Thursday, July 29, 2004

Mother shakes her head and reads aloud from the newspaper.

As previously explained all my VSO/Vietnam news is now over at my other blog.

Anyway, the only reason that I am once more pointing this out, is that today I had some rather good news.

Good, despite being made to look like a yuppy prat. All in all though it now feels like Hanoi is suddenly a lot closer.

Check it out.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Paul Foot

I closed my eyes and when I looked. Your name was in the memorial book.

I've never been a great believer in religion. I'm too cynical for it.

I can't bring myself to believe in an after life. I find it hard to grasp anything that can't be proven one way or another, and the apparent hypocrisy of most religions don't make them the most appealing organisations.

However, despite all of that I have wavered at times. When a young cousin of mine died in tragic circumstances I asked myself again - could all that life and energy just disappear altogether?

But in my heart of hearts I know that, whether I am right or wrong, I do not believe. I don't have it in me to believe.

They say you shouldn't talk about politics or religion in polite company. Well I've never been much good at small talk. So it's an in-depth discussion/argument with me or I probably won't say anything at all.

The topic of an afterlife has come up in red wine-fuelled 1am conversations before. Who believes? Who doesn't?

My best interpretation of the afterlife goes something like this...

We have a short time on this earth. In that time we have a duty to live our lives as fully as possible. We don't owe anybody anything in terms of what we do with our life - except for a duty that, whatever we do, it doesn't impact negatively on anybody else.

As for the after life. I believe that the "eternal life" that is spoken of is not literal. Instead it's just about how your life touched on other people's. Have your achievements left a mark? Will who you were, and what you achieved, live on either in the minds or lives of other people?

I don't think you have to change the world or find a cure for cancer. Simply living a life that improves the lives around you is enough. If through your work, friendship or support you better other people's lives, then you can deem your life a success.

I was prompted to get all deep and meaningful for a second after reading this today about the funeral of crusading journalist Paul Foot. While there are plenty of big name celebs whose funeral would cause a stir, Paul Foot, although well respected in his profession, was never a household name.

And yet thousands turned out for his funeral.

According to the news reports there were banners representing anti-racism groups , anti-war groups and trade unions. There were victims too of miscarriages of justice for whom Paul had tirelessly and successfully campaigned to be free.

Whatever their claims to want to "make a difference" there are few politicians who will ever get a send off like Paul Foot. There are even fewer journalists.

As I have said before, during all this talk of freedom and democracy that we now use to justify wars, a democracy is only as good as a country's media. If the people don't get the right information to make their decisions then the democracy is essentially worthless. If the media and the journalists are controlled by the state, or too scared or unambitious not to step out of line, then their words are worthless.

Paul Foot gave people the truth. The real truth - not the truth of a millionaire media barron or whichever Government was in power.

That was why his life touched so many people. That is why he will never be forgotten. In that respect at least - his life is eternal.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

It's a mighty long way down rock and roll from top of the pops to drawing the dole.

Keane - a big fop and his mates.

I was starting to think that it was just me. While everybody else was heralding all these "next big things" from Keane to Snow Patrol, I just wasn't getting it.

I mean, it's not that I thought they were particularly bad. They each had a couple of good tunes but were short on ideas and, just as importantly, charisma.

People raved about The Libertines. I hated them. I can't stand all that Mockney bollocks. Franz Ferdinand, though better than most, sounded like Talking Heads on an off day.

I was worried that I wasn't taking enough time to "get" them. Working from home has meant no commute. And no commute has stripped me of my traditional music listening time. Perhaps I was getting too old. Perhaps I should settle down with my Smiths, Stone Roses and Billy Bragg CDs and leave the young people to their next big things.

And then come a couple of bands that suggest everything is going to alright after all.

First off is Razorlight. A band made up of half cockneys and half Swedes doesn't bode well. I was expecting something that sounded like The Jam meets Roxette. But they're fantastic. So what do they sound like? Well they sound like lots of other people but no one in particular. There's bits of Pulp in there, a bit of Strokes too and they even remind me a little bit of the Boomtown Rats. The new CD has been on in the car for weeks now. I totally recommend it.

Then there's The Open. I must admit I've heard only a couple of their tracks but I'm planning a trip to HMV tomorrow to buy the CD. The songs I have heard are good. Very good. A nice mix of the loud and the soft. Epic without ever getting into Simple Minds territory.

Oh and any band that names Echo and the Bunnymen and the brilliant Talk Talk amongst their influences are okay with me.

More experienced music critics than me have also praised the production. For a while, apparently everyone wanted to be Jack White and sound like they recorded in a wardrobe. The Open are using all the buttons on the mixing desk. Again they are getting lots of good reviews.

So, they are my tips for the day. Buy 'em or burn 'em.

Oh and by the way, has there ever been a more slapable lead singer than the bloke from Keane? What a fop. An image that's not helped by a style of dress that makes him look like a World War I squadron leader.

Finally, I shall be in prime position to slag the cream of British music on Friday evening. With Top of the Pops coming to town I intend to take up a position outside the nearest quayside bar. From there I shall tut and tsk and make sarky comments to my heart's content.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Those braying voices on the right of the House Are echoed down the Street of Shame. Where politics mix with bingo and tits. In a strictly money and numbers game.

Despite being a football fan, I have to say I don't give a toss about the national team.

My interest in England ended with Alan Shearer's retirement. By the end of his reign in the England number nine shirt I got to the point where I was happier to see him score and England lose than the other way around.

It's easy to look back on Shearer's time in an England shirt as glory all the way. But in the run up to Euro 2000 the press had their knives out. Anyone who was watching Al alot around that time knew he was effectively playing on only one leg. A short while later he was sent to US "surgeon to the stars" Dickie Steadman and we got back the Shearer we know and love.

But around that time Shearer was playing on pure instinct. And such are Shearer's instincts, he was still the best man for the job. As always he proved his point with the winning goal against Germany, and point made, he retired from international football.

Having slagged him on a regular basis, despite Shearer going through agonies for his country, the press weren't expecting the retirement. From demanding he be dropped, they then switched to calling him a traitor to his country. As ever, Al did what he did best and ignored them and kept on knocking in goals.

After that I had no time for England. It slowly dawned on me that this was a team run by the press. For my money they essentially pick the players, and if they don't like the manager then they'll make sure he's out.

I say all of this because as I was driving this lunchtime some guttersnipe Sun journalist was on the radio demanding Sven's resignation. His crime? He had an affair.

Let's put this into perspective. Unmarried football manager Sven Goran Eriksson, had an affair with an FA personal assistant. Apparently the FA cheif executive did the same.

But The Sun, coming across all holier than thou for a change, thinks it's a disgrace. And even more disgraceful that an FA spokesperon at first denied the story.

The Guttersnipe sounded like he was frothing at the mouth on the radio.

"He lied to all England fans, he deserves to go," he dribbled.

No he didn't. A spokesperson lied to The Sun.

"He's put the FA in an embarrasing position," he added. And you could almost hear him put his pet lip out.

No he didn't. Your story has. Who cares who he sleeps with.

"Well, we put up a phone line and asked our readers to decided and 75% think he should go".

Trust me if you A) read The Sun and B) Are willing to pay 10p to ring a phone poll, then your opinions really aren't worth listening to.

In Sven's defence you could even argue that a gentleman would never admit to sleeping with a woman. Especially if it was likely to be plastered all over the newspapers.

If The Sun really want to run this crap then I'm not that bothered. Likewise if Sven wants to shag his way around the UK, then good luck to him.

But what really annoys me is that The Sun has to justify the inclusion of the story in their sorry rag by going on to demand his dismissal.

During my days on newspapers, albeit at a local level, I witnessed alcoholism, affairs and drug taking, to name but three of the deadly tabloid sins.

And yet these were just the kind of misdemeanours that appeared daily in our papers. What really got me the most was the attitude that journalists adopted. They always justified it. He has a duty as a role model to kids - they would say of a footballer.

The public has a right to know - they would say, when dishing the dirt on a popstar's drug habit.

All the time they never seemed to connect it with their own leisure activities.

Of course, I shouldn't let The Sun wind me up. It's a squalid little rag run by a very nasty individual. But the truth is it wields tremendous power. The power to make asylum seekers the victims of race hate crimes, the power to see Blair through an illegal war and yes, as it has boasted before, it has the power to win elections. Murdoch truly is the kingmaker of British politics.

The good news it that they are growing wise to Murdoch in the US. This country needs to wake up to him too.

In the meantime, I don't give a toss whether Sven stays or goes. But I hope if he does go, then he goes in his own time and not because of the demands on The Sun.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Friday, July 23, 2004

You can fight for democracy at home but not in a foreign land.

Looks like it was a good decision to start my new non-political, fluffy blog.

I chanced across this today:
Vietnam steps up control of internet

Vietnam has stepped up efforts to control the internet, instructing internet service providers to terminate contracts with cyber-cafes that allow customers to access pornographic or anti-government websites.

More here.

Not my argument. No comment from me. But help yourself to the box below if you would like to contribute.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I love you. I am the milkman of human kindness. I will leave an extra pint.

Okay, sorry for the lack of writing recently. Partly it's because everything is going mad. Partly it's because I have been working on the new blog.

Ladies and gentlemen.....

Our Man in Hanoi

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

We've been up all night. Moving the goalposts.

I've been thinking for a while about my blogging plans once I am in Hanoi.

While I intend to keep writing, I have started to think that perhaps it's not the best of ideas to carry on Space Hardware in isolation. You see the problem is that firstly VSO is apolotical, secondly I must remember that I'm in an essentially (albeit slightly removed) communist country where you can still be locked up for speaking out of turn.

Finally, I want to be able to use the blog as a means of keeping people back home in touch with what I'm up to. As it stands, there are some clients, friends and familiy who I wouldn't want to go back through my archive.

So starting a new blog would seem to be the most sensible idea. I might even post pictures of me on it. There goes the anonymity of BykerSink.

On the downside, this blog has been linked over 70 times and has been mentioned in the press on three occasions. To borrow a phrase from my days working with brand consultants: There is a great deal of equity in it.

So, the more I think about it, the plan is to write two blogs. The 'nam blog will record my observations on my new job, home and way of living. Space Hardware, can remain as its usual hotpotch of the personal, the political and a little bit of footie thrown in. I will link to the new blog from the old, but not back again.

I've been knocking around some names for the blog as well as a new strapline. In order to keep the Billy Bragg theme I quite like the strapline of "I don't want to change the world, I'm not looking for a new England". Namewise, nothing Braggesque springs to mind, but ideas so far range from the (does what it says on the tin) "The Nam Blog" to the more gimmicky "Hanoi Rocks" or "The Hanoi-ing Blog".

Any thoughts are welcome. But watch out for details of the new blog which I will post soon.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Monday, July 19, 2004

All the lies they told us in the classroom. Wouldn’t fit in the outside world.

Apologies for not blogging in a while. Things have been a little manic here.

My news? Well I have a provisional date set for my flight to Hanoi.

September 3rd apparently.

It's going to be interesting timing. It'll be touch and go whether or not I get the chance to see my first niece/nephew whose arrival is due around that time. As yet, both parents aren't happy with my suggestion of Shola as a name. Strange that.

Shola Ameobi - named after my yet-to-be-born niece/nephew

Oh and I also get to see two last Toon games against Spurs and Norwich, before I hand over my season ticket to my mate for two years.

The big big big problem. Selling my house. Anyone want to buy a three-bedroom town house overlooking a marina? Special blogger rates apply and you can have the furniture for nowt.

I'm joking of course, unless, of course anyone actually would like it.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I don't want to change the world. I'm not looking for a new England.

I'm going to try and keep this muted because what I really wanted to say today is in the post below.

To misquote Bogart, my problems don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

But, my biggest headache looks to be over.

For as of two minutes ago, I have just been named as the new fundraiser/PR person for Koto, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

And I am delighted.

I shall be leaving at the end of August.

VSO - sorry I ever doubted you.

Nam here I come.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.
The butcher bird sings. An eye for an eye. And echoes the words the wolf howls to the sky. When they call on their god to justify their attacks. The butcher bird smiles. The wolf covers its tracks.

So the Butler report has cleared the Government of lying.

Three quotes for you:

"He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."
Colin Powell, February 24, 2001.

"..let's remember that his (Saddam Hussein's) country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."
Condoleezza Rice, July 29, 2001,

"Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term - namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target."
Robin Cook in his resignation speech BEFORE Iraq was invaded. March 17th 2003.

Forget the whitewashes. Forget the fact that the establishment has closed ranks and blamed everything on a cock up rather than blatant lies.

And remember those three quotes. Because, whatever else you hear, these three quotes prove that the noises made about WMD as a justification for war, were lies. That is all they were.

Do not accept it.

The fight against the regimes of Bush and Blair continues.

Once again I am sickened by this back-watching gentleman's club.

How do they sleep at night?

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I can take the killing, I can take the slaughter. But I don't talk to Sun reporters.

Okay, here's a quiz. Which of all the news networks in five different countries (including the UK and USA), gave the least amount of time to opponents of the war?





Sky News?


Give up?

You'll find the answer here in a fascinating and superb article from today's Guardian.

Just remember this. We're constantly told about the importance of democracy. As no WMDs have been unearthed, the argument for the war in Iraq has shifted towards humanitary reasons and all that Dubya blurb about freedom.

Well, a democracy only works if the population has the information needed to make their own decisions about who to vote for and when to give their government a hard time. If we don't have that information then there is no democracy. Instead the disinformation we are fed leads only to voters repeating their mistakes time and time again.

Just a thought - if the Butler report does paint the Government as whiter than white once more, will we read about it first in The Sun?

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.
He’ll panic you into attack. He’ll tape your calls and play them back. And the next thing you’ll be knowing. Your desperation will be showing. And he’ll go down and he’ll drag you on the ground.

Remember the run up to war?

The people were marching.

Minsters were resigning.

Blair was getting a kicking by Mr and Mrs Cannybody at the Baltic.

But then we were told that terrorists were everywhere and we even saw tanks on our streets.

On Wednesday we get the Butler Report and while I'm now cynical enough to believe that the blame will land elswhere than at Blair's feet, there's still a chance he could get his nose bloodied.

Just in time, we have more shock, horror, terrorist dastardly plans.

Just a thought - but if you've worked out that Big Ben could fall and cause major damage to the Commons, perhaps you would be better off keeping it to yourself, rather than giving nasty Al Qaeda types any ideas.

Unless of course, the reasons we are being told this have nothing at all to do with security and everything to do with continuing to scare the pants off the general public.

Like I said, I'm cynical.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Monday, July 12, 2004

To be an Anglo hyphen Saxon in England-dot-Co-dot-UK.

Hang the DJ

How's this for a shuddersome moment?

The DJ at the rather cheesy Ziggys nightclub in York asking the crowd to: "Make some noise if you're proud to be British".

Even at one in the morning it provoked little more than exchanged glances and incredulous faces.

Icky. Very icky.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.
The evil people who flew those planes into the twin towers did so for one reason. They wanted to start a war between Muslims and the West. And like fools they fell for it.

Normally I start with a Billy Bragg lyric. Tonight I have kicked off with a quote from one of his between-songs preambles.

This evening I was lucky enough to attend what the organisers called "An evening of music, comedy and drama to mark the 20th anniversary of the miner's strike." It was held in Durham at the end of the weekend that saw the celebration of the 2004 Miners Gala.

I missed the Gala. It's one of those events that year-by-year I intend to attend but never quite manage it. This year I was at a stag do in York. We were just setting off on the drive home when a friend rang us up to offer the tickets.

BB topped the bill and due to amp problems he played a very rare, almost unheard of, acoustic set, it was an honour to be there. Having seen him on half a dozen previous occasions, I have to say this will probably stay in my memory the longest. It was just a little bit special.

Anyway, I thought the aforementioned Iraq quote was the neatest summing up of just how ludicrous this war is.

Being part of the 20th anniversary of the miners strike was a little odd. I have nothing but admiration for the miners who stuck out the strike so long and their sense of pride and community. On more than one occasion I heard 1984 described as someone's best and worst year ever. You can certainly understand these sentiments.

But I also feel a little out of place at such gatherings. I was 13 in 1984 and probably too young to do "my bit" in any way. But, it was really many years later before I realised the significance of the strike.

It's fair to say that not just Britain, but even the world, would be a different place if the miners had won. Sometimes it seems that the entire globe followed Thatcher's political agenda. If she had been defeated, then who knows how different society would be now.

What really makes me feel awkward about such "celebrations" is that although I wish that the miners had been successful, I am also acutely aware that I would never want a child of mine to work in a pit. Maybe we should be mourning lost communities more than lost jobs. Either way the fight that Thatcher picked meant major hardships for the large part of the UK. While the North East's major towns and cities are changing for the better, there are communities that have virtually stood still since the pits were closed.

My knowledge of the strike is almost entirely gained from reading about it as a watershed in British history. Certainly while working my way through Tony Benn's diaries I was very moved by his account of joining the miners for their march back to work. To be a part of the strike really must have been as glorious, and as sad, as miner's say.

Finally, I'll finish with another Billy Bragg one liner that he came out with tonight.

"I'm not for New Labour, I'm not for Old Labour. I'm for organised labour."

Perhaps the only difference is that the workers now need worldwide links and awareness. The fight against globalisation, remains largely a fight for workers' rights.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Go find the young men never to fight again. Bring up the banners from the days gone by. Sweet moderation. Heart of this nation. Desert us not, we are between the wars.

Fahrenheit 9/11 proved to be a big surprise.

I expected the normal Michael Moore knock about stuff. The stunts to embarrass the stupid white men, the oh-so-sincere voice over and the lampooning of Bush.

What I didn't expect was the intelligence of his argument and how he managed to find a point to make that I hadn't heard before.

There were plenty of memorable moments in the film. There was the crying mother who had lost her son, there was the soldiers bombing Iraq while gleefully listening to hard rock and there was the depiction of Dubya as the absolute illiterate fool that he is.

But the one sequence that stuck most in my mind was the recruiting of US squaddies to the cause. The scene depicted two senior soldiers, in full dress uniform, prowling the malls and back streets of run down areas.

They were picking off the young black men one by one. See him, he looks a likely candidate. Hey son, over here. You want to join the military?

Each line that the young men came up with was met with another from the recruiters. Join the army, see the world. You want to play basketball? Army is the best place for that. You know xxxx (insert well known player here), he started in the military. You didn't know that did you? Hey, sign here.

It was like tales of medieval times with the King's shilling being swapped for a life in uniform.

Speaking to a group of black teenagers, Moore asked them to raise their hands if they had a family member in the armed forces. They nearly all did. The irony being as Bush further cuts budgets, the less chances these men have, and the more likely that signing up to the military is their only escape from poverty.

I found it difficult to be objective about how good the film was. Just how entertaining can war be? A couple of scenes could have been cut and it would have been slicker and more watchable. Then again every scene felt like vital information. Information that everyone should know about.

I didn't notice any glaring inaccuracies. But there was one ridiculous omission. When talking about the coalition of the willing, Moore ridicules the list of minnows who have supported the USA.

Strangely the UK never gets a single mention. Why? Okay it would ruin his argument that only minor countries were behind Bush, but then again it would have been a simple matter of saying: "While Britain was seemingly behind the war, a million people marching in London would suggest a different story."

The scenes in Iraq were pretty harrowing. Moore cut pictures of everyday family life before the war, with scenes of shock and awe. The unmentioned subtext was that the happy, smiling families, we had previously seen, were underneath those bombs somewhere.

But, as I said, it was Moore's wider point that really stuck with me.

To emphasise this Moore finishes the film on a note of brilliance with this Orwell quote:

"It does not matter if the war is not real. For when it is, victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won, but it is meant to be continuous.

"A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or east Asia but to keep the very structure of society intact"

In other words, the victims of this war and of the Bush regime are not just the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, they are also the poor who have been left with no other choice in life than to sign up to the military. They are also the people who are losing out on health, education and welfare in order to pay for the war effort. While Bush and his chums enjoy the fruits of war and make their millions, it's the poor, as always, that are the losers.

I have been feeling guilty recently that I have not blogged enough about the war. It is easy to become tired of the same arguments and the same images and to fall for Blair's current argument that: "You're against it, I'm for it - but let's put it all behind us because what is done is done."

If we put this behind us, then there will be another Iraq before we know it. There will be more innocent third world citizens killed in the name of the oil and weapons industries We cannot allow this to happen.

I didn't watch Moore's film with an open mind. I was against the war before seeing it and remain so now. Moore didn't really tell me anything I didn't know but he told the story and laid out his arguments in such a way that I, once again, feel that I must do everything in my power to demonstrate my anger at the Bush/Blair regimes and their evil wars.

Moore deserves great credit for this. If Fahrenheit 9/11 does not move you then you should ask yourself why? Has the spin and deceit already worn your down? Have you already handed over your free will and powers of individual thought to your Government?

Moore has made me angry again. I don't ever want to stop being angry. He has also reinforced my belief that there is only one war for the rest of us to fight. It is the war for human rights. Human rights for everyone. Rich, poor, Iraqi, American, British, black or white, we all deserve the same chance in life.

If we don't do our own bit to fight the fight, then the pool of stupid white men will grow richer by the day as the rest of us lose everything.

We need more Michael Moores.

We need more films like Fahrenheit 9/11.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Those whose lives are ruled by dogma are waiting for a sign. The "Better Dead Than Red" brigade are listening on the line. And the liberal, with a small L, cries in front of the TV. And another demonstration passes on to history.

Once, when I was on a protest march, a friend confided in me his fears that the left could never really win.

To illustrate this he pointed out a "comrade's" banner that was wilting because of a lack of sticky tape. For the want of that tape our message wasn't getting across.

My friend went on to say that the revolution would never happen. Simply because half the people wouldn't turn up on the right day, or there would be squabbles over who was in charge, or what should be in the sandwiches.

It was all a little negative but then again, there was a grain of truth in it.

I sometimes come to the conclusion that the left doesn't like winning. It prefers to be an oppressed minority that can sit in pubs and whinge about the status quo. When we come close to winning, or even close to having our arguments heard and accepted, we usually do what we can to sabotage ourselves.

Step forward Michael Moore. His film is playing to packed audiences in America. He's an international figurehead for the anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-big business movement and increasingly it's the left that is attacking him.

Check this out in the Guardian for example. Now why would a left-leaning newspaper want to have a go at Moore? Perhaps if he was French and his movies were subtitled that might help. Or if he was a South American revolutionary and Fahrenheit 9/11 was made with a handheld video camera, then the Guardian would praise his radical agenda.

But fat Micky in his baseball cap with his simplified messages - read, seen and heard by millions - simply doesn't cut it. Not nearly bohemian enough for the chattering classes.

Ooh and he's made money out of his films too. And Disney didn't really want to ban it - that was just a PR trick. And he has a big house and he's an egomanic you know.

Good, good, good and good again.

I'm glad he's making a wedge, he deserves it. I'm glad he's doing such a good job at promoting his film - and I hope he sits in his big house at the end of a hard day, and thinks what a wonderful bloke he is.

Don't forget too that Bush inadvertantly made Moore richer by giving him a tax cut. With wonderful irony, Moore is now using that tax cut to undermine Bush. Nice one.

He deserves it all. No one is having more success in fighting right wing USA. Bizarrely I get the impression that the massive anti-Moore campaign, started by the right, is now being adopted by the left. Suckers. You're doing what they want us to do, don't you see?

So a couple of inaccuracies have been spotted in his films and books. Fair enough, let us all know what they are and we'll make a mental note to bear that in mind when we see the movie. But if we're talking inaccuracies - how about telling one nation that it must invade another because it has WMDs. And while we're talking about big, black, stinking whoppers - how about claiming the war on terror has meant less terrorist activity than ever before. Except, as they were forced to admit, they were wrong and the terrorist threat is stronger and bigger than ever. Liar, liar pants on fire.

I've marched among millions, I've signed petitions by the score, I've written a handful of letters to my MP and I've blogged, blogged and blogged again. But my activities, and those of my fellow peace campaigners, are a piss in the ocean compared to what Mr Moore has achieved. This movie alone has had more coverage than one million people turning out in central London.

I'm not sure if I condone the media's news values on this one, but either way that is some achievement by MM.

The chattering classes don't like him though. His books and films are too low brow. They would prefer to wrestle with one of those Chomsky books with the nasty little type size. Michael Moore is the Burberry of political literature. Once lauded by the upper echelons it's now been hijacked by the masses. Darling, Michael Moore is soooo last year.

This is a battle that we might just win. Sure we didn't stop the war but Bush and Blair could still find themselves kicked out on their arses. I'm not sure this can be achieved without Moore's assistance. Imagine that, the left winning. Last time we thought we had won, it turned out the man we voted for was a Tory after all. He just happened to be the leader of the Labour party.

Anyway, I shall be going to see Fahrenheit 9/11 tomorrow. I shall be attending with five others. When I saw Bowling for Columbine I needed a couple of hours in the pub afterwards to talk it all through and work out its messages. Moore's films do that - they make you think, they make you question, they make you seek out more answers.

Finally, it seems that Bush is now joining the ranks of the bloggers.

Good to have you aboard Mr Moore. I shall be reading.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Learning how to use a teabag. How to dip a teabag
If you sneak over my way. I’m gonna string your little teabag too

How about this for a scene to warm the hearts of politicians in their war against drunkenness and alcohol fuelled violence.

I was recently at a cafe at one am. It served booze but a quick look around the tables revealed that most people were sipping cokes or drinking lattes.

The place was packed. All the seats were taken and others loitered waiting for tables to become available. A DJ was in one corner playing nicely chilled tunes, while the clientele either listened intently or were involved in their own small group conversations.

The overall atmosphere was one of calm. The queue for drinks was well ordered and friendly. Customers were even spotted helping each other carry their larger drinks orders back to their tables.

The age rage varied from 18 to 60. The dress was casual and a relaxed attitude to closing time meant punters were able to arrive and leave at whatever time suited.

So how does that sound Mr Posturing Politician? Pretty good huh? The very model of European, cosmopolitan cafe lifestyle, right?

You'd vote for that, wouldn't you? No under age kids drinking alcopops. No fights over spilled pints. No puking in the toilets.

No doubt even the most ardent Tory would think it the ideal vision of what British nightlife should aspire to.

Except for one thing. It was the Greenpeace cafe at Glastonbury and being handed around every single group was a very large joint. Shocking.

The Greenpeace Cafe

If you believe the papers then the Glastonbury crowd are all middle class professionals these days. But, they take drugs. Most people take drugs. If not marijuana or Es or coke or whatever, then alcohol. Drug users are not all down and outs (although some are), drug users are everywhere and for most of them their drug use does not impact negatively on their life as a whole.

It's alcohol that is the real problem drug. Booze is a violent drug. It turns decent people into absolute messes. But, all the same, I still reckon they have the right to drink - just as they should have the right to take whatever drug they choose.

I always hark back to my own drug education. A local copper came into my school and ran through all of the drugs with us. He'd tell us: "This is marijuana, has been linked to short term memory loss, it's not addictive, is largely harmless, penalty for possession is etc etc"

Then he went on to: "This is heroin, will mess you up badly, probably kill you, will turn you into a thief, a liar etc, "

It was good information. Information that allowed us all to make up our own minds on drugs. The trouble with the "all drugs are bad" message is that once you've tried one and found out they were lying, then it's tempting to dismiss the warnings about the rest too.

Of course, in an ideal world, there would be no drugs. And that includes alcohol. But in a world where alcohol is permitted and seemingly actively encouraged, then you can hardly ban the less harmful substances.

And if you want a quick route to that European style, cosmopolitan cafe lifestyle then legalise marijuana. It would have to be the quickest way of changing our cities. Watch the huge groups of scary drunken people give way to grinning idiots munching on pizza slices and drooling over a fresh mug of coffee and a piece of carrot cake.

Simple isn't it?

The final word from Bill Hicks, just because it's been a while since I have quoted him:

"I'll tell you something about drugs. I used to do drugs, but I'll tell you something honestly about drugs, honestly, and I know it's not a very popular idea, you don't hear it very often anymore, but it is the truth: I had a great time doing drugs. Sorry. Never murdered anyone, never robbed anyone, never raped anyone, never beat anyone, never lost a job, a car, a house, a wife or kids, laughed my ass off, and went about my day."

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Their faces shone and they were gone and I was left alone. I walked these ancient empire streets till I came tearful to my home. And when I woke next morning, I vowed to play my part. I've got a socialism of the heart.

Hanoi - go on...gis a job

They say you can't keep a good man down.

Well this average bloke isn't going to be sh&t on from a great height either.

B*llocks to it.

So I've just written 14 pages directed at the good people of Hanoi as to why they should, and indeed must, give me a job. I'd all but thrown in the towel earlier in the week but the realisation that firstly I had no plan B and secondly this is what I truly want has galvanised me.

I've included research pointing out that PR and fundraising is one and the same, I've included references, there's ideas of future fundraising plans, there's a modicum of begging (please employ me, please please please, I'll be dead good, honest).

I've even outlined a weblog plan so that the trainees taught thanks to sponsors money, can keep their own diary of development on the web and their benefactor's can check on their progress and post their own messages of support.

Note to self - stop telling all clients about weblogs and how cool they are. It's becoming predictable.

So anyway, if it still all turns to sh1te then at least I had a go at it. No giving up from me. Vietnam remains the dream. And if it doesn't happen then I'll press on with my plans anyway. I guess VSO will work out for me one day, it'll just take a little time and this way at least I get the chance to prepare properly.

In the meantime I need to put the house up for sale. And if there's a gap between selling the house and VSO finding me a post then I'll just have to go travelling. (Shucks).

I reckon a couple of months hammock dwelling on a beautiful Thai island is the perfect preparation for working my nads off for VSO.

Life on a Thai island. The hammock in the foreground is my own - and I miss it.

Life's still great. And the world is still my oyster.

And it's the weekend.


Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.