Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

john peel 1939 - 2004

this is shockingly sad news - peelie was a totally cool geezer: I've personally relied heavily on him to show me the way to the newest of the new in music over the years. who else could we trust? there's a complete demographic cross-section mourning him right now with genuine affection - I can't see that happening again with anyone else in his field, really.
bbc obituary

wet welsh weekend


Monday, October 25, 2004


"This Pillar is called Mail Coach Pillar and erected as a Caution to Mail Coach Drivers to keep from Intoxication and in memory of the Gloucester - Carmarthen mail coach which was Driven by Edward Jenkins on the 19 Day of December in the year 1865 Who was Intoxicated at the time & drove the Mail on the wrong side of the Road and going at Full Speed or Gallop met a Cart and permitted the leader to turn Short round to the Right Hand & went down Over the Precipice 121 Feet when at the Bottom near the River it came against an Ash Tree when the Coach was Dashed into Several Pieces."

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

miracles happen

so I'm making myself some coffee earlier, and reach for the filters, and - dammit - empty. so I spin the packet over onto the work-surface nearest to the back door to remind myself to get some more when I go out later - and this is how it lands. upright. I just stood and stared for several seconds. then I ran for my camera, took this pic, and spent the next three or four minutes tossing the same packet from the same position at the same spot over and over again in order to try and duplicate that singular, extraordinary little event. with total lack of success, of course. but it did happen. gather round and listen. once, I tossed an empty pack of coffee filters across the kitchen onto the work-surface three metres away and it landed upright. if that can happen, anything can happen. can't it?

Sunday, October 17, 2004


REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya

A black rhino is released in an area created from four adjoining properties in Kwa-Zulu Natal province October 15, 2004. The properties removed their border fences to create a barrier-free area of about 20,000 hectares for 15 black rhinos which will be released in an exercise run jointly by the WWF and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Wildlife Black Rhino Range Ezemdelo Project, which aims to run for a period of 20 years.

begrüßen Sie meinen Führer

it's becoming difficult to displace the ominously looming feeling that if the monkey does manage successfully to get returned for another term, then that's almost it - oligarchy 2 democracy 0. three strikes and you're out. get used to it.
there's still time - and, god knows, the monkey's so vulnerable on so many issues that he might as well be walking around with a target painted on his arse - but the tall guy with the long face just doesn't seem to have the balls. does he really want to be the pres, or was all this just some kind of misunderstanding?
I overheard one of those old codger conversations in the chemists the other day between a couple of blokes wearing star of burma medals who must have been about twenty on VE day. their concerns were about immigrants, the breakdown of authority, the inefficiency of public transport, and the lack of nationalistic backbone generally. I suppose that, at the time, they had been convinced by the incumbent authority that going off and fighting in the war was the right thing to do. I don't suppose that it's ever occurred to them since that they'd be a lot happier now if we'd just let Hitler win, which our then future monarch had wanted all along.

Friday, October 15, 2004

the pariah club

"AN INTERNAL report prepared by Israel's foreign ministry paints a gloomy picture for the future of the country's global standing, giving warning that in the coming decade it could suffer the pariah status of South Africa under apartheid."
(Irish Independent)
and the global poll results:
"Israelis are the only people to back the incumbent and to see American democracy as a model for other countries"

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

je ne regrette rien

'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' adds another layer of gilt to the shrine that already exists in this house to the complicated Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich; Adaptation), and another layer of guilt to its fellow, attic-banished shrine of painful memories that refuse to submit to the relentless attrition of time - grim granite outcrops in a sandstone landscape.
I know it's fashionable to live a life of no regrets, but really, come on.
so your soulmate dumps you - what are you supposed to do? 'move on', of course! (one of those lumps of sticky jargon that have migrated across the pond via the yoof-kulcha network - see also 'closure', 'get over it', etc). as if this thing you perceived as having been the single most important event in your life were a dodgy paving stone over which you've tripped. so - pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and dum dum diddle dum dum. but what if the memories of the good times - the things you're recommended to concentrate on by the fixed smiley school of positive thinking - are precisely, exquisitely unbearable simply because they define the horrifying scale of the void caused by the absence of the presence that they embodied? time, eventually, is supposed to seal it all away in a muffled morphean cocoon, after all.
and it's just this gaffer-tape-fix take on human complexity that Kaufman challenges in this remarkable and refreshingly equivocal (for Hollywood) movie: what if, he proposes, there was a way of erasing those memories completely, the good and the bad - what if you could fix it so that none of it had ever happened?
it's a doozy, this memory thing.
it's a premise, of course, that doesn't withstand much logical scrutiny - but that's not the point (discovering a trapdoor into John Malkovich's head doesn't, either, and that one worked, too). few people can negotiate a way through being alive without suffering - physically, emotionally, mentally, psychically. an individual's capacity to endure, indeed, is regarded as a measure of their character. none of us freely choose it, but our humanity seems to be defined, in large part, more by the way we negotiate adversity and pain - both our own and others' - than by any other set of circumstances. at its simplest, the experience of pain is a warning that some external threat is compromising the body's physical integrity: that, unless you withdraw your hand from proximity with that flame, there will be damage. under such circumstances, the physical reaction is automatic - the pain-ouch-move hand away sequence is very fast. job done. however, this sequence, unchanged since we were amoeba, is overlayed with a shimmering, fearsomely complex neural net of higher brain functions which, under different circumstances, will assess this thing we call 'pain', and evaluate it.
the calibration of pain, however, is an inexact science. it's difficult enough, confronted with a scale of one to ten on which one is mild discomfort and ten is screamingly intolerable agony, to place accurately the level of a severe case of tennis elbow, for example - pain, like the body's other wave-functions, displays characteristics of frequency and amplitude, so a self-assessed scale 7 might be an average of 5 and 9 at different times of the day and under different physical conditions. and as for emotional pain - well, you might as well construct the scales out of fairy-dust.
who, in their right mind, having suffered the agony of rejection that is failed love, would freely choose to go through all that again? 'Eternal Sunshine...' asks - and, because this is, when all's said and done, a Hollywood feelgood comedy, the answer's never in doubt: just about all of us. how else account for the thousands of millions who do - just - keep on hoping - that they, in the face of the overwhelming statistical evidence to the contrary, will be the ones who will be able to say - we made it, eternal sunshine, nous ne regrettons rien? foolish, stupid even, but essentially human.
our memories, essentially, are indispensible: an accretive entity, a part of our selves as deeply rooted in our sense of self as the image we see in the mirror. we might not like half of them, but tough - we might not like our feet, either, and what would we do without them? fall over, that's what.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


just a tiny reminder - especially if you happen to live in one of the swing states (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida, especially) - this is the final week for voter registration.
it matters.
no, really. it really, really matters.
click the button.
go on.
do it for the rhino.

Monday, October 04, 2004


on January 20th 1950 a revue called 'Dance Me A Song,' written and directed by one James Shelton opened at the Royale Theatre on Broadway. like so many others of its kind, it flopped, running for only 35 performances, and closed on February 18th. there was one song in the show, however, sung by an actress called Hope Foye, which, for some unrecorded reason, came to the attention of the immortal Nina Simone, who sang it unaccompanied on her album, 'Wild is the Wind,' released in 1966, the year in which Jeff Buckley was born. this, in turn, came to the emerging young musician's attention, and he chose to cover it on his first album, 'Grace', which was released in August 1994. Jeff died on May 29th 1997 at the age of 30 - drowned in a freak swimming accident in the town of Memphis, Tennessee, in the Wolf River, a tributary of the Mississippi, whilst waiting to greet his new band members to start recording his most eagerly-awaited follow-up album.
'Grace' is one of the finest albums ever recorded. 'Lilac Wine' is possibly one of its finest songs.
read a few reactions to the new Legacy Edition of 'Grace' here.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


I've just been reading an article on trafficking, so I'm in a bit of a - let's say - misanthropic - mood.
I myself simply can't understand - no matter how hard I try - how a girl who's been abducted, raped, pimped, and then dumped deserves to be treated, instead of with infinite compassion and care, as an object of revulsion and contempt, a lesser being, for whom death is a blessing because she's been abducted, raped ... etc. but then, I'm not from the kind of 'culture' that finds this sort of thing normal, because girls are chattel, and have no value except as virgins. no exceptions. zero tolerance. somehow, because this is happening to white girls who look like girls from Bristol rather than dark- or yellow-skinned girls from remote unenlightened corners of the globe where the word of god has yet to reach and civilise, it seems all the more shocking - which just shows how far I've come in the racial awareness module. but it makes me wonder - not for the first time, and certainly not for the last - is it possible that all this talk of goodness and mercy and justice and equality and love is all just so much bollocks - that, really, the human race is totally fucked, is, compared with, say, the axolotl, a worthless self-seeking self-destructive thing, a careless god-turd dumped by a careless god, for whom extinction can't come too soon?
does one mozart balance out the pimping of a thirteen-year-old girl from Albania?
was it for this the trees grew tall?

Friday, October 01, 2004


by one of those quantum twists of cyberspace, the rhinoblog has suffered collateral damage from a random act of vandalism on the server owned by a very nice and generous guy called Graham who's been letting me use it for the bigger files. the details are boring, but suffice to say that, whereas he's lost a shocking amount, I've only lost most of the supporting images and sound files posted here and in the music section over the last three or four months. I'll find a way around it eventually, but I doubt if I can be bothered repairing what's gone. it's gone. ta-ta, data.
did it define me?
does it define the cowardly sniggering bed-wetting leprous-dicked friendless crapulous obese louse-ridden sewer-breathed athlete's-footed acne-ridden lonely little heap of anonymous shit who did it?
look up 'karma,' big boy.
it begins with a 'k'.
that's the one before 'l'.
for 'loser.'

good question

"Father Amaro: Can a person vote for a man running for President, knowing he is for abortion? Will one have to answer to God for this? I know in my heart it's wrong. - Andrew"
Father Amaro answers (scroll most of the way down the page).
personally, I just want to shake these people, but, by the same token that I consider it a necessary penance to watch Top of the Pops now and again to check out the latest atrocities being foisted on the innocent masses by the high priests of popular culture, so I think it useful to check out the current vernacular of god's chosen representatives from time to time. for a priest, this one seems reasonable, plausible, and persuasive (and fairly diplomatic, actually - note that he doesn't actually answer the question). you either buy it or you don't I guess.