At the end of Japan’s furious summer, it is cool enough this weekend to actually want to wear a shirt. So I doodled this as a farewell to pale torsos.
It’s a very wet Saturday afternoon, looking at an even wetter Sunday, so what better than a spot of TV? Well, scraping your own face off with a rusty hacksaw is better than TV, and that’s just the first option that comes to mind.
How about some music then?
The Normal’s TVOD was one of the first singles I ever bought. That was in 1978. Does that make me one the coolest people you know. TVOD was apparently recorded in The Normal’s bathroom. And, yes, it does sound like it. Which is part of its enduring appeal. TVOD was backed with Warm Leatherette, which seems to be a musical version of JG Ballard’s Crash. Crash was rejected by one publisher with the words: ‘This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do not publish,’ which Ballard regarded as a score. But I digress.
Frank Zappa. Nuff said:
Kill Your Television. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. We saw these guys when my wife was about eight months pregnant with our firstborn, and, twenty-five years later, I don’t think our firstborn has got the ringing out of his ears yet.
So. There you go. World Television Day, declared by the UN, no less, is November 21st. Won’t be seeing you.
So farewell, Holger Czukay, musical pioneer, humorist, inspiration, and a close personal deity of mine. We are going to miss his timeless artistry and zany humour, which made the madness of this world look really silly.
I had the enormous luck and privilege of interviewing Mr Czukay some years ago and then meeting him in person when he subsequently came to Japan.
They say don’t meet your heroes but I came away even more childishly in awe of this one.
Highlight: on hearing my accent, this German, born into the carnage of the second world war, told me that back in the day he used to travel internationally in the uniform of a British naval officer. Because, he explained, no one messes with the British navy.
I learned tonight that Mr Czukay’s wife Ursula died in July this year and was reminded that his partner and collaborator in rhythm, drummer Jaki Liebezeit, died in January.
Can’t sign off without leaving you with one of his songs.
Ode to Perfume (From the album On the Way to the Peak of Normal — one of the best album titles ever.)
OK. Two of his songs. Here’s Paperhouse from CAN’s Tago Mago, one of my favourite albums in the history of the universe.
OK. Three of his compositions. Something completely different, the hauntingly ethereal and beautiful Boat Woman Song from Canaxis, which, incredibly, he made in 1968, before CAN even got going.
Tweetverts for the recent book, Sanctioned.
All my own work (the tweetverts and the book).
I tracked down the actual fonts used by The Sun and copied their typography for maximum tabloid effect. (Any echoes of Barbara Kruger may not be entirely accidental.)
Engagement with my tweets has noticeably gone up since I started bleeping out these.
Made with InDesign, Photoshop, and lots and lots of tea.
Yes, you may commission me for graphic projects. Tweetverts for the recent book, Sanctioned.
This ominous ‘Welcome to Australia’ image has been doing the rounds on social media, posted and liked by people I would normally consider to be humane and intelligent, who clearly feel — though none of them are actually Australian — that the message has something to say that resonates with them.
One problem here: this photograph isn’t real. The photo isn’t real and the issue behind it isn’t real.
The fact that the ‘sign’ for migrants is posted on a country road in Australia, a nation that has no land borders, probably ought to set those critical thinking bells ringing.
The posters might also have asked themselves why the Australian government would put up such an inflammatory sign at all, let alone on a country backroad. Not very governmental, is it.
Yes, the image is a Photoshop job. No such sign was ever made by the Australian government.
The image was apparently created and disseminated by an Australian race hate outfit called Freedom of Speech Productions (you can see their logo imposed on the picture), which is associated with the Australian Tea Party (still no alarm bells ringing with the people who posted it?)
It’s a shoddy fake too. The quality of the graphics (the perspective is off, too many full stops and there’s a general realism issue) tells you that this was cobbled together by a chap who is disabled by an awful skin disease in between desperate wanks over some not-quite-legal site.
Clearly the image taps into the myth that there are hordes of people coming over ‘here’ (insert name your country) to sponge off ordinaryhardworkingpeopleeveverywhere, and bring the state to its financial knees, steal the gold from your grandmother’s teeth, etc., etc.
You might be interested to know that not so long ago there was a study done to identify these foreign scroungers in the UK, and find out just how much they were costing the country. You might be even more interested to know that the study was unable to find any of these alleged spongers. The problem is, you see, they don’t actually fucking exist.
Not only are they not a millstone on the necks of ordinaryhardworkingpeopleeveverywhere, they just are not.
The scrounging hordes were made up by the tabloids and UKIP and the right wing. Funny how we didn’t hear about that study in the Telegraph, the Mail, the Sun, the Express, the BBC, etc.
Reality check: you can’t claim benefits in the UK if you are not British or an EU citizen. Simple as. Even simpler than that, you can’t claim benefits in the UK even if you are a UK citizen if you are not ordinarily resident in the country. Yes, I know that arcane little nugget because I am a UK citizen not ordinarily resident in the UK. The fact that I actually pay (albeit modest) taxes in the country is irrelevant to the bureaucracy. I don’t live there, so fuck off me!
Still more basic than all that, my children — kids of a UK citizen — cannot use NHS services without paying because they have non-EU passports. Yes, I found that out the hard way too when one got sick on a trip to Britain.
So, if non-resident Brits can’t use Britain’s health and welfare services, what chance does a random scrounger from Foreignstan have?
All this talk of sponging, freeloading, scrounging hordes from other countries is bollocks. Absolute bollocks. And then more bollocks. It is the absolute Platonic form of bollocks for fuck’s sake. It’s all as real as the fake sign.
Of course people admitted as refugees will get limited state support. But it is very small, as is the numbers of people — small handfuls — admitted to the country is minute and will have no discernible impact on the economy (except to contribute to it when they start working).
If we want to talk about freeloaders — and there is a conversation to be had about freeloaders — perhaps we could start with tax avoiders. Google, Starbucks, Amazon, are foreigners who do come over here cap in hand and then pay little or no tax on business done within the UK. Look at the recent deal done between the Conservative government and Google, which let the company off something like 80 per cent of its tax bill. Imagine if you or I went to the tax man and said I don’t feel like paying all this, so let’s do a deal.’ Yes, we’d end up in prison.
While the UK admits fewer than 20,000 refugees per year, most of whom will work for a living, tax avoidance by big companies comes to £120 billion per year. Which do you think is the bigger problem?
So welcome to your reality check. If you want to be taken seriously check your facts. Credibility is not free.
The first shipment of copies of Sanctioned (the new novel by Chris Page, for those one or two of you who don’t yet know) has arrived chez Page.
Anyone who wishes to get a copy direct from me, rather than from Amazon, just please let me know on psipook at psipook dot com
Oh, by the way: woo hoo!