October 23rd, 2004


Put Up, Shut Up

Well, no Friday night for me as such. I wondered about going down to my mum's house and watching tv on my own, but couldn't really be bothered with that hundred metres. Instead I stayed at home and trawled through mp3 blogs, picking up some interesting music along the way. Tofu Hut has some fine links, particularly in the Special Needs and Exotic/Bizarre sections. I can recommend the archives of the Oddball Auditorium for all your quirky compilation CD needs, not so sure about, err, can't find it now, basically a set of mp3s of dentist drills.

Earlier in the evening I'd been listening to Any Questions. When the panel were asked about the kidnapping of Margaret Hassan, the first panel member replied that it was a case of careless talk costs lives and he wouldn't comment any further. Once that precedent had been established, everyone else followed suit on the question. Ain't that all fine and dandy then? I thought. I can see all those terror groups sat around the radio, humming along to the Archers, being very unamused by Quote Unquote ("Tell me, Mrs Hassan, is this show supposed to be funny?), falling asleep to Sailing By...

So we don't talk about it. Mum's the word. Shhh. Bough lochs. I actually have an aunt, or rather cousin of my late father, who has lived in both Iran and Afghanistan for about the last thirty years. She lived in Afghanistan through the Taliban period. In fact she's been running a school for the blind in Kabul since 1983 almost without interruption. She recently turned 70 and it's about time for her to retire, but, although she is formally standing down, she's decided to remain in Afghanistan. It feels too much like home now. I wonder if I'll ever meet her again.

I've mentioned before that one selfish regret about the current state of world politics is that a sizeable chunk of the world is slipping off-limits to the not-so intrepid traveller. I should try to make it to Iran at least before the American regime gets any more stupid ideas about the world order. In fact, a sizeable amount of brain activity is used up daily in wondering just what the Sam Hill is going on in the world in this regard and what shall become of us. I wish I could be more positive, but I'm seeing very little light about it all. A lot of this daily concern is rubbing off on preparation for the new album.

The kidnapping of Hassan, following Kevin Bigley's. Whose interest does it serve? All parties. Those who have an interest in destabilising any attempts at establishing order within Iraq. That's all parties, aside from your average Iraqi citizens just looking for a little peace for their family and friends. It supports the continuance of both overt and covert actions by occupying forces. It helps portray these "groups" operating in Iraq as inhuman bozos that need to be weeded out before order/demokurashi can be restored. Disorder allows all sorts of moneys and short-term profits to whistle and squirrel around and out the country without hindrance. Aside from obfuscation, I can't quite see why you'd bother to kidnap someone as unrelated to the current situation as Mrs Hassan. Well, unless like Kevin's cat in Valis, it's for the reason that you're just plain stupid. The BBC has started showing The Power of Nightmares [or no] documentary series recently. I'm not sure I entirely agree with its premise, but I'll wait for the end of the series to pass judgement. What the first programme does remind me of is the level of skullduggery stretching from post-45 through Korea, Cuba, South-East Asia and elsewhere in that misty-eyed world of the Iron Curtain and the international communist threat. I'm sure I wouldn't be the only person to think they might just spot a Twinkie wrapper or two poking out the pocket of these current kidnappers.

I watched the documentary at my mum's house and said that I was finding it increasingly hard to see what I had in common with 21st century America. As much as this might be a conscious disenfranchisement, I think I'm also being manipulated into this position. I, like many others, are being weeded out. Are you for or against current American policy? Against, and aghast, of course. That's my dance card marked then for the final Tennessee Waltz. Thank you for your cooperation. Your opinion has been noted...

The American election is not far off now. I imagine, ahem, heroin is about the only drug that I can readily obtain that would help me sit through that televisual feast. I'll be there, cheering nothing and nobody, munching Cheetos and praying for miracles.