Damian Green and raid his office. It appears that they were acting outside their constitutional powers.
  2. By retaining information, and leaking it to the police's advantage, it's clear that the police are still outside their constitutional powers.
  3. The leaks are designed to smear Green, and remove him from the deputy prime minister's office. It is not clear what else the plotters expect to achieve.
  4. We don't like the implication that Damian Green had smut on his computer. It is a fact that this smut was and is legal.

We would welcome an independent inquiry. It needs to be into the behaviour of the police, as it appears the police have grossly overstepped the mark.

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