October 19th, 2003


Breakfast Approaching

No Alistair Cooke on the radio this morning. He'd fallen and hurt himself. So they repeated an earlier Letter From America. Not that you'd notice really. He must be one of the longest running broadcasters on the BBC, he's been going on about America - more specifically a WASPy sort of, living in New York, holidaying in Maine, kind of America - for around 60 years now. It's a voice I've heard since birth. I can't say I ever really listen to him, but in recent months, I've noticed how tired he sounds. Long pauses in the delivery where I expect hear a sound engineer whispering in the background 'Yup, I think he's gone'. I don't understand why he has gone on so long, we could certainly do with other perspectives on America than his. With some of his recent outpourings, I can sense some kind of dark political agenda underneath as if he's about to blurt out that the country is going to hell and it's all the fault of Jews anyway. "Oh no, I can't believe I just said that", he might then say, as that puppet on Reeves and Mortimer would interject from time to time. Was it a dog or a badger? It wasn't Morrissey the consumer monkey. Hopefully one day, they'll go back to doing comedy instead of Shooting Stars, which is like Letter From America. The same programme week after week, but we're not supposed to be notice. The case of familiarity breeding comfort and security.

It's no so different from the situation with the Pope. People are getting a bit too dewy eyed about John Paul II for my liking, as they start settling into the Dianaesque obituary mode they'll be needing sometime soon. I've a number of issues specifically with the current Pope. His immovable stand on contraception beggars belief. Fortunately many Catholics are savvy enough to ignore the rulings, but in Africa and other places, where AIDS is tearing apart families, villages, towns, countries, the authority of priests is followed more closely. This can be dangerous when the priests insist on following orders and not their moral consciences.

I can remember a programme about six months ago, where a priest was being interviewed about the Roman stand on contraception. My blood chilled as I heard him comment that a woman married to a body-positive husband could not use barrier protection and was duty bound to sleep with him. He paused as he said this, as if the perverted logic of this stand was all too apparent to him. Did he really just say that, I thought. I can appreciate the Vatican attitude to the use of contraception generally. I don't agree with it, but I can understand it. But when this unbending law, which should reflect the sanctity of life ideally, is used to argue that women should be knowingly infected, with nothing done to prevent it, how does this honour God? It only honours the authority of Rome. These aren't the same thing and that's partly my problem with Catholicism.

The priest didn't say that the couple should stop sleeping with each other, use safer sex, etc. No, she had a duty to sleep with him. Possibly at the cost of her own life, when she may have a sickening husband to look after, children to care for. Yes, she might well die in the obligation of this duty and leave her children behind her alone. Such a perverse form of martyrdom that insults the true need to preserve and protect life. I hope that his succesor changes this ruling. And that he doesn't get bumped off by Opus Dei or whoever beforehand...Or that he reverses a thousand years of history and decides to agree to reconvene the Pentarchy. Fat bloody chance.

David Blaine is due to leave his box today. Zzzz... It'll be easier to walk along that stretch of the river now at least.

I was at a club called The Others last night, run by some bloke I've forgotten the name of. He often DJs after me when I play at Michael's openings. He played Rocket Man once (the Kate Bush one) and I was very impressed by that. He followed up with Can. Like myself, he doesn't play anything that could be described quite as party music. There was a young band doing a reasonable Weather Report pastiche, very relaxed with sofas [semantic confusion in these clauses, but I like it!], more like a living room really. Dean and Alan were having a bitch fight about the issues arise when two men live together and don't have sex with each other. As opposed to the issues that arise when two men live together and they do. It was kind of unpleasant to be around.

I showed Dean a game I'd downloaded onto my new phone, which is a version of the Magic 8 Ball, in an attempt to deflect his attention. Not sure if it provided the right answers, but things did calm down. The camera isn't up to much on the phone, but I'm overjoyed with some of the ringtones I've found. Michael said that I'd lived in Japan too long. Karen (?), who is half-Japanese, sympathised and understood the technological inadequacy of UK phones compared to Japan. We're two years behind. In Japan, everyone is 携帯バカ (a fool for phones). They are the only friend some people have. It's sad to see all those people doing nothing but staring into clamshells, even when all sat at a table together. There's that robot they're trying to get to look after the exploding (!) silver generation (old people). I don't understand why anyone would ever think that Japan represents Buddhism in action, it's a very spritual country with some very unspriritual people. The old gods are crying somewhere. I would have thought caring for the sick and elderly would be some kind of obligation. Unfortunately everyone is too busy with their mobile phones to notice, but at least with i-mode, they can probably control these robots remotely and video-conference their faces onto the robot's. 'Father, I have made you some okayu.' 'Go fuck yourself, you ungrateful wretch.'...link suspended. Son might call around in a few months, find the robot is now mixing mizuwari and ceaselessly complimenting his father on his karaoke skills. He feels a little uneasy about the level of flirting that's going on.

Although country and western ringtones fall flat on their face, the ones that work quite well are the simpler ones. This version of My Sharona is pretty good - same mindless drum and guitar riff. Most outstanding is a version of Devo's 'The Girl you Want', which actually sounds as good as the original. True innovators! I now realise that all their music was actually designed with the mobile in mind. They were just twenty years ahead. Unfortunately though, I couldn't find a version of the Devo Corporate Anthem.

Come on, Gogol is waiting...
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