Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Drone-tastic! Weatherall does Stuart Maconie's 'Freakier Zone' radio show.

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Always fond of a bit of feedback and drone rock, Andrew Weatherall joined Stuart Maconie last Sunday night for his 'Freakier Zone' show on Radio 6 to talk about everything from festivals and tracking down unkown film soundtracks. He also brought a bag of records with him.

Monday, 16 September 2013

'Come for the decay, stay for the depravity.'

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I've just seen 'Stings' new album advertised in the shops. I have to say, it’s looks like a bit of a departure from his old stuff. Some would say it’s almost a complete shift of character. I mean, check out the tracklisting. The LP is called 'Digging up the cock burrow'. A lot different to his older rustic/romantic/toss direction.

1. Your dog’s a wanker and your cat’s a prick.
2. More public toilet roulette.
3. Ballroom Boom Ball Shitting.
4. The vest of sexual politics.
5. Your tits are screaming, your face is a cuntflap.
6. When you're eating shit.
7. Kick off at the sperm bank.
8. Naked-ish and embarrassed.
9. Pull the other lung.
10. Punching Jesus in the balls and cock.
11. Here's the noose.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Breaking rocks in the hot sun: A Guide.

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(Following are excerpts from the soon to be published memoirs of Chester Drawers, who is currently serving the first of four consecutive ninety-nine-year sentences for various crimes. Mr. Drawers plans on working with children when he gets out.)

YES I STOLE. Why not? Where I grew up, you had to steal to eat. Then you had to steal again to tip the waiters. Lots of people stole fifteen per cent, but I always stole twenty, which made me a big favourite among the help. On the way home from a heist, I'd rob some pyjamas to sleep in. Or if it was a hot night, I'd just rob some boxers. It was a way of life. I had a bad upbringing, you might say. My Dad was always on the run from the law and I never saw him out of disguise till I was twenty-two. For years, I thought he was a short, bearded man with dark glasses and a limp; actually, he was tall and dark and resembled Robert Mitchum.
He was a professional bank robber, but sixty-five was the mandatory retirement age, so he had to get out. Spent his last few pre-internet years in postal fraud, but price of stamps went up and he lost everything. Mum was wanted, too. Of course in those days it wasn't the way it is now, with Women demanding equal rights, and all. Back then, if a Woman turned to crime the only opportunities open to her were blackmail and, once in a while, arson. During to 1970's Women were used to drive getaway cars, but only during the drivers' strike. Terrible strike. It lasted eight weeks, and whenever a gang pulled a job and ran out with the money they were forced to walk or take a taxi.
I had two sisters and two brothers. Jenny married money. Not an actual human being - it was a pile of singles. My brother John got in with a gang of plagiarists. He was in the middle of signing his name to 'Times Arrow' when the bizzies surrounded the house. He got ten years.
Some rich kid from a high rolling family who signed Bulgakov's 'Master And Margerita' got off with probation. That's the law for you.
David - my youngest brother - he's been a murderer, a fence, and a loan shark. Never could find himself. Eventually he was arrested for loitering. He loitered round the Haymarket toilets for nine years, till he realised it was not the kind of crime that brought in any money. The first thing I ever stole was a loaf of bread. I was working for Sunblessed Bakery, where my job was to remove the jelly from doughnuts that had gone stale and transfer it to fresh goods. It was very exacting work, done with a rubber tube and a scalpel. If your hands shook, the jelly went on the floor and old man Sunblessed would pull your hair.
Pepe Hamstien, who we all looked up to, came in one day and said he wanted to get his hands on a loaf of bread but he absolutely refused to pay for it. He hinted that this was a chance for some smart kids to get into the rackets. I took that as a cue, and each day when I left I put one slice of brown under my coat, until after three weeks I had accumulated a whole loaf. On the way to Hamstien's office, I began to feel remorse, because even though I hated Mr Sunblessed, his wife had once let me take home two wholemeal rolls when my uncle was dying. So it was that I tried to return the bread, but I got caught while I was trying to figure out which loaf each slice belonged to. The next thing I knew, I was in Berwick borstal. Berwick was a tough joint. I escaped five times. Once I tried to sneak out in the back of the laundry van. The guards got suspicious, and one of them poked me with his stick and asked me what the hell I was doing lying around in amongst a bag of soiled vests. I looked him right in the eye and said, "I'm some shirts." I could tell he was dubious. He kept pacing back and forth and staring at me. I guess I got a little panicky. "I'm some shirts," I told him. "Some denim work shirts - blue ones." Before I could say another word, my arms and legs were cuffed and I was back in stir.
I learned nearly everything I knew about crime in Berwick: how to pick pockets, how to crack a safe, how to blow glass - all the fine points of the trade. For instance, I learned (and not even all professional criminals know this) that in the event of a shootout with the cops, the cops are always allowed the first two shots. (It's just the way it's always been done.) Then you return fire. And if a copper says, "We have the house surrounded, come out with your hands up," you don't just shoot wildly. You say, "I'd prefer not to," or "I'd rather not at this particular time." There's a right way to do these things, but today... Well, why go into all that?
For the next few years of my life I was the best damn burglar you ever saw. People talk about Raffles, but Raffles had his style and I had mine. I had lunch with Raffles' son once. Nice bloke. We ate at the Bimby's. He stole the pepper grinder. I stole the silverware and paper napkins. Then he took the vinegar bottle. I took his hat. He got my umbrella and tiepin. When we left we kidnapped the cleaner. It was quite the haul.
Ronnie Biggs, Butch and Sundance, Raffles the gentleman thief, those lot made all the headlines, but I pulled off some capers that the police never did figure out. Once, I robbed a mansion, blew the safe, and removed six grand while a couple slept in the same room. The husband woke up when the C4 went off, but when I assured him that the entire proceeds would go to the Boys' Clubs Of Cramlington and he went back to sleep. Cleverly, I left behind some fingerprints of Tony Blair who was prime minister then. Another time, at a big cocktail party, I stole a woman's diamond necklace while we were shaking hands. Used a vacuum cleaner on her - an old Henry The Hoover. Got her necklace and earrings. Later, when I opened the bag I found some false teeth there, which belonged to her too.
My most beautiful job, though, was when I broke into the British Museum. I knew that the entire floor of the Rare Gems Room was wired and the slightest pressure on it would set off an alarm. I was lowered in upside down by a rope from the skylight, so I wouldn't touch the ground. I came through neat as you please, and in a minute I was hovering over the an elaborate spread of beautiful, faultless diamonds in their display case. As I pulled out my glass cutter a little sparrow flew in through the skylight and landed on the floor. The alarm sounded and eight police cars arrived. I got seven to ten. The sparrow got twenty to life. The bird was out in six months, on probation. A year later, he was picked up in Brighton for pecking the local vicar into a state of semiconsciousness.
What advice would I give the average homeowner to protect himself against burglars? Well, the first thing is to keep a light on in the house when you go out. It must be at least a sixty-watt bulb; anything less and the burglar most likely will ransack the house out of contempt for the wattage! Another good idea is to buy a trained guard dog but even this isn't foolproof. Whenever I was about to rob a house with a dog in it, I threw in some dog food mixed with temazepam. If that didn't work, I'd grind up equal parts of chopped meat and a Coldplay record.
If it happens that you are going on your holidays and must leave your house unguarded, it's a good idea to put a cardboard cut out of yourself in the window. Any silhouette will do to be fair. I heard a Scottish man from Manchester once put a cardboard cut out of Robbie Fowler in his window and then went to Butlins for the weekend. Later, Robbie Fowler himself happened to walk by and saw the cut out, which caused him great anxiety. He attempted to strike up a conversation, and when it failed to answer for seven hours Fowler returned to Liverpool and told his friends that Mancunians were all very snobbish.
If you surprise an intruder in the act of burglarising your home, do not panic. Remember, he is as frightened as you are. One good method is to rob him. Seize the initiative and relieve the burglar of his watch and wallet. Then he can get into your bed while you make your getaway. Trapped by this defence, I once wound up living in a very comfortable semi-detached house in Jesmond Dene for six years with another man's wife and two children, and only left when I was fortunate enough to surprise another burglar, who took my place. The six years I lived with that family were very happy ones, and I often look back on them with affection, although there is also much to be said for working in the kitchens in Durham jail.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Human evolution: Buffering....

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I've been sat on an extremely comfortable train for the last couple of hours in the company of some lovely people who are travelling my way and have insisted on being quiet, pleasant and very un-northern. It's moments like this that make me realise that more than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads.

One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. I speak, by the way, not with any sense of futility, but with a panicky conviction of the absolute meaninglessness of existence which could easily be misinterpreted as pessimism. It is not.
It is merely a healthy concern for the predicament of modern man. (Modern man is here defined as any person born after Nietzsche's edict that "God is dead," but before Bucks Fizz released 'Making Your Mind Up.'
This 'predicament' can be stated one of two ways, though certain linguistic philosophers prefer to reduce it to a mathematical equation where it can be easily solved and even carried around in a small carrier bag. Put in its simplest form, the problem is: How is it possible to find meaning in a finite world given my shoe and shirt size? This is a very difficult question when we realize that science has failed us.
True, it has conquered many diseases, broken the genetic code, and even placed humans on the moon, and yet when a man of seventy is left in a room with two nineteen-year-old au-pairs nothing happens. Because the real problems never change. After all, can the human soul be glimpsed through a microscope? Maybe - but you'd definitely need one of those very good ones with two eyepieces and everything.
We know that the most advanced computer in the world does not have a brain as sophisticated as that of a particularly daft fish. True, we could say that of many of our friends and relatives but we only have to put up with them at weddings or on special occasions. Science is something we depend on all the time. If I develop a pain in the chest I can get an X-ray. But what if the radiation from the X-ray causes me even more problems? Before I know it, I'm going in for surgery. Naturally, while they're giving me oxygen a trainee decides to spark up a snout and the next thing you know I'm rocketing over St James Park in my PJ's. Is this science?
Science has taught us how to pasteurise cheese. And this can be fun in mixed company - but what of the atomic bomb? Have you ever seen what happens when one of those things rolls out of the boot of your car accidentally? And where is science when we ponder the eternal riddles? How did the cosmos originate? How long has it been around? Did matter begin with an explosion or by the word of God? And if by the latter, could He not have begun it just two weeks earlier to take advantage of some of the warmer weather? Exactly what do we mean when we say, man is mortal? Obviously it's not a compliment! Religion too has unfortunately let us down. I often think how comforting life must have been for early man because he believed in a powerful, benevolent Creator who looked after all things. Imagine his disappointment when he saw his wife putting on weight for the first time?
Contemporary man, of course, has no such peace of mind. He finds himself in the midst of a crisis of faith. He is what we fashionably call 'alienated.' He has seen the ravages of war, he has known natural catastrophes, he has been to singles bars. My good friend Dave 'Fluffy Slippers' Perry in the past has often spoken to me of the randomness of the cosmos. He believed everything in existence occurred by pure chance with the possible exception of his breakfast, which he felt certain was made by his cleaning lady. Naturally belief in a divine intelligence inspires tranquility. But this does not free us from our human responsibilities. Am I my brother's keeper? Yes. Interestingly, in my case I share that honor with the Byker Petting Zoo.
Feeling godless, what we have done is made new technology our God. And yet can technology really be the answer when a Q reg XR2 wound through the window of my local Greggs The Bakers causing hundreds of customers to scatter? My toaster has never worked properly in four years. I follow the instructions and push two slices of bread down in the slots and seconds later they fly upward. Once they broke the nose of a woman I quite liked too. Are we counting on nuts and bolts and electricity to solve our problems? Yes, the telephone is a good thing - and the refrigerator - and the microwave oven. But not every microwave oven. Not my sister's, for instance. Hers makes a loud noise and still will not warm even soup. When the repair man comes over to fix it, it gets worse. Either that or he tells her she needs a new one. When she complains, he says not to bother him. This man is truly alienated. Not only is he alienated but he can't stop smiling. The trouble is, our leaders have not adequately prepared us for a mechanised society. Unfortunately our politicians are either incompetent or corrupt. Sometimes both, and on the same day. The Government is unresponsive to the needs of the little man. If you're under five foot  four it is impossible to get your local MP on the phone!
I am not denying that democracy is still the finest form of government. In a democracy at least, civil liberties are upheld. No citizen can be wantonly tortured, imprisoned, or made to sit through certain daytime TV drama programmes. And yet this is a far cry from what goes on in Eastern Europe. Under their form of totalitarianism, a person merely caught whistling can be sentenced to thirty years in a forced labour camp. If, after fifteen years, he still will not stop whistling, they shoot him. Along with this brutal fascism we find its handmaiden, terrorism! At no other tune in history has man been so afraid to cut into his bacon sarnie for fear that it will explode.
Violence breeds more violence and it is predicted that by 2017 kidnapping will be the dominant mode of social interaction. Overpopulation will exacerbate problems to the breaking point. Figures tell us there are already more people on earth than we need to move even the heaviest settee. If we do not call a halt to breeding, by the year 2034 there will be no room to serve dinner unless someone is willing to set the table in a really tight manner where people will bump elbows with strangers while eating. Of course energy will be in short supply and each car owner will be allowed only enough petrol to reverse a few inches.
But instead of facing these challenges we turn instead to distractions like drugs and sex. We live in far too permissive a society. Never before has pornography been this rampant. We are a people who lack defined goals. We have never learned to love. We lack leaders and coherent programs. We have no spiritual center. We are adrift alone in the cosmos wreaking monstrous violence on one another out of frustration and pain. Fortunately, we have not lost our sense of proportion. Summing up, it is clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by eight o'clock!!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

"Dear Asda,,,,,"

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Dear Asda,
Fish and chips! Steak and kidney! Tripe and onions! What the hell is wrong with these food stuffs that they feel the need to hang around in gangs of twos or threes to prove themselves? They're like latch key kids whose Mums won't let them back in the council flat till 9:00 PM because they themselves are too busy entertaining wealthy 'businessmen' to top up their insultingly meager supplementary allowance? It's not big and it's not clever, but who can blame them! Discarded by a social system that condemns them to a life of impoverished desperation, an education system that has failed them and a society that just couldn't care less. No wonder they end up on drugs or dabbling with street crime and eventually in prison! Well, better that than merely lying down and taking it up the proverbial arse from a greedy hypocritical middle class whose grandfathers got rich from sending the children of their employees up the chimneys of the very factories used to manufacture the guns and bullets which were later used against them in two (lets face it) financially motivated world wars. It makes me sick. So does liver and bacon come to think of it. We are all of us in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars. Commrades, rise up and break the shackles of international capital. Seize the reins of power. Call me a dreamer if you must, but whats wrong with that? Think of Leonardo Da Vinci and his inventions, Einstein and his theories, Captain Birdseye with his advanced food refrigeration techniques. Were they not dreamers too? Dreamers who dared to wake up and dream!
I eagerly await your thoughts on the matter.
Mark-Henry C Algar.

Monday, 2 September 2013

No UFO's: Part 2.

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As a general rule, careful on-the-scene investigations disclose that most "unidentified" flying objects are quite ordinary phenomena, such as weather balloons, meteorites, satellites, and even once a man named Lewis Mandel-Baumstall, who blew off the roof of the The Strawberry pub in the early 90's after a particularly heavy defeat for his beloved Newcastle United by Notts Forrest in the 3rd round of the FA cup. A typical 'explained' incident is the one reported by retired RAF pilot Sir Chester Drores, on May the 4th, 1961, in Shropshire:
"I was driving along the road at 2 A.M. and saw a cigar-shaped object that seemed to be tracking my car. No matter which way I drove, it stayed with me, turning sharply at right angles. It was a fierce, glowing red, and in spite of twisting and turning the car at high speed I could not lose it. I became alarmed and began sweating. I let out a shriek of terror and apparently fainted, but awoke in a hospital, miraculously unharmed." Upon investigation, experts determined that the 'cigar-shaped object' was Sir Drores' nose. Naturally, all his evasive actions could not lose it, since it was attached to his face.

Another explained incident began in late April of 1972, with a report from Major General Percy Trembling, of RAF Boulmer:
"I was walking across a field one night and suddenly I saw a large silver disc in the sky. It flew over me, not fifty feet above my head, and repeatedly described aerodynamic patterns impossible for any normal aircraft. Suddenly it accelerated and shot away at terrific speed."
Investigators became suspicious when they noticed that General Memling could not describe this incident without giggling. He later admitted he had just come from a showing of the film 'War of the Worlds, at the cinema and "got a very big kick out of it." Ironically, General Memling reported another UFO sighting in 1978, but it was soon discovered that he, too, had become fixated on Sir Chester Drores nose sighting - occurrence that caused consternation in the RAF and eventually led to General Trembling's court-martial.

If most UFO sightings can be satisfactorily explained, what of those few which cannot? Following are some of the most mystifying examples of 'unsolved' encounters, the first reported by a Yorkshireman in May of 2007:
"I was walking by the beach with my wife. She's not a very attractive woman. Rather overweight. In fact, I was pulling her on a bogie at the time. Suddenly I looked up and saw a huge white saucer that seemed to be descending at great speed. I must have panicked, because I dropped the rope on my wife's cart and began running. The saucer passed directly over my head and I heard an eerie, metallic voice say, 'Call your answering machine.' When I got home, I phoned my answering machine as the voice had instructed and received a message that my brother Derek had moved and to forward all his mail to Neptune. I never saw him again. My wife suffered a severe breakdown over the incident and now cannot converse without using a hand puppet."

From D.B. Rimshuckle, Corbridge, February, 1998:
"I am an experienced pilot and was flying my private Cessna from Ryton to Prudhoe, to bomb some people whose religious persuasion I do not wholly agree with, when I noticed an object flying alongside me. At first I thought it was another plane, until it emitted a green beam of light, forcing my plane to drop eleven thousand feet in four seconds and causing my wig to fly off my head and tear a two-foot hole in the roof. I repeatedly called for help on my radio, but for some reason could only get Alan Robson's 'Night Owls' program. The UFO came very close to my plane again and then shot away at blinding speed. By this time I had lost my bearings and was forced to make an emergency landing on the sea front at South Shields. I continued the trip in the plane on the ground and only got into trouble when realising I didn't have the correct change I tried to run the toll booth at the Tyne Tunnel and broke both of my wings off."

Finally, one of the eeriest accounts occurred in August, 2010 to a man walking along Church Point, in Newbiggin-By-The-Sea:
"I was in bed at my beach front caravan, but could not sleep because of some fried chicken in the fridge purchased earlier that very evening that I felt entitled to. I waited till my wife dropped off, and tiptoed into the kitchen area. I remember looking at the clock. It was precisely a quater to four. I'm quite certain of this, because our microwave clock has not worked in twenty-one years and is always at that time. I also noticed that our dog, Judas, was acting funny. He was standing up on his hind legs and singing, 'Spanish Eyes.' Suddenly the room turned bright orange. At first, I thought my wife had caught me eating between meals and set fire to the gaff. Then I looked out the window, where to my amazement I saw a gigantic cigar-shaped aircraft hovering just over the treetops emitting an orange glow. I stood transfixed for what must have been several hours, though our clock still read three fourty-five, so it was difficult to tell. Finally, a large, mechanical claw extended from the aircraft and snatched the two pieces of chicken from my hand and quickly retreated. The machine then rose and, accelerating at great speed, vanished into the sky. When I reported the incident to Police force, they told me that what I had seen was a flock of birds. When I protested, the chief of Police personally promised that the Police Force would return the two pieces of chicken.
To this day, I have only received one piece."