Thursday, May 30, 2002

The Behemoths of Bigotry

Remember those halcyon days when football on the t.v. used to be confined to the Cup Final and the occasional international match? Now you can't move for the bloody stuff. Arsenal and Fulham ladies can't have a kick about in a public park without some t.v. johnnies turning up team- handed to broadcast the ensuing "spectacle" to all of half a dozen disinterested viewers. The delights of Stockport v. Rotherham or equivalent was clearly never going to entice a sufficient number of subscribers to part with their hard earned cash to float ITV Digital's boat so it was hardly a surprise when the ill-conceived SPLTV balloon was punctured by the Scylla and Charybdis of Scottish football the Old Firm. The gruesome twosome were undoubtedly correct to question the assumptions behind the projections but the timing and the motivation behind their bi-partite decision could be called into question. It really wasn't all that surprising to hear ostensibly opposing sections of the sectarian divide singing from the same hymn sheet. The faith which unites them both is the gospel according to Filthy Lucre.

Clearly the behemoths of bigotry are labouring under the misapprehension that owning the rights to the most loathsome brand names in world football has some currency in the modern world. Let's face it Murray, Quinn and co.: no-one wants you and your Neanderthal fans. The ever diminishing number of goons in the shrinking ghetto of recalcitrant sectarianism which clings tenaciously onto central Scotland like a limpet are still forcing their progeny to adopt the tarnished colours of the Old Firm but to the rest of the civilised world they are an anachronism, anathema to all right thinking people. The Old Firm's money men and their spin doctors can try to spring clean their respective club's images all they like but they just can't shift those stubborn stains deposited by their vile followers. Give them a camera opportunity and they just can't help disgracing themselves and their clubs by donning Ingerlund tops, impersonating doomed airliners careering into skyscrapers, abusing minute's silences for irrelevant dignitaries and generally spouting racist, bigoted claptrap. Celtic fans' bogus Oirish republican rebel stuff wouldn't wash in Boston theme bar on St.Paddy's day and Rangers' royalist, unionist, orange order hokum has as much relevance to contemporary life on this planet as flat earth theory.

Come on you losers get with the programme. You guys are in dire need of a media-friendly makeover. Your image just won't cut it in today's sophisticated marketplace. How can dandy Davy Murray hope to hang out with the Real Madrids, the Barcelonas and the Milans of the increasingly cosmopolitan football world with the knuckle scrapers in tow? How can Dermot gad about with the glitterati with you guys getting in the way? It's like dragging Rab C.Nesbitt along to a Chanel couture show. String vests, Special Brew and sectarianism are so passe darlings. Oh Mr.Murray I forgot. Your club and your Celtic cronies in the infernal Old Firm cartel from hell have been mining a rich vein of sectarianism for years. Just another marketing opportunity to facilitate wider dissemination of the brand. Protestant? Catholic? It's all just brand differentiation. Either way it's the same old corporate bullsh*t peddled by the same pushers. Was it not the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland himself, Scots born Dr. John Reid, who committed the unforgivable gaffe of acknowledging the "rich traditions" of the Irish republican and loyalist movements as convenient hooks to hang the Old Firm's future brand expansion strategies on? Clearly the astute modern businessmen behind Scotland's footballing aristos and aspirants to the Champions League top table couldn't still be exploiting the Battle of the Boyne as a merchandising opportunity? Or could they? Does the Pope sh*t in the woods? If he did I'm sure you could get the "'ra fishul vi-day-o doon ra Barras".

Billy from Bathgate and Timmy from Tillicoutry you've been conned all along. This bogus bigotry bullsh*t was just a marketing ploy to get you and your retarded family to part with your dole check for the new away kit. The money men hate you too just like we do. And when they've had their cake, eaten it and sold the crumbs off the table to the highest bidder they'll jettison you and your inbred kin just like they'll cast off the rest of the teams in this mickey mouse league they've been imprisoned in against their will for the last century and a bit. What passes for rough charm and salt of the earth sartorial swagger in a saloon bar in Kilmarnock on a wet Tuesday night is just not going to cut it on the catwalks of Milan. So start gearing up for the 21st century rather than the middle ages suckers. I guess you all know what happened to Irish theme pubs? So late 20th century they seem positively pre-Jurassic. Celtic wouldn't want to end up like "Biddy McGees" surely?

In the short term I guess the Old Firm could be banking on hiving off the rights to their home games and selling them to Rupert the Bull (the only poker player left in the game) or creating their own "Bigot TV." media conglomerates to beam the enticing spectacle of the Old Firm ritually humiliating the likes of Dunfermline and Partick Thistle by cable, satellite, internet and homing pigeon all the way from Wallamazoo to Butt**ck, Idaho. Even the gruesome twosome's fans, possessing as they do the attention spans of goldfish and the intellect of gnats, could conceivably get bored with this fare. No wonder SPLTV's subscriber projections seemed optimistic. The projected figures of viewers liable to pitch in £10 a month for the privilege of watching these mismatches let alone the dubious joys afforded by "local interest only" encounters between plucky also-rans like Kilmarnock and Motherwell must have been so low as to be statistically insignificant. Intruding on the private grief of Motherwell fans is at best peculiar and at worst downright perverse. Let's be honest Scottish football is an exercise in collective masochism. The misguided notion that it's a spectator sport is clearly buffoonery of the highest order. Rather like inflatable women and penile enhancement technology it's a product aimed fairly and squarely at a niche market consisting chiefly of harmless perverts and the criminally insane. The idea that there were hordes of subscribers queuing up to subsidise this televised tosh was surely a fevered dream conceived by an Al Qa'ida warlord (presumably high on Afghan spangles holed up in some cave network listening to the D.J Smack Poppy's bangin' U.S. barrage) , hastily scribbled in the Pashtun dialect on the back of an american propaganda leaflet and conveyed by carrier pigeon to the nerve centre of media terrorist Chris Morris's cell in Guantananamo Bay. I'm sure it didn't take ESPN long to figure out that their bizarre decision to broadcast the likes of Dundee v.St.Johnstone direct into the beating heart of Buenos Aries a couple of years back was in danger of being misinterpreted as an act of aggression against the Argentinean nation, Claudia Cannigia or not.

Pay per view was never designed for the mundane pleasures afforded by football. Football is wallpaper and the particularly annoying woodchip variety at that. As ubiquitous on terrestrial t.v. as Ally McCoist or Gary Lineker and just as brain numbingly bland. Like high class hookers you know the facility to pay for it is there if you want it but with frisky fillies queuing up to give it away for free you wouldn't actually dream of using it. Who's to say the stuff you pay for would be any better than the bog standard issue anyway. They're not all Liverpool 4 Newcastle 3 edge of the seat thrillers. If I'm paying top dollar I want top quality product. As Chris Morris observed as the second tower of the WTC fell a jaded t.v. audience were already switching off their sets complaining they'd seen it all before. If I'd subscribed to Al-Jazeera pay-per-view on the promise of exclusive Al Qa'ida terrorist atrocities following on from the success of the WTC season opener I'd be pretty pi**ed off if the best they could come up with was an incompetent bloody shoebomber who couldn't ignite his Reeboks. If Sky want me to bump up my credit card balance for some televisual pleasure then " Antipodean ass aerobics with the perky, pocket-size, pop princess" is much more likely to light my fire than the SPL. The frisson of guilty pleasure provoked by "unspecified adult entertainment £5.99" cropping up on your statement is more readily explicable to an irate mrs.ionesco when she opens the mail than the unequivocally sordid "Barnsley v. Grimsby". In the fall-out from the t.v. football meltdown the media moguls are going to have think of more imaginative ways to get us to part with the green folding stuff.

The era of "sports entertainment" beckons. Franchise football existing in a realm beyond national boundaries but maximising merchandising opportunities presented by the same old cartoon stereotypes a la WWF. My own team Queen of the South are about to relocate to San Francisco where in accordance with the local demographic we'll be renamed Queens of the South-West. Handlebar moustaches and biker gear will be de rigeuer for the fans and "the club strip" will be the Full Monty. George Michael and Boy George will perform a duet of the team song live from the Golden Gate Bridge. The bad news is they're both in the squad as are The Village People. The good news is the Kylester's pink pound appeal gets her a starting position too. Our first match is against Vinnie Jones' Hollywood XI starring Rod Stewart, Robbie Williams, Jay-Lo, P Diddy and The Rock. Then we play Dermot Desmond's Boston Celtic featuring Bono, Shane McGowan, some tw*t from Westlife, Michael Flatley and the cast of Riverdance in the world's biggest Irish theme bar in New York on St.Paddy's Day. Then it's David Murray's Cor Blimey Guv'nor London Rangers at some infernal Ibizan discotheque full of lager louts larging it in Ingerlund tops and annexing the Balearics for the "master race". Come on Rupert sort it out!

eugene ionesco

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Tinseltown pays tribute to The King of the Beats

Tinseltown pays tribute to the king of the Beats?

Maybe I dreamt it but I’m pretty sure I read recently that ham-fisted Hollywood helmsman Joel Schumacher is lined up to direct the long-awaited movie adaption of Jack Kerouac's On the Road.

What’s next?

Michael Bay’s À la Recherche du Temps Perdu?

Kevin Costner’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus?

The Farrelly Brothers' Finnegans Wake?

Waiting for Godot: the Musical?

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

On Vacation With The Wrathful, The Avaricious & The Sullen

Taking shelter in the rain-lashed and windswept Stadio del Ballast the other night, during the hooped marvels pulsating encounter with the footballing enigma that is Queen of the South, the mind occasionally wandered from the enticing spectacle of watching beleaguered ballboys chasing footballs as yet another misdirected pass careered over the advertising hoardings towards Coatbridge.

Thoughts of escape to a more congenial climate and where to spend my summer holidays. Not for me the sex, sand and sangria combo favoured by the lumpen-proletariat. The lure of lager louts “having it large” on some once-idyllic island turned dumping ground for the detritus of our nation’s youth should once again prove resistible. Barry from Barnsley and his beered-up buddies baring their backsides in the Balearics to skimpily dressed slappers from Scunthorpe called Shirley and Sandra who, in turn, are seeking squalid sexual shenanigans with a moustachioed married Latin lothario called Manuel who waits on tables at some squalid local cantina which serves chips with everything. Nights of pills and passion with pasty faced pre-pubescents leering at live sex shows in superannuated Ibizan discotheques playing pumping house music. Is that Judge Jules on the decks or is he the one in flagrante delicto with that slack-jawed slut from Shrewsbury? The Manumissionary position, no doubt, choreographed to the insistent 132bpm pulse of a computer programme masquerading as music. Come on Judge, the reputation of the judiciary is at stake! Shouldn’t you be dispensing short sharp shocks to parking ticket defaulters, and acquitting mass murderers on technicalities, rather than “larging it” in the Balearics?

Ibiza is out and Ayai Napa is even worse. Packs of gun totin’, gang bangin’, ho pimpin’ homeboys from Hounslow enjoying a spot of recreational car jacking and drive-by shooting set to a resistible speed garage soundtrack.

On the subject of the Souf London massive: it’s good to see Pat Kane lambaste Ali G in the papers this week for stereotyping hip-hop culture. Po-faced Pat makes a hue and cry about the a nice white middle class Jewish boy impersonating an Asian impersonating an L.A. gangsta rapper because he’s “debasing black American culture”. I thought pallid Pat did a good enough job of that already when he subjected his band’s second-rate sanitised white boy soul onto an unsuspecting public.

What’s the fuss about appropriation anyway? Hip-hop culture is based on theft, or sampling beats as it’s known on “the street”. However appropriation of white suburban kids money is the name of the game. The people who want to buy into this gangsta shtick (the black community wants to buy out) are the same nerds who bought into Kiss and Whitesnake back in the day. Comic book caricatures introducing a vicarious element of danger into sanitised suburban lives. Who’s more black and white minstrel: Ali G or P.Diddy lounging poolside at his Hampton’s hideaway kickin’ that ghetto playboy millionaire vibe? Layin’ down some phat trax in his Cape Cod crib to pick the pocket money of his pasty-faced pre-pubescent homeyz.

It seems wherever you go in the world you can’t get away from imperialism. Us Brits have exported corporate clubbing to every corner of the globe. Cream Kabul is on the cards I fear. Now they’re calling Las Vegas the “new Ibiza”. From Frankie, Sammy and Dino treading the boards at the Sands casino accompanied by the swinging arrangements of the Count Basie Orchestra to Pete Tong “rolling another phat one" at the Luxor and giving a shout out to stag parties from Stockton-on-Tees and hen nights from Huddersfield. Progress? I don't think so.

Our society has been lobotomised by the crushing conformity of a popular “culture” in which a cartel of corporate cash accumulators and chartered accountants masquerading as mediators of taste (Cowell, Tong and their cronies) annex the airwaves, tabloids and t.v. channels, populate them with their sycophants and flunkies and peddle their lowest common denominator crap. Then they export the brainwashed progeny of our infernal zombie nation to unsuspecting lands overseas to spread the virus. Lager louts and alcopoptastic text-messaging minions are multiplying like a mestasicising tumour.

I too am a loup-garou. A zombie host carrying the parasite of popular culture within my diseased carcass. My fixation with Miss Minogue’s pert posterior attests to my addiction to InTraV (the fix of popular culture, infotainment and propaganda delivered straight into my blood supply by the media conglomerates). I’m hardwired to the pop mainframe and I can’t escape.

My stepmother was clearly an agent of evil and introduced me to the dark side at an early age. I remember in chilling detail her early exhortations to watch the televisual output of the pop anti-Christ himself Noel Edmonds: The thing I like about Noel is he appeals to young and old alike. Unlike Tony Wilson I didn’t spend the 80’s having it grande with the likes of New Order and The Happy Mondays down at the Hac. I was one of “Edmonds' 24 hour House Party people.”

And what a grim party it was. A middle-aged man with a mullet and a comfortable sweater luring small children into his lair with promises of plentiful pranks with a pink prat called Mr.Blobby. Perhaps my pursuit of the posterial perfection promised by the perky pop princess is a shallow attempt to exorcise the ghost of Edmonds and consign Crinkly Bottom to the crapola. Post-Traumatic Edmonds Syndrome is surely to blame for my fevered dreams during which I imagine I’m the rear end of a pantomime Anne Widdicombe committed to an eternal summer season in Margate and my fetishistic fantasy of being ensnared in the Widdyweb while the cat-loving conservative composes putrid poetry about her pussy.

But back to the subject of holidays. Even my old Vegas hideaway has been bastardised by Brits on tour. The Axis of Evil Tour is a tempter though. An enticingly Brit-free 7 countries in 7 days with the ever-present danger of a tactical nuclear strike from Dubya to add a certain adventurous frisson for adrenaline junkies.

I think I’ll stay at home this summer while our yobs are exporting themselves world-wide like a particularly virulent case of bubonic plague. It’s a good job the sycophantic goon we’ve got for a Prime Minister has turned us into the 51st state of the union otherwise our status as a cheap steel producer and breeding ground for al-Qa'ida terrorists would undoubtedly place us on the short list for a “goodwill nuclear message” from Dubya.

eugene ionesco

Monday, March 25, 2002

Chillin' Wit' Da Playaz On Da Red Rug: The Oscars 2002

It was an honour and a privilege to hang out with the stars at the Oscars courtesy of Acciesworld. Imagine my surprise when news of this all expenses paid junket to Tinseltown arrived at casa del eugenio attached to Bobby (the great Gilberto’s carrier pigeon extraordinaire). Not for me the instantaneous thrill of communication by e-mail. I prefer the more sedate and traditional joys afforded by strapping indecipherable messages to airborne rodents. Computers are “so last year” guys and the really good news is Dixons haven’t yet worked out how to sting you for an extended warranty on a pigeon.

Anyhow the Hollywood gig sounded right up my Sunset Boulevard. The opportunity of cruisin’ down the Cali coast in my soft top caddy with my fly girl at my side, Big Punishing Mo Fo on the boomin’ system and my homey B Surreal kickin’ it all the way live from Oaktown on the Bay down to Inglewood was too good, I mean bad, to miss. Larbert would have to wait. I consoled myself with the thought that there would be other Saturday afternoons at Ochilview.

We flew into San Fran and hooked up with my favourite gang: Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci. They looked like a Robert Mapplethorpe still, these guys were dressed to kill. My buddies were talkin’ about cruisin’ down to a gay disco on the outskirts of Frisco when I realised I’d got in tow with the wrong dudes. My homies B Surreal, MC Death from Above and DJ Louis Theroux were still standing at the baggage terminal when I got back from my ride with the Village People.

We sweet talked some honey at Hertz into hookin’ us up with a Merc convertible with in-car jacuzzi, Bang & Olufsen, turntables, cocktail bar and laptop with DVD, CDR and carrier pigeon ports. I tell you man this car was a chick magnet. The honeyz were all over us like Vesuvius over Pompeii. While I was soundin’ out some hottie’s hubcaps DJ Louis Theroux was layin’ down a stone cold gangsta groove on the decks by looping some breaks from Clarissa Dickson Wright’s The Fat Lady Sings album and droppin’ in some samples from the bootleg Ol’ Dirty Bastard meets Anne Widdicombe white label that’s been bustin’ out all over Basingstoke’s more discerning dancefloors this panto season. B Surreal was rollin’ up another phat jazz cigarette when he realised the only “chronic” we had on board was MC Death from Above’s angina. Luckily we did have a bag of “Fisherman’s Friends” and some travel sickness lozenges.

We cruised on down through Steinbeck’s old stamping ground Monterey where The Grapes of Wrath and my homey B Surreal’s “farmer giles” have now become inextricably linked in the anals, I mean annals, of street poetry. Down through Clint’s Carmel cabana, a quick 18 holes at Pebble Beach (that course was so expensive we coulda had 18 hos instead and still had change for seafood chowder). We caught some rays, a wave and a communicable disease from the surfer chicks at the Big Sur and then we rolled on down to Hearst Castle which we’d hired for the weekend. Relaxing poolside at William Randolph’s old crib, the cabana was rockin’ most righteously to the intoxicating sound of a faux-naive investigative reporter flippin’ vinyl like burgers at a barbecue while B Surreal and the boys were plying high class hookers with cheap alcohol. Maybe that’s what old Orson was banging on about at the end of “Kane”. Hos ‘n’ Bud. I’m sure Citizen Hearst was canin’ it in Cali with the poolside party posse long before Tongy and co. came on the scene.

I tell you man that party was such a blast we had to bury the remnants in a lead-lined casket somewhere in the South Pacific under strictly controlled conditions. We were still surfin’ on the seismic tremors from that shindig when we cruised into South Central in the City of Angels. I don’t know where “Los Angeles” were hangin’ that day but it wasn’t in the 'hood with my homeys' and me unless you’re talking about the gang of Chicano street hoodlums who were our welcoming committee. We didn’t stick around to discover if they were the apocryphal messengers of God with dirty faces or a buncha low ridin’ Carlito Brigante wannabes from the barrio. Let’s just say we hot-tailed it down to the Hilton at Marina Del Rey without stopping to discuss the niceties of car jacking with the boyz in the hood.

Anyway next thing we know and we’re gliding down the red carpet at the Kodak Theatre with the paparazzi taking pictures of the Galliano gowns and the Dior dresses. I told my homeys to stick to Armani threads but they insisted on the frocks. “There’s Whoopi and Kate Winslett in a stunning red dress” said Louis. “Must be a big dress” I speculated. ‘You’re right Holmes, that’s no frock it’s a marquee” confirmed my man.

And before we knew it the lights dimmed and the midget formerly known as Nicole Kidman’s defiantly heterosexual husband was straight into the Sept. 11th schtick. Then I fell asleep. Next thing I remember is Halle Berry doing her bit for the emancipation of the African-American race. Let’s be honest. As a black power activist she’s a trim bit of skirt if not exactly Malcolm X. I guess she was just surfing on that tide of black power unleashed by Sidney Poitier in his extraordinary acceptance speech for his honorary award. Now Sidney I can dig. When he was the guest they least expected in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner the KKK were burning cats in Mississippi for real. Nowadays we’ve got positive discrimination and our Afro-American buddies are having their cake, eating it and selling the crumbs to emasculated guilt-ridden white liberals hamstrung by political correctness. Proactive “ghetto” entrepreneurs are selling us bogus black culture like a dodgy timeshare in the Costa del Crime. Cheap holidays in other people’s misery flogged by bogus tour guides in bandannas and dungarees. Peddling cartoon versions of recalcitrant criminality, misogyny and stereotypical representations of “ghetto life” is the new Black and White Minstrel Show, but this time the patronising scam is perpetrated by authentic Harlem hucksters and Compton carnies like Russell Simmons, P Diddy and Suge Knight rather than whitey. Hence it’s characterised as “indigenous African-American culture” and must be protected like an endangered species rather than hounded out of house and home like some socially inept dinner guest who keeps grabbing his crotch during the hors d’ouevres. Johnny Cochrane, Snoop, Dr.Dre, Mike Tyson, O.J.Simpson, Diddy, Biggy, the So Solid Crew et al are at the vanguard of the new consciousness, mining a rich vein of criminality both real and imagined. These playaz are pimpin’ that ghetto vibe while simultaneously dealing from a deck heavily loaded with race cards.

Good to see Ashley Walters, Grange Hill child actor turned So Solid Crew ubergangsta given the benefit of the doubt by our judiciary for brandishing a gun at a traffic warden. Now I’m no fan of traffic wardens but they’re hardly going to discharge an AK47 into your twitching corpse ghetto style. “It’s a jungle, I think I’m going under, New Zealand put on 250 for the first wicket and some bitch-assed traffic warden just gave me a ticket, Gaz Gates is keepin’ UK garage outta the charts the spiky- haired muthafu*ker, I think I’m gonna have to smoke some sucka”. The soap star turned black sheep was just playing another role and wasn’t really a hard-core criminal. I’m sure his not so solid mate who broke the jaw of a teenage female fan who rejected his advances was just “getting into ghetto persona” as a PR exercise. These new kids on the gangsta block should switch on to Chuck D and Public Enemy. Don’t Believe the Hype, guys. The dangers of “doing a Westwood” are all too obvious. One minute you’re a nice vicar’s son from Essex, the next some homey’s bustin’ a cap in your ass Tupac-style in a drive-by shooting. Life inevitably imitates art as the Hollywood scriptwriters who created the blueprint for the Islamic terror outrage of Sept. 11th will happily attest. We live in the age of the reality tv and self-fulfilling media prophecy. Imagine a scenario, any scenario. Commit it to vinyl, celluloid or disc and it will eventually come to pass as assuredly, as inexorably and depressingly as death, taxes and the new series of Pop Idol.

On the subject of Sept.11th I thank my lucky stars that old “Mr. Potato Head” himself Tom Hanks wasn’t nominated for a gong this year. Another of his insufferably sanctimonious acceptance speeches suffused with post Sept.11th sentimentality juxtaposed with the Cirque de Soleil, Paul McCartney and Enya would surely have been too much to bear. Cirque de Soleil are the new Torvill and Dean. Mime, dance and gymnastics is a combination which should be prohibited by law and penalised by death. Now showing in the psychological torture unit at Camp X-Ray: “Tom Hanks introduces Cirque de Soleil’s tribute to Sept.11th with a soundtrack by Enya.” Al Qa’ida prisoners no doubt got the full unexpurgated version intercut with Hanks’ 1993 victory speech for Philadelphia, where he accepted the award on behalf of all AIDS victims, the entire gay community and all those who had met their maker with the unforgettably po(tato)-faced tribute “My work is magnified by the fact that the Streets of Heaven are crowded with angels.” You could magnify Hanks’ work with an electron microscope and still not spot any talent.

Did A Beautiful Mind really win best picture? Now Jennifer Connolly certainly provided the beauty but it wasn’t her mind I was interested in. Good to see macho Russell Crowe get his come uppance in the best actor stakes though. If they were handing out awards for surly bully boys he’d be at the head of the queue fighting with the doormen..

But back to the divine Miss Berry. As an actress she’s a trim bit of skirt if not exactly Joan Crawford. To be honest she’s barely Joan Collins but this was the “PC Oscars” after all. I could have sworn I heard someone on Radio 1 today claiming Miss Berry has (retrospectively) paved the way for that geezer who plays Doctor Truman in “Easties” getting a job on the show as a GP rather than as an itinerant vagabond with a propensity for crack cocaine. Maybe I just imagined it but I doubt it.

Now Denzil I can’t argue with. He was the Devil incarnate in Training Day, another movie trippin’ out on that gangsta vibe but the man’s a class act and I don’t give a monkeys whether he’s black, white or leopard print with pink stripes.

If we’re going to continue with this ceremonial charade where the increasingly self-important film community get to patronise an ethnic minority or disadvantaged group each year then let’s hope we get some positive discrimination for the woefully marginalised Italian- American community sometime soon. Another ethnic group condemned to the role of gangster/outlaw in our increasingly homogenised culture. So how come Marty Scorcese, the best director of the last 30 years, hasn’t won an Oscar yet? Let me guess what piece of shit won the Oscar for Best Picture the year of Raging Bull? What masterpiece triumphed when Good Fellas came out? Maybe the Italo-American’s don’t have a PR department like the Afro-Americans have or they haven’t figured out how to pimp the rotting corpse of their popular culture’s stereotypes yet. They’re too busy hangin’ out down “da Bing” eatin’ pasta and listening to the Chairman of the Board no doubt. Surely these guys can get off their wiseguy asses and put the legacy of Sam “OG” Giancana, Santo Trafficante, John Gotti, Al Capone, Don Corleone and co. to work? Who needs to hitch a ride in the back of a ghetto gangsta cadillac when they can cruise up the boulevard on a souped up Cosa Nostra Coupdavil?

And what about surrealist maverick David Lynch? How many gongs were handed out for Mulholland Drive, Lynch’s masterfully oblique and maddeningly obscure study of two fit birds going hard at it? You guessed right film fans. Zilcherooni. Is drinking from the furry cup not fashionable this year? Sexual orientation or skin tone it’s always hard to predict which way the Academy will go. Lynch backed the wrong horse it’s true but can console himself with the reassuring fact that filming hot girl on girl action is always a pleasure and never a chore. Lynch is Dali with hot babes instead of limp time-pieces (a displacement which makes perfect sense in the surrealist universe - introduce some steamy lesbo action and I guarantee you lose your floppy clock syndrome) The inaugural eugene ionesco award for motion pictures has to go to “Mulholland Drive” the sexiest, smartest, most surreal and downright fun film of the year. And Kylie’s ass is nowhere in sight.
Mmmmm. Dave, I think I’ve got an idea for you next flick...

eugene ionesco

Friday, February 22, 2002

When Hell Freezes Over

As I luxuriate in the hot tub at “Casa del eugenio” awaiting the arrival of the latest hot consignment of Playboy bunnies thoughtfully winging their way towards me in my good buddy Hugh “Playcadaver” Hefner’s private jet the mind wanders from the bewitching smorgasbord of interactive curling opportunities provided by BBC Digital and the unspeakable horror of the Cram/Balding interface.

Cram/Balding: if I wanted to watch bogus mating rituals involving uncharismatic goons in comfortable sweaters feigning interest in obscure winter sports I’m sure there’s a dodgy internet site somewhere offering perverts the opportunity to download this sort of thing after mrs.ionesco has gone to bed. Cram/Balding’s clumsy attempts to use dreary ice dance routines as a precursor to stilted foreplay make the McCoist/Yorath combo look as compatible as toast and cheese, surf ‘n’ turf or, my own personal favourite, big breasted babes and AK 47 assault rifles. But I digress...

The Winter Olympics: several weeks of unmitigated tedium watching Baltic biatheletes, Canadian curlers and and Siberian skiers compete in a series of ever more baffling winter pursuits masquerading as sport. Who can doubt that right now in the depths of Camp X-Ray Al Qa’ida prisoners are being subjected to the psychological torture of watching endless reruns of Torvill & Dean’s ice dance routines set to the infernal soundtrack of Ravel’s Bolero?

Still it was nice to see Rhona and the girls sweep their brooms to a gold medal. At the Winter Olympics this harmless activity is called a sport. At Casa del ionesco, as my well-trained Phillipino “home help” will happily attest, it’s called housework.

What about the skeleton though? How we cheered as plucky Brit Alex Coomber propelled us into the medal table by sliding down some ice head first on a tea tray. And an unexpected bronze In the skiing! A trio of medals is apparently our greatest haul since the Jurassic era. Good job we sent a squad of 350!

Looks like lottery funding is finally producing the goods. Another 50 million a year over the next 4 and a quartet of medals surely beckons in 2006. What I want to know is who’s the guy who decides how much cash gets allocated to each sport? Decisions, decisions. Which minority sport will I subsidise today? Dwarf tossing or worm charming? I can bet you it wasn’t like that back in King Arthur’s day. Camelot had loftier aspirations back then. The pursuit of the Holy Grail for one. Well, I guess they gave up the chase for that worthless vessel after they won the licence to perpetrate the lottery scam. Robin Hood in reverse: steal from the poor and give to the rich with a skim off the top for good causes as a PR exercise. I can imagine the descendants of that noble lineage of knights gathered at the round table dividing the spoils. I’m sure it’s like a card game at Sam Giancana’s joint. The house always wins.

Now don't get me wrong. I couldn’t do that job. I’d blow it all on that holy trinity of minority sports: booze, broads and blackjack. They say, “let he who I without sin cast the first stone”. They never tell you the rest: “Once Cliff Richard has had a go let he who is without virtue cast the rest”. So I reckon I’m qualified to comment. Maybe my homey B Surreal could get a job in the profit split department. Granted when the four man bob comes looking for their money he’ll have spazzed it on Bud, mary jane and 1000 dollar hos. My guess is the medal table in 2006 is going to look much the same anyway. On the plus side the poolside party at B’s cabana will have rocked most righteously.

I’d kick minority “sports” into touch and plough all our resources into the proper sport of 22 grown men kicking an inflated sheep’s bladder around a field. Who can doubt some superannuated ice dancing nonentities from Swindon are to blame for our footballing buccaneers plundering their way through Europe with swashbuckling 0-0 draws in Lithuania and pillaging 1-1 draws in the Faroes?

On the subject of authenticity it was good to hear rock dinosaur Elton John berate the spawn of Simon Cowell recently. The interchangeable telegenic foetuses Cowell and his infernal cartel of pop impressarios promote as popstars should be drowned at birth.

How many of them can hold a candle in the wind to the divine Miss Minogue? Not too many I’ll warrant. Ignore the curmudgeons who say she’s just an anodyne automaton. A robobabe with a perfectly sculpted rear passing off bland, formulaic Cathy Dennis penned ditties as post-modern pop confections. Admittedly her ass is so goddamn perfect she undoubtedly delegates her bowel movements to some underpaid lackey / sphincter surrogate. Body swerve those grumblers who say she’s a vacuous pin up girl for the Now Generation whose career has been sponsored by the same fawning feminists, proselytising post-modernists and gay glitterati who elevated Madge from wannabe pop slut with the class of a Coney Island hooker to multi media-corporate ubervixen with the class of a Coney Island hooker. From naive young soap star showcasing the pre-packaged pop pap of pistol packin’ Pete Waterman to superannuated,slinky sex goddess crooning the camp crap of Cowell croney Cathy, Kylie has traversed the broad spectrum of popular music from A to B.

But back to the balding piano player carping from the sidelines: Hey gramps get hip to the trip! Get with the programme why dontcha! I remember back in the day when Ludwig Van won Classical Idol they’d wheel on some old timer who claimed music had been rubbish since the halcyon days of the Gregorian chant and how it’s been downhill all the way since the 11th century.

Before anyone puts forward the misguided notion that Aussie with attitude Natalie Imbruglia is the “thinking man’s Kylie” and that pop music is an infinitely rich and subtly variegated medium which can embrace the “dog ate my giro” earnestness of the Manic Street Preachers AND the frothy pop confections of the divine Miss Minogue let me just say this:

I don’t need my pop idols to consider the implications of the human genome project for Mankind in the 21st century. We’ve got boffins aplenty for that. If in doubt apply the simple but effective “jacuzzi test”. Who would you rather hang out with in the hot tub? Kylie or Bamber Gascoigne? Maybe your idea of fun is to lure Stephen Hawking between the sheets but I’d settle for some perky pop princess’s anodyne aerobicized ass any day.

Keep it surreal

eugene ionesco