Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Like they said (Saint Joan - National Theatre)

I saw Saint Joan a couple of weeks ago now but haven't got round to blogging about it yet, partly because it was so large a play (for starters its 3hrs 10mins even after a serious amount of cutting) that I didn't know where to start.

Suffice to say others haven't been so reticent. Anyway in lieu of my own review can I just say I loved it (including the "Stompesque" battle sequence others have derided). If you want more try here, here and especially here.

Why aren't there any gay characters in Harry Potter?

The thought occurred as I was reading the final pages of the Deathly Hallows on Sunday morning, there aren't any gay characters. As far as I can remember there isn't even a hint of same sex attraction throughout the many thousands of pages of prose J K Rowling has produced (although some have argued that the whole wizzard/muggle thing is really an allegory for the queer/straight divide).

Its not that I'm complaining particularly; after all if one is willing to accept wizzards and witches, you can probably stretch to hundred of kids being cooped up in a castle and their being no 'experimentation'.

However, imagine the evangelical reaction. The occult and buggery in a children's book? Now I would have paid good money to see that explosion.

Monday, July 23, 2007

You spent how much?

According today's Torygraph the Conservatives spent £125,000 on their failed bid to win the Ealing Southall By-Election.

That is £15.19 a vote for those of you keeping score at home. They would probably have been better off stumping up for a poster lottery.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why don't politician's like cannabis?

I'm firmly in the don't ask don't tell camp when it comes to politicians minor indiscretions in their past (excluding blatant hypocrisy). After all we have all done things in our youth that we are ashamed of (my first ever vote was for the Greens after all).

So what interested me about today's revelations is not that five (or more) Cabinet ministers have smoked dope but the fact that they all appear to have only done it once or twice and not liked it. Is there something in the political genes that makes them immune to the pleasures of THC? And given the legislative hyperactivity that has been the cause of so much problems at the Home Office down the last 10-15 years or so maybe we shouldn't be complaining that Home Office ministers have got stoned in the past but encouraging them to skin up more in the future.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ealing Southall - Where are all the posters?

Wandering around Ealing yesterday evening I was struck by the lack of posters that have gone up. I can remember Leicester South when the whole constituency went orange (or at least thats how it seemed) or Brent East when nearly every house in some streets in Willesden Green were showing their support to one side or the other.

In the bits of Ealing Common ward I was delivering I only saw three posters total (all Lib Dem incidentally), and when I was in Southall the last couple of weekends I can only remember seeing a solitary Labour poster. Maybe I've just been in the wrongs parts of town, but it does strike me as odd. Are we heading for a record low turnout, or are the good people of Ealing just shy?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Vote Blue go Gray

You have got to love Iain Duncan Smith. Unfairly maligned during his too short tenure as Conservative leader has come back to the forefront of politics today with his calls for a massive hike in the tax on alcohol and to reclassify Cannabis as a Class B. Way to get down with the kids IDS. I'm sure Dave will be thrilled with those vote winning ideas!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rebellion at Sunrise Radio (Ealing Southall)

There appears to be some splitters in the ranks of Sunrise Radio.

Apparently not all the staff got the memo that their former (temporarily one hopes) MD Tony Lit is standing for the Conservative Party. It looks like one of their presenters, Yaqub Masih will be standing for the Christian Party of (wait has anybody told Ann Widdecombe that the Conservatives aren't the christian party anymore?). The team meeting on the first Monday back could be a bit feisty.

(HT: By-Elections Blog)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Has Bush given up on getting anything done?

There has been a lot of comment over the last couple of days that the failure of the immigration bill in the US Senate marked the death of George Bush's chances of any kind of domestic legacy from his second term. Lamed by Iraq and the Democratic victory in last year's midterms, it is widely thought that he now lacks the authority (as well as the votes) to force any of what is left of his agenda through the bearpit that is Congress.

Well it seems like George agrees with this analysis. How else can you explain his commuting of Scooter Libby's sentence? Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of whether Libby should have been gaoled for his part in the cover up of the Valerie Plame affair, this is a sure sign of a President who doesn't care about building bridges with congressional Democrats any more given the fire-storm it will kick up.

Oh shut up already (The Pain and the Itch - Royal Court Downstairs)

I don't think I've been to the theatre laughed so much and still come away feeling disappointed that this evening. Bruce Norris' The Pain and the Itch seems to have everything going for it, a stellar cast headed Matthew McFadyen who are on top of their game, an easy target in America's uptight not so liberal east coast Liberals and some really great laugh lines. But yet this drags. Even with the Court's plush upholstered seats my backside was starting to get numb by the middle of the second act and its total running time is under two and a half hours including an interval.

The problem is that Norris' approach to picking targets is so scatter gun that he only skims the surface of them, whether it be liberal hypocrisy, post 9-11 racism, or the hysteria over paedophilia. This leaves his characters adrift in a world of cliché and caricature (even as he accurately lampoons the middle class liberal habit of reducing emotions to the clichés of therapy culture).

Still its a production with many redeeming features. McFadyen wrings all there is to out of the grown up adolescent Clay struggling to be the perfect stay at home dad, whilst Peter Sullivan gets all the best lines as his cynical plastic surgeon brother.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

99% of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd

In honour of tonight's concert for Diana here are some appropriate lines from Half Man Half Biscuit:

James Dean was just a careless driver/
and Marilyn Monroe was a slag

Ealing Southall - Where's Labour?

Well according to Labour Home over the boundary in the next constituency (at least their campaign HQ is in Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush).

Seriously though, I spent the whole day in and around both ends of the constituency yesterday and I didn't a single sign of Labour activity, you would have thought that in one of their held seats three weeks before polling day they would have had some people out rain or no rain. Of course they may just be running an under the radar campaign relying on mail shots and call centres to get their identified supporters out, or maybe they are just struggling for volunteers.

As James points out the Tory campaign doesn't appear to be kicking into full gear yet either.