Monday, May 23, 2005

Eurovision, Footie and the BBC


So, Greece add the Eurovision Song Contest to the European Nations Cup. And twelve points from Turkey! Warms the heart to see the two great chums getting on so well. (Can't remember how many points Greece gave Turkey. Pretty sure it wasn't 12.) Shame Moldova didn't win, though. Apart from being by far the best song (Terrorvision influence, anyone?), Terry Wogan might not have been able to find it in time for next year. (Don't look Terry, its here.)

The funniest three minutes of the weekend have to be the last three minutes of the Motherwell-Celtic game yesterday afternoon (sorry, I'm going off on a Scottish football theme for the next wee bit; those with other interests may wish to navigate to the Manchester United/Tampa Bay thingies/CBeebies sites instead). As a Dundee United supporter myself I am generally both disinterested and uninterested in the fortunes of the Evil Twins, but I couldn't suppress a belly laugh as I heard Motherwell's second goal go in. And both goals scored by a life-long Australian Celtic supporter. Hilarious. My only regret is that one of the Evil Twins had to win the SPL this year; I look forward to seeing both lots of Weegies blubbing into their bridies when Gretna win in a couple of years time. Mind you, on reflection, this might not be the ideal week to be meeting Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final.

Interesting to see who did and didn't cross the picket lines at the BBC this morning. The aforementioned Terry Wogan did (you'd think he'd be glad of a day off, wouldn't you?), although he did wish the strikers good luck. Which was nice. Jeremy Paxman didn't. It seems Nicky Campbell didn't either, judging by his absence from 5Live breakfast. All in all a great day to play the old-fashioned 'Spot The Scab'game on BBC tv and radio. While I sympathise whole-heartedly with the strikers, and would be loath to cross a picket line myself, I just can't seem to get as exercised about it as I used to. Maybe I'm just getting old. Now, where did I leave my Daily Mail?

Friday, May 20, 2005

"Every day when I wake up...

... I thank the Lord I'm Welsh."

Actually, I'm not, but I can see what Cerys means.

Not only is the Welsh music scene at an all-time vibrant high (here and here, for example), but so is the literature.
One of these years I've promised myself I'll make it to the Hay-on-Wye literary festival. There are, after all, some excellent pubs there.

Now, where are all the fab & groovy Scottish bands? (Well, actually, here's one: Sons and Daughters)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

George Bush Is a Big Fearty*

George W Bush is bringing his own aircraft carrier to the G8 summit in Scotland this July (not to mention Marines, fighters, limos, helicopters and pretzels) - and parking it off the West Coast?? A quick glance at a map shows that any single part of the West Coast would be a less than optimal location to protect a hotel near the East Coast (incidentally, it wasn't easy finding the Gleneagles Hotel on Google Maps; conspiracy or they've just never heard of it?). Might I suggest the Firth of Forth as a parking spot? Or, then again, maybe it's just a little too obvious. Or just so big it'll block the traffic.
Mind you, our lot aren't much better. They've chosen Prestwick Airport as the entrance point for our glorious leaders because it's more difficult for protesters to get to than Glasgow or Edinburgh. As difficult as following the "Trains to Prestwick Airport" sign at Glasgow Central Station? Maybe they're going to take the sign down. That should confuse the crusties. And I have to say lots of affluent touring golfers seem to be able to find the Royal Prestwick and Royal Troon golf courses - so it can't be that hard, can it? It's also worth pointing out that Prestwick is just about the furthest away airport from Gleneagles in the whole of Scotland.
I really hope Christopher Brookmyre is working on the novel already.

*Fearty - Scots for 'no affy brave'

Ukrainian Comedy Reggae

What's more, political Ukrainian comedy reggae. The host nation's entrant for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest:

GreenJolly owe their success to the Maidan [revolution]. They have been together since 1997, specialising in Ukrainian comedy reggae - a genre of somewhat limited appeal. During the early days of the revolution, however, Kalyn, Roman Kostyuk (guitar) and Andriy Pisetskyi (keyboards and saxophone) wrote Razom Nas Bahato in just four hours, channelling key war cries into an infectiously strident hip-hop track. When a local radio station posted it on its website, the track became an anthem overnight. The next day GreenJolly performed it in Independence Square to 50,000 protesters; a few days later the crowd had swollen to half a million.

Although, in the spirit of the event, they've toned down the politics. A bit:

The band duly took out Yushchenko's name, but their insistence that "the song doesn't contain any politics any more" is less than persuasive, given that the first line is: "We won't stand this - no! The revolution is on!"

As the Guardian explains, it's not easy hosting the Eurovision these days. Then again, I'm sure the Orange revolutionaries are grateful that things didn't turn out like this.

Read more about the Uzbekistan situation here and here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

How Gorgeous Is George?

Gorgeous George Galloway, the so-called "MP for Baghdad Central", sure gave those Yank Senate boys one hell of a beating. Or so he would like to think. The jury is very much out, it would appear. A quick vox pop (ie a lunchtime chat in the work canteen) indicates that the English public found the whole thing hilarious; taking on the might of the US Senate has at last made George into the kind of folk hero he always wanted to be. What short memories people have.

George loves a good headline, and he's not averse to repeating himself either. Consider this quote:
“I met Saddam exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is that Rumsfeld was meeting him to sell him weapons and I was meeting him to try and get rid of the weapons to avoid the war.”

Sound familiar? It's from an interview with Arab News in June 2003, bizarrely re-quoted at the Jerusalemites.

Of course, George wasn't appearing in front of the Senate Committee to give a speech; he was merely defending his good name. Again.

So, did he profit from Iraqi oil? I very much doubt it. I don't think there's any question that
George is absolutely sincere in his beliefs (although a couple of senators may disagree - "Committee chairman Norm Coleman said: "I think that Mr Galloway's credibility is certainly very suspect"" -from the BBC report).

Many years ago, when I was a student at Dundee University (1980, since you ask) George was a Labour member of the City Council. He outraged the right-wing Scottish press (and everyone else, for that matter) with his now infamous twinning of the City of Dundee with the City of Nablus on the Palestinian West Bank. The PLO flag flew majestically over Dundee's City Square. As has been pointed out (by himself, obviously) George's alliance with the Palestinian cause at that time was as outrageous and shocking as declaring support for Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda would be today. The Mayor of Nablus was invited to Dundee and, again infamously (or possibly apocryphally?) presented with a case of whisky and a kilt. Not ideal gifts for a devout Muslim who's legs had been recently blown off, it was suggested at the time.

Back in Washington, however, it seems clear that the good Senators are not about to change their minds regarding Oor Geordie's involvement with Big Saddam. George has expressed regret that he can't sue anyone for libel. They should be relieved; he's very good at it.

I can't wait to see Mel Gibson in the movie....

Learn more about Gorjie Georgie here.

Better Late Than Never?

Well, I hope so.
I hadn't paid much attention to the BlogWorld up until a few weeks ago; I guess I fell for the 'navel-gazing' accusations I've read so often. In fact, the breadth and depth of opinion and talent is frankly breath-taking. And, often, the narrowness and shallowness - which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Anyway, I thought I may as well chuck in my tuppenceworth rather than just become an inveterate lurker. With any luck I may actually produce something interesting.
Oh, the name of the blog. All I can say is it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I kind of grew to like it. Aging Magazine fans may recognise the source. I've tried to come up with a philosophical justification along the lines of "Failing Miserably To Clean Up The World" or some such nonsense, but essentially its meaningless.
By the way, I promise I will rarely - if ever - mention the 'Simple Object Access Protocol'. It's not that kind of blog...