Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Swaying on the DLR to Shadwell, I noted someone had scrawled SHILPA SHETTY IS A MUTON on one of the carriage walls. I've never been into Bollywood chicks, personally - are you kidding? Imagine all that fucking singing in the bath. I blame my plushophile tendencies on the Cadbury's Caramel bunny. This was an animated female rabbit who appeared in a series of 1980s TV adverts for a sickly, gooey chocolate bar. My hormones were spewing themselves all over the shop when I was 11. Other kids at school were going through their rites of passage, dressing up in LaCosse shirts, plaid trousers and slip-on shoes and droning on about wanting to fuck Kim Basinger. But Kim did nothing for me, I'd seen better looking roadkill rotting in the sewers of Marsh Farm. I craved the Caramel Bunny, her smooth sort of half-Northern Irish / half-Canuck voice caressing my lugs as she seductively prised the cocoa bar open to reveal a yellowy sweet gunge, which she'd proceed to smear all over the camera. That delicate bob tail, sprouting from her buxom rump, teased me to buggeration and drove me mental with grief - grief that I'd never get to canoodle with the most beautiful and unattainable of all zoomorphs.

I became obsessed and ill. By 13, all my mates had been with prostitutes and were toasting their newfound maculinity by binge drinking and practising wife-bashing on their younger sisters. I remained repulsed by humanoid women, with their waxy pallors, their plucked eyebrows. Their pathetic little shaving sticks! My fantasies about the Caramel Bunny became increasingly extreme. She began to roam the woods in a pair of leather thigh-high boots and a nazi uniform. Lusty hedgehogs shot their wads into the dewy grass as she bent over, her glorious rabbit twat glistening in the sun. By 16, every other male teenager in the neighbourhood was married and moving into their first Barretts Home. I was spending all my money on Sylvanian Families toy sets, smothering Mrs Bear in hot kisses and nibbling on the Badger kids' paws. It was then I started to really worry - am I turning into a paedo?

Luckily, a quick course of ECT sorted me out and I've been into posh, neurotic, uppity little fucking madams ever since. Back to Shadwell - I was attending my second fix of Xylitol live, at the dingy George Tavern. For some reason I turned up about an hour too early, so ended up sitting at a blood-caked table by myself, with just a bunch of Willy Nelson and George Jones records playing in the background. Two other blokes were sitting drinking on their own, in separate parts of the pub. Trust me, there's few things sadder than sitting in a pub on a Friday night, listening to scratchy C&W records with only two lonesome 50 year old men for company. Especially when there's a blonde girl fiddling around with a laptop in the corner. Luckily a drunk came in and spent 20 minutes or so shouting complete rubbish about walking his dog over the top of the putrid Willie Nelson record. Johnny Cash might've been some hip gunslinging rock'n'roll hoodoo outlaw priest to you, I always thought he was just a fat old cowboy my mum liked. A Toby Jug in a wig.

Anyway, this gig was dogged by controversy. Apparently some whinger with nothing better to do has been making a fuss about the fact that Xylitol have recorded a cover version of the Oppressed song "Joe Hawkins". As a result, Jim Bunnyhausen wasn't allowed to perform with a microphone. "This is an outrage!" I fumed, heading for the toilet, slipping on a few decomposing rats and discarded embryos on the way. He started off with "Marike" and, as a gesture of defiance, "Joe Hawkins" swiftly followed. A STRAIGHT COUPLE was sitting on one of the tables, I went and asked them what they thought about this blatant display of electro-scene censorship. The boyfriend, who was about 40, said that he'd never heard of The Oppressed, but that he was familiar with the Leyton Buzzards (rubbish!). His girlfriend, who looked much younger and had a Mediterranean hue about her - ah, so that's it - innocent Sicilian language student corrupted by divorcee English tutor! - sat in silence. Jim was frothing at the nostrils, belting out "Ye Ye Electronique". Suddenly though, a tall woman barged her way up to the makeshift 'stage' and announced that she was Jim's estranged wife!! Apparently they'd got married when he was 16. It didn't last very long, their teenage passion soon evaporated and the fact she'd been into SWP politics and enjoyed Tom Hanks films hadn't helped. Jim raged as his legally betrothed demanded a cut of the profits from sales of his Xylitol "Functionary" CD (which is selling out fast on Warpmart - you'll have to hurry to get the 3" version. Actually, my copy's ultra-rare, it's got "bonus track" after the "Joe Hawkins" track listing, subsequent copies omit this information), as well as half of his record collection! Marriage-don't go there, kids.

But get this - I went back to the DLR at 1am, and the fucking thing wasn't even running! "You've missed the last train back west, it cuts off at half twelve - you'll need to get a bus!", some duffer in a blue jacket quipped."All aboard for Cyprus!" he boomed to an empty carriage. "See the submerged treasures of Pontoon Dock!" "HOW THE FUCK DOES IT CUT OFF AT HALF TWELVE?", I screamed, "IT'S MEANT TO BE A ROBOT TRAIN! YOU SHOULDN'T EVEN BE DRIVING IT, YOU REDUNDANT PIECE OF HUMAN OFFAL!" He told me he was calling the police to charge me with verbal abuse, so I had to walk back to Commercial Road. Luckily, there was some Nigerian student who needed to get back to Finsbury Park, so we went splits on a cab. I tried to tell this tipsy scholar that "West One (Shine on Me)" by The Ruts is the ultimate hymn to the patron saint of getting drunk people home in one piece. Pure poetry it is - Rescue me or here I stay / A traffic island castaway... Unfortunately he didn't know what I was on about. He pressed a tenner into my palm, terror in his eyes, and got out of the cab early, at Old Street.

Robot train my eye.

Monday, January 15, 2007


(Ganesh, as we all know, is the elephant-headed bon vivant who married a banana tree and invented banana beer, and who writes the history of the universe with a broken tusk. This blog, it is now time to reveal, is merely a chapter in his 993,000 trillion-page epic. People assume 'I' write the blog when, in fact, it is written by a god. The wicked architects of Infantilised Britain might do their damndest to trap the cat of Truth in the hessian sack of Distortion, weigh it down with the half-bricks of Conformity and Cowardice and sling it into the canal of Amnesia. But the cat swims to the surface every time and continues to rattle the dustbin lids of Complacency! In fact, the three years of infancy are nearly up, and cometh the hour, cometh the trunk-faced wondergod: WATCH as Ganesh picks up THE EIGHT HAMMERS OF AVANT-IMPLOSION to batter the MATTER out of the milksops, pop tarts, godbods, pseudo-feds, midden-wives, bunglers, skinjobs and blagstabbers who've swamped London in a quagmire of POST-QUISLING QUACKERY)

But before that, a brief confession. In 1989, I emptied the contents of a can of hairspray into the ether. I did this because we'd just been forced to slave over a school geography project on ozone layer depletion, and I fancied the idea of England's beloved village greens mutating into tropical forests. Of course, if I'd known the result would be a flock of fuckwits taking to the streets in shorts and sandals, I wouldn't have bothered - I can't be blamed for these scum - but on behalf of my former self, I'd like to offer my humble and slightly insincere apologies to all victims of last year's heatwave. If I ever come across a cut-price dirty bomb in a suitcase, I'll let it off in Oxford Street and see if I can blow us all back to a cooler nuclear permafrost.

Now, I know most people spent the post-Xmas period 'taking it easy', pouring themselves delicious cups of mint tea and watching "Woebot TV" - a sort of Experimental Music version of the Royal Faraday Xmas Lectures, only without the complicated formulas or child abuse. Right, hold that thought a second - if somebody told you in 1989 that one day you'd be gazing into a computer screen, watching a man with a television set for a head telling you about rare Italian prog rock, you'd have dismissed it as a sick joke. Anyway, I wasn't doing any of that. I was watching the Embassy World Darts competition, one of the few spurts of genuine pleasure I get every January.

I'm going to assume you're all too 'hip' to pretend you've got a clue about darts, so for your benefit, and for the thousands of foreign readers who flock to this spring of information, here's the score. Every January, the UK hosts this world darts tournament. I think the USA sent someone over once, but it's mainly restricted to the English and the Dutch, plus the odd Welsh or Scottish player. The contest whittles down 32 competitors, to eventually leave two in the final. The loser in the final gets £30,000, while the winner picks up £70,000.

I love darts for a number of reasons. Firstly, despite the odd patriotic comment, it's patently obvious that the players couldn't give a fuck about winning for their countries; they're in it for the money. Sportsmanship? Show me a darts player who praises his opponent and I'll wake you up. I find this preferable to the noxious, jingoistic shit spouted by fans of track and field events ((who remain completely oblivious to the fact that athletics is actually based on punishments meted out to prisoners in Coldbath Fields in the early 19th century)).

Secondly, darts is shot through with occultism. It's math-magic. When the players walk onstage, they instantly morph, as if by lycanthropy, into sinister alter-egos. So, Ted Hankey, happily married Telford-based father of two, becomes 'The Count', a vampiric shapeshifter who often makes his entrance by pelting the baying crowd with rubber bats. Steve Beaton is transformed into 'The Adonis' (imagine a fat bloke in a silk black kimono-style shirt, unbuttoned to just above his navel to display a big gold medallion, a 1989 German rockstar haircut and moustache). Martin Adams is 'The Wolf' or 'Wolfie' (I suppose this is because he's got a beard) - this athlete wears a golden wolf's head on a chain around his neck. Andy Fordham is known as 'The Woolwich Viking', cos he lives in Woolwich and is as fat as fuck - with long hair, a beard, cellulitis and a collection of signed Iron Maiden LPs. And so on.

In darts, the players' nicknames consume them, alter them utterly. Eric Bristow, for instance, was known as 'The Crafty Cockney', and to this day his name is associated with all sorts of chicanery and underhand necromantical tricks. Teenage BTI2007 readers will probably be more familiar with his name in reference to a lewd sexual act, the 'Dirty Bristow', which involves a woman licking a man's back passage while flogging his plonker ((simulate the act and you get a pretty neat Eric Bristow impersonation too)). Bristow's nemesis was 'Jocky Wilson', a hard-drinking Scottish warrior bigot, and when the two clashed, there'd be serious anti-sassenach crowd violence.

Every now and then, you get players who don't adopt names - funnily enough, they never seem to win much. One example is Bobby George, who's Guy Ritchie's wettest East End diamond geezer dream come true. Bobby's spent years doing a bizarre impersonation of a cross between Liberace and Mad Frankie Fraser, blowing kisses to the audience while waving a candelabra around with a gold chain-encrusted forearm, and flashing a rictus grin at anyone who dares 'disrespect him' (ie- ask him why he loses all the fucking time). Bobby's the kind of person who, if he ever played a charity match against a blind 5-year old with leukemia, would still thrash the little blighter 10 sets to nil, just so nobody could ever bring up the fact he'd had his arse whipped AGAIN. Some of the names are downright pathetic, John 'Boy' Walton being a case in point.

Are you still here, reading this? You sad losers! What's your problem? At least I've just discovered I'm a Hindu god, it's some sort of excuse....anyway, last night I watched the final, which was held between Martin 'Wolfie' Adams and Phil 'Nixy' Nixon. 'Nixy' is some old bloke who got made redundant and decided to while away his time as a househusband by learning to play darts, and so, in that schmaltzy UK 'back the underdogs' tradition, everyone wanted him to win. When I say everyone, I obviously mean darts commentator Tony Green ((Jim Bowen's sidekick on Bullseye - yes, the one who used to shout "INNN ONE" - you lazy, post-ironic student bastards)), and possibly Bobby 'Dazzler' George.

I won't waste any time describing the match, suffice to say, Adams came out onstage to Duran Duran's Hungry Like The Wolf, while 'Nixy' shuffled out to the tired and predictable thump of Queen's We Will Rock You. Anyway, "Wolfie" gave "Nixy" the pounding he deserved. Within an hour, "Wolfie" was up 6 sets to nil, with just one to go. The athletes slouched off for a short break and a slug of pale ale. As they came back on, Bobby George was gushing, "THERE AIN'T NO WAY NIXY'S COMIN' BACK FROM THAT...NOT UNLESS 'IS NAME'S 'OUDINI!" The camera panned into the audience and picked up on a little girl, spilling crisps from her mouth. "THAT" deadpanned Tony Green "IS A GIRL...AND SHE'S HUNGRY".

And then, Green says it; the incantation that throws this one-sided massacre of a match into complete chaos. "NIXY...THE PIPES OF PAN GO WITH YOU". And what happens next? Phil Nixon turns around and starts beating "Wolfie" into submission. Suddenly the score's 6-1. Then 6-3. Then 6-5. Then they're even. Tony Green, adept occultist, has dabbled with the match, meaning an entire nation has to suffer another half fucking hour of this spectacle.

"Wolfie"'s wife, close to tears, left the potently charged psychic battleground at 6-6, and locked herself in the toilet. We can only assume that she performed some ritual in the Ladies, because by the time she emerged, the balance of chaos had shifted, and "Wolfie" finished off the boring, runty "Nixy", and was crowned world champion. Of the Embassy World Championships anyway, I think there's some other league, which is probably the 'real' one. But tell me, is there any other sport in the world where witchcraft is deployed so brazenly? Could you imagine Ajax beating Middlesboro 2-0, only for Mick McCarthy to gurn "BORO...THE PIPES OF PAN GO WITH YOU"?? Could you fuck, McCarthy couldn't even finish a sentence in less than nine hours.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I did a West Belfast bus tour at the beginning of the week. You pay a tenner and they take you around like a numpty on an open-top double decker. It was pretty cold, only me and a group of mental Taiwanese kids went for the ride. I only jumped on this jaunt cos I wanted to see the paramilitary murals close up, but far be it from me to withhold information from the masses, so here are some intriguing Belfast facts I picked up from the bloke with burst bloodvessels who was delivering the tour spiel;

* 60s singer Ruby Murray grew up on the same estate as binge drinking snooker star Alex Higgins

* The rubbish blue ceramic fish behind the Albert Clock is called 'the Salmon of Knowledge'. Apparently, like the accursed 'Blarney Stone', idiot tourists sometimes kiss the fish

* The first office to ever install air conditioning - like, ever, in the whole world - was located in Belfast

* The Europa is the most bombed hotel in Europe (38 times, apparently)

By the time we got to the Shankill Road, the Taiwanese kids were getting over-excited and yapping at each other. I was trying to make out the writing on one of the Ulster Young Militants murals, when the tour guide flicked his thumb at my fellow passengers and muttered to me, "I don't know why I bother sometimes. I really don't." I think he was a Catholic; he made some quip about the mural of the queen mother; "Look at the wonky eyes," he said gleefully "Either she's been on the gin...or the artist has!" Loyalists NEVER take the piss out of the royal parasites.

There's not a great deal of hardcore IRA graffitti on the Falls Road, funnily enough; more anti-Bush stuff, Free Palestine, Don't Attack Iran, Malcolm X and Ghandi. Plenty of hunger strikers stuff, though the Prods seemed way more into their guns and balaclavas and blood-drenched roses and clenched fists. The Taiwanese kids started kicking off again when we passed a former British army spy post. "We had 2 Spanish on board yesterday, and they wouldn't shut up", the bloke moaned at me. "It's the bane of a tour guide's life. I didn't know 2 people could make so much noise". I nearly jumped off the bus at the Sinn Fein office, there was a pub nearby. The Peace Line Pub Crawl - there's an idea for a night out. We could keep crossing over the Peace Line, til we've drunk in every single bar on each side. I doubt there'd be any trouble. The Prods would bang on about how English people don't support them enough and how Blair's a stooge of the Marxist IRA, and the nationalists would just ask you 5,000 questions about which part of your Ireland your fictional great great grandmaw came from.

So, time for an assessment - who's better? The mutoid sons of King Billy or the bastard children of the Pope?

OK, leaving the politics aside and concentrating on drawing skills; the Fenians are technically a lot better skilled at drawing faces and hands. There's a very impressive pic of Bush guzzling blood from a Palestinian camp, that looked a bit like a Steve Bell cartoon, and the famous Bobby Sands one is a joy to behold close-up. The Prods strive for slightly more highbrow art, and go more for that 70s cheap commemorative mug effect. A lot of the Falls Road looks like it could be a good backdrop to an anti-capitalism carnival. However, in terms of generating an atmosphere of suppressed violence, the UDA/ UVF artists clearly know what they're doing, and so the Protestants win! I didn't take any pictures, I didn't want to hang off the edge of the bus with a camera and have kids shouting "G'AWAY, YE BIG AMERICAN GOBSHITE" at me.

Next week - Sunni vs Shia

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