Sochi 2014: In Your Face, Homophobes!

“The games have always been a little gay. Let’s fight to keep them that way.”

Canadian Institute of Diversity & Inclusion

Reports of rampant homophobia in Russia have dogged the build-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, leaving many political leaders floundering. How to demonstrate opposition to a legislation that has stigmatised homosexuality to the extent that targeted attacks are tacitly encouraged, without rocking a boat already exhibiting distinct and dangerous looking cracks?

FYI, Dave, hiding on the poop deck with a tube of wood glue in your pocket isn’t helpful.

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Rebekah Brooks: More Human Than Human?


As someone who followed the Leveson Inquiry with the kind of furrow browed concentration a slavering dog applies to a careless barbecue operator, the subsequent trial and inevitable revelations therein were front and centre on my radar.

Whether it’s the machinations of an ever hungrier media desperate to pad out their empty pages that enthralls me, or the theatrical hand wringing of a public completely taken aback that such things go on at all, let alone to feed their interest, I know not.

I guess I just like the idea of seeing those for whom the concept of personal responsibility is an abstract get a slapping.

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Brand vs. Paxman: The Beardy Politic

Like two male cats hop-stepping around one another with their large, brushy tails pointing towards the sky, the destroyer of political souls meets the sharpest of comedic minds.

Having lost early points by claiming he only edited an issue of The New Statesman because he was asked to by an attractive woman, Brand then effortlessly harnesses that notorious passion to redeem himself. Paxman, possibly having never been called ‘darling’ in an interview before, rolls with the velvet punch and tacitly acknowledges the perfectly placed blow with a knowing nod.

Watch this. Even if you hate Paxman. Especially if you hate Brand.

The sight of two such articulate minds sparring so spikily and yet so passionately is a reminder of what politics should be and what Jeremy Paxman is actually for.

For the record, Brand almost convinces him.

They Say If You Stare At The Sun For Too Long, You’ll Go Blind


This week, we’ve learned two things. Saying monkey while standing in the same postcode as a black person means you are a racist and refusing to offer your seat to a pregnant woman is indicative of a general decline in chivalrous behaviour among men, but complaining about it is sexist.

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Internet: That’s What I’m Talkin’ Bout


I write a lot about how corrosive and depressing the internet can be. How miserable it is that a tool enabling instant communication between anyone, wherever they might be in the world; a collective mind capable of constantly renewal where the answer to every question can be found instantly, is used by most to look at porn and pictures of cats.

And porn.

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With their tanks & their bombs & their bombs & their guns…


Magforce 300000V Electrical Stun Baton, sir? Image via firearmblog.

As usual when I woke up the this morning, the gallons of cranial fluid occupying the space where my brain should be sloshed over the first available distraction; a news story about two companies being chucked out of the DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) 2013 event for “promoting illegal weapons & torture equipment“.

According to the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Magforce International and Tianjin Myway were peddling “handheld projectile electric shock weapons, weighted leg cuffs and stun batons” among their other wares, which apparently contravene some complicated by-law that waves stuff like massive guns and RPGs right on through.

I went about my morning routine as usual, but by the time I’d arrived at work, the co-conspirators of a trusting/totally disinterested boss, an intermittent BT internet connection and unnerving curiosity had convinced me that there was no alternative but to spend the morning surfing the tubes and troughs of the defence industry and the enterprises that survive on its filthy, polluted run-off, to see what was actually available to a discerning lunatic with access to a credit card.

Like me.

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History: Now In Glorious Technicolor


Big Jay McNeely, Los Angeles, 1953. Original photo: Bob Willoughby, colourised by traquea on Reddit.

Is it the absence of colour that strips the subject of humanity in black and white photos or is it my brain?

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Cameron vs. Fry: It’s Just Not Cricket

British Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected a plea from Stephen Fry to ban Russia from hosting the Winter Olympics, stating that while he “share’s [Fry’s] deep concern about the abuse of gay people,” he believes “we can better challenge prejudice as we attend.”

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