Archive for November, 2006


One day in the early 70s I was walking through the grounds of a mental hospital with my maternal grandfather, Simon.

He had been on the run from the Military Police since 1946. My mother, my two uncles and my aunt all ate well through the conflict.

Simon was a butcher.

We talked about the difference between living with war and growing up in peace. There was really nothing to discuss. The former is simple — you live or you die. Peace is slightly more complicated.

In the end, however, everyone has to eat, and those who eat last die last.

American bankers’ U2 cover

Thought this was an out-take from The Office at first, couldn’t actually believe it. But people who were there say it really happened.

“Kramer” loses it at Laugh Factory — video clip

“The rage did go all over the place. It went to everybody. I’m deeply sorry. I’m not a racist.” — Michael Richards.

Oh yeah?

We live in constant fear.

Why did they break my things, all my toys?

Our children can’t even live.

We don’t know how to live.

[The Israelis] want these people cleansed from this area.

The psychological condition is one of the dimensions of the conflict that is not widely understood.

This is the reality of life in Gaza. Would you be able to live like this?

Watch the video courtesy of ICH. Runtime 5 minutes.

Sudden fiction

Since I started this blogging thing I haven’t been reading as much as is good for me. I mean proper reading, you know, like books? So the other morning I revisited my shelves and picked up a small volume of stories called Revenge of The Lawn by Richard Brautigan. Inside I found what must be close to the shortest short story ever written. Here it is.

The Scarlatti Tilt by Richard Brautigan

“It’s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who’s learning to play the violin.” That’s what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Edie Sedgwick: “After Hours” video

Edie Sedgwick was born in 1943. She met Andy Warhol in 1965 and became one of the Factory regulars around March of that year. Warhol has often been blamed for Edie’s descent into drug addiction and mental illness but her family has a history of both.

She was first institutionalized in the autumn of 1962 suffering from anorexia and, like her brother, attended the Silver Hill mental hospital. Her condition deteriorated until she weighed only ninety pounds, at which time she was transferred to Bloomingdale, the Westchester Division of New York Hospital.

Silver Hill was fairly liberal but Bloomingdale was very strict. Paradoxically, near the end of her stay there she became pregnant and had to have an abortion.

Bob Dylan’s album Blonde on Blonde was released on May 16, 1966 and Edie is one of the women imaged on the inner sleeve. Some of the songs are rumoured to be about her. Nico thought that Dylan might have been referring to her in Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat. Others have claimed that the phrase “your debutante” on Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again refers to Edie. It’s also rumoured that just Like a Woman is about her.

Edie Sedgwick’s husband, Michael Post, woke up on the morning of November 16, 1971 to find her lying dead in bed next to him. The coronor classified her death as an “accident/suicide” caused by “acute barbituate intoxication.”

This video 0f “After Hours” is a weird-sexy-sad classic. The vocal is by Moe Tucker, drummer with the Velvets.

Albert Einstein said: 

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing…”

It’s her optimism that kills him. Makes him happy and desperate at the same time.

In the morning.

Saying goodbye.

He’s still in bed, waiting for the neighbours’ dogs to start up or someone out back to continue building that fence or begin chain-sawing that tree or kango-drilling that patio.

She breezes in: pink linen jacket. She looks fatter than yesterday. “Oops. I almost fell in there with you,” she giggles. He turns over and tells her “goodbye,” in his over-voice. His under-voice tells her “f**k off you stupid cow.”

It amuses him but he’s disturbed: because he loves her and it disturbs him that his under-voice has so little respect.

It’s her optimism that kills him. He’s sure sometimes that she hears his under-voice but chooses to ignore it. Such strength of character she has to do that. Perhaps she hears it but believes it’s an hallucination, symptomatic of her own psychosis.

As he hears her leave through the front door he wants to call after her: “Look, you stupid bitch, it’s real and I mean it!” But the dogs have started up, someone out back is hammering and a tree is being noisily executed…

Of course, he never blames himself for the rail crash. But when he speaks at the funeral his guilt rings in all of his voices.

William Burroughs’ “Thanksgiving Prayer” video

For John Dillinger, in hope he is still alive.

Mirza Tahir Hussain is to have his death sentence commuted by President Musharraf (click source). This is great news. However, questions remain.

Why did it take Musharraf so long?

Will Mirza receive any compensation for the eighteen years of his life that were taken from him on the strength of an unsafe conviction under a dubious legal system (Sharia Law)?

Why was it eighteen years before his case came to the attention of the media and the UK political establishment?

When will state sponsored murder be universally abolished?

The long wait for “justice”

December 1988 — Mirza-Tahir Hussain, 18, flies from Leeds to Pakistan, where he is arrested after death of taxi driver near Rawalpindi. He claims that he shot driver in self-defence.

September 1989 — A sessions court in Islamabad sentences him to death.

November 1992 — The High Court orders a retrial.

April 1994 — A sessions court in Islamabad sentences him to life. 

May 1996 — The High Court acquits him of murder but a month later refers the case to the Federal Sharia Court.

May 1998 — The Sharia court sentences him to death by two votes to one.

December 2003 — The Supreme Sharia Court of Pakistan rejects the appeal.

May 2006 — President Musharraf issues the first of three stays of execution. The last expires on October 1.

October 26 — Ramadan and Eid end, meaning Hussain can be hanged at any time.

November 15 — Reprieved.

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