Thursday, 22 October 2009

Griffin gets his moment...but still looks like a bell

BNP leader Nick Griffin was among guests appearing on Question Time this evening.

It has been the most talked and written about TV event of the week already and it will be no surprise to find the panel show receiving a far higher audience share than usual.

Hundreds of anti-fascist campaigners protested outside Television Centre during the show's recording, while 25 protesters successfully broke police lines to enter the Wood Lane building.

The show has not yet been broadcast at the time of writing, but BBC News 24 has been trailing clips of the show. Griffin comes across as smugly repellent and laughably anachronistic as ever.

His racist views are loathsome and idiotic to anyone but committed monoculturalists, but who wants to be one of the those? OK, six per cent of people who voted during the European elections. More fool them.

But Nick (how convenient it is that your name rhymes with the slang term for a male member), you may be proud of the publicity this mainstream media appearance has won you and your party. You may win the odd seat with the support of bigots, but you will never gain power in London. After all, this city's residents number than 50 non-indigenous communities of more than 10,000 people and comprise a population which speaks 300 languages.

While I'm caning your forename out of spite, there is something interesting about your surname. A griffin is a fictional beast that guards treasure.

Maybe I'm clutching at straws but with your dedication to an imagined time of racial purity, you're a real Griffin that guards what you innacurately believe to be treasure - a nation of white people.

Confused, sad and woefully misguided. You make Boris Johnson look like a model politician.

On a lighter note. If I was in a band, we would use this as our intro music. Imagine walking on to this. Wicked.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Bloomsbury Bowled over

Bowling is a relatively marginalised recreational activity in the UK. One hesitates to call it a sport because it’s possible to get drunk while doing it.

Admittedly, if practised at a hopeless, novice amateur level it would just about be possible to get laggin’ while playing football, rugby, cricket, tennis, curling, jujitsu and many others. Competing in the 110-metre hurdles or hurling a javelin while supping from a toxic tin of Super T would surely take more impressive dexterity, but you get the gist.

In the US bowling tournaments are big events, where participating Septics can win enough to keep themselves in cheeseburgers and Oreos for at least half an hour.

Not all of our transatlantic cousins take the game of frantic frames and fancy jackets seriously. The Farrelly Brothers’ ‘Kingpin’ is perhaps the most underrated of the aforementioned sibling’s films but is a minor comedy classic and arguably responsible for the artistic rehabilitation of curmudgeonly comedy icon Bill Murray. Highly arguable, given that ‘Groundhog Day' came out the year before, but I digress.

‘Kingpin’, the occasional episode of The Simpsons and the odd scene in Peep Show notwithstanding, 'The Big Lebowski' provides the most hilarious and best fictional portrayal of bowling in the States.

This latter Coen Brothers’ cult fave screens on a loop above the pins at the end of five lanes at Bloomsbury Lanes.

A knowing and playful touch of irony which helps the WC1 joint stay a step ahead of competition such as the reliable Rowan’s Bowl in Finsbury Park and the down-at-heel Lewisham AFL in the league of London’s top alleys.

Bloomsbury has long been beloved of the now-not-quite-as-cool-as-they-used-to-be Shoreditch hordes because of its karaoke lounge (replete with thousands of retro and indie tunes) and occasional new band performances and this too is a boon.

It was somewhat unsettling to bowl two yards behind an avant-rock skinsman/guitarist cranked out Battles-esque experimental sounds at John Peel Day last night (Saturday 10 October).

The alley’s website lacks full information about our unknown man’s stage name, but this will be appearing here soon. I never met Peel but listened to his consistently interesting shows occasionally and got the impression he would have enjoyed and been invigorated by the music played in his name.

Many other patrons did and were, not least the staggering casualty who could barely speak coherently or walk two steps without spilling his recklessly-nursed bottles of Asahi

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Tube-ular Bells

It's not fair to generalise about the differences between north and south London but true Londoners will always specify a favourite side of the river.

Last night on the Northern Line (one of the few things Islington and Lambeth have in common) my own belief in southern superiority was reinforced by other passengers of the kind I've only ever seen or met in an N postcode.

A white, bald and drunk Scottish man with a tattoo on his ear embarked at Old Street, played a Rangers anthem out loud through his mobile phone and sung along with it in ragged fashion.

Playing music through a mobile on public transport is usually the preserve of boisterous bus-riding teens into urban music, but the Scotsman's differing genre interests and transport method made no difference. It was annoying to hear a Caledonian football song played through tinny speakers on the tube. But is it best to ignore a Saturday night pisshead's foible?

Rangers fan and his pal were about to leave the tube at Camden Town when I decided to speak up, although not in the manner of a Grumpy Old Men contributor.

"You've got better music than that in Glasgow, man."

"[Indecipherable Glasgae muttering] You must be one of them."

After a second to think about the religious and sexual connotations of being described as "one of them" by a Rangers fan, I replied: "One of them? What, person with musical taste?"
Soon another man stepped into the carriage with a tattooed face but at least he declined to inflict his dubious musical and sporting taste on the rest of the weary Underground users in the carriage.

With a face covered in ink which doesn't rub off, though, there is no need to make an audible statement. You've already shown the world exactly how you refuse to kowtow to accepted decorative body norms.

Or rather, illustrated that the only jobs you'll ever be fit for are boxer, tattoo artist or thrash metal band roadie.