Monday, June 23, 2008


Why is it that in over 30 years, the phenomenon of Numbers Stations has gone almost totally unreported? What are the agencies behind the Numbers Stations, and why are the eastern European stations still on the air? Why does the Czech republic operate a Numbers Station 24 hours a day? How is it that Numbers Stations are allowed to interfere with essential radio services like air traffic control and shipping without having to answer to anybody? Why does the “Swedish Rhapsody” Numbers Station use a small girl's voice?

When Iridal-Discs released "THE CONET PROJECT" CD set back in the early 2000s, there was no shortage of suckers willing to fork out their hard earned on nearly 5 hours' worth of unlistenable dross. Thanks to Soulseek, more discerning punters were able to check this complilation out for free (by 'check out', I mean 'delete the entire download list after playing the first three or four tracks'). By Irdial's own admission, 'nobody' knows what purpose the numbers stations serve, or who operates them - but this doesn't stop the label blatantly packaging "THE CONET PROJECT" as a series of highly sinister spy broadcasts, black operations concocted by faceless government agencies.

For years, radio enthusiasts have been recording these obscure announcements and pontificating over what it all means. If you've ever pleasured yourself fiddling around with your shortwave knob, you may well have heard a few of these dull broadcasts yourself. The contrived paranoia surrounding the marketing of this release suggests that the buyer is accessing some dark, secret mystery but, as with all good industrial schtick, the buyer stands scant chance of stumbling across the TRUTH.

But BEYOnd thE IMPlode can finally reveal all! Yes, after some extensive research (a few emails and a chat with Ian Curtis on the ouija board, actually), I can now toss the soiled bra of SUPERSTITION into the Hotpoint of LOGIC, apply the dissolvable bio-tablets of REASON and, an hour later, pull out the gleaming white undergarment of ENLIGHTENMENT. That's correct - Irdial are doing nothing more than flogging recordings of international BINGO CALLING STATIONS.

Bingo was a lot more popular back in the 60s, 70s and 80s than it is now, and a series of stations were set up globally to cash in on the craze. Punters would buy bingo cards 'under the counter', from various newsagents and street vendors, and then tune in to specified frequencies, to listen to their numbers being called. True, in those pre-National Lottery days, almost all of these stations operated without a license and were technically 'illegal' but, for those 'in the know', they weren't that hard to find.

But what about that track with the Soviet jammers whistling over the top? you wail. Oh, and you know that they're Soviet jammers - how exactly? I suppose you did a bit of cash-in-hand for the KGB during your gap year? Those high-pitched twitters and tweets aren't jammers - they're announcing that some lucky player's just landed Full House!

But the stations are harder to find these days than they were 20 years ago! Well, bingo's declined in popularity, duh! It's easier to bag a license now and do the whole thing online - google "SEAFARERS LOTTO MALTA" if you don't believe me. But most people now couldn't care less about this once noble pastime.

But...but..the little girl's's creepy! Oh for fuck's sake, how do you KNOW it's a 'little girl'? Did you actually see her? Have you never met a woman with a high-pitched or child-like voice? And what bearing has it got on the whole affair anyway?

From the Irdial website:

Everyone on earth is connected to everyone else; it only takes six
steps to get from any one person to any other person on the planet,
hence the phrase 'Six Degrees of Separation'. If this really is the
case, then we should be able to track down people who worked in
Numbers Stations from the last three decades, simply by deploying the
special cards that we have produced.

Hopefully the people that we are able to locate (and that are willing
to divulge their secrets to us) will have kept a private, detailed
record of what they did, the decisions that were made, who made them,
why, and everything else we are keen to know. We may finally find out
why a little girl's voice was thought to be appropriate for use in a
Numbers Station!

What special cards have Irdial 'deployed' - bingo calling cards? And what secrets are these shadowy bingo masters meant to divulge? That dark night in Manila when Mrs Santiago won 400 Filipino bucks for completing a row? And will you stop banging on about the 'little girl' already.

Of course, I suppose some occultist prat might make something of the fact that, in bingo caller terminology, the number 23 translates as "THEE AND ME"...but I'm not trying to resuscitate this decaying urban myth with an equally tedious "worldwide Satanic conspiracy" angle - merely to point out that, for the past six or seven years, Irdial's been making a packet from selling people recordings of pirate radio bingo sessions. Of course, some of these recordings aren't without a certain 'quaint' charm - the badly played Casio interpretation of "THE LINCOLNSHIRE POACHER" is quite amusing, while the Italian bingo stations went for a sterner sounding, militaristic signature, to announce "EYES DOWN". But Irdial really should stop pushing "THE CONET PROJECT" as a glimpse into the world of clandestine Cold War communications - and instead admit that it's just another cheap nostalgia trip for the 21st century consumer's head.

(Originally pitched to 'The Wire' in a kebab shop in 2007 - told by the editor to fuck off)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Seeing as I couldn't give a toss about Euro 2008, apart from the Russia games, here's a bit of poetry for your cultural advancement:.


When I spotted her
Cloven hooves, I pulled out of
Her sulphuric snatch



I SAID whip my arse
And tell me I'm shit: not take
My bloody skin off



Yes! Fuck you, Fred West
Shit plumber! Least my offspring
Bore me some grandkids!



Sorry for smacking
You in the face with this bat -
You're quite cute, you see



Playing my Sutcliffe
Jugend LP, I twig: I've
Never met a bird



Funnily enough
It's not so unlike Kwiksave
No Frills orange juice



You had to ruin it
By taking off your rubber
Hood. You look like dad.



Jesus cursed my cock
Your tits popped out, Allah wept
Blasphemous bunk-up!



The worst was with Sting:
The tantric was OK, but
God, the post-shag tunes...


So this is it? The
Mile High Club's just a handjob?
Is this RyanAir?

Thursday, June 05, 2008


The 'Seven Songs' meme BILLOWS its toxic course across BLOGSITLAND, like a sickly GUST of warm, yellow air from a sanitorium laundry VENT-SHAFT. I tried to keep my head down...however, none shall escape- MISTER FLYPIP from "SIT DOWN MAN YOU'RE A BLOODY TRAGEDY" has wafted the MIASMA this way.

Terribly charming lad, Flypip. Knows his buildings inside out. A fearless DLR adventurer and, oh! how well I remember the balmy night I clonked Dr Pigge on the hooter. Any excuse to bring up that sordid incident (again). I'd never manhandled a philosopher before - I just pray the two of them become ultra-famous in academic circles, so I can trot that story out, again and again, ad nauseam, the details changing with each telling. By 2011, you'll be hearing how I walked into the bar, clutching a broken bottle, and tore Zizek ((who was armed with a plank of wood, with a rusty nail sticking out of one end))) a new gobhole when he gave my William Burroughs paperback a 'funny look'.

But back to Flypip - the tyrant's foe, the people's friend. Could have spared me the meme - but orders are orders. Declining a meme is a bit like refusing a toast during a Russian Bloody Mary bender. Sensible, but very bad form. Being 'honest', I'll tell you exactly what I was playing a lot of last week, though it's fairly unremarkable ie- no fresh grime tunes, no obscure Italian electro, nothing to get you in a tizz. No links to the actual tunes, as you'd expect.

1) NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS - "The Curse of Millhaven"

Some folk might find it disturbing that I'd get a joyous Springtime rush from a song about a psychotic teenage girl who kicks off a child-murder spree in her one-horse town, before landing up in an asylum, unrepentant to the end, grinning inanely on a diet of Rorschach and Prozac. Personally, I find it disturbing that adverts for the Sex and the City film are being flashed around town. Our cultural and moral 'betters' parade this filth before our childrens' eyes - but then they turn around and ban films that kids truly cherish and enjoy, like ones about samurai warriors hacking ninjas to pieces, or a mad werewolf preying on nuns!

Sex and the City was just On the Buses for boring saleswomen with ADD, only I'd rather watch Olive coming off the motorbike sidecar (again) and speeding towards some Highlands brass band ((inexplicably passing through Perivale, or wherever the fucking bus depot was located)) than some shrill twittering HARPY, going, "So, I hooked up with Chip at the Gluckenspout Museum of Fine Arts...and was wondering what Brock would say, if he ever discovered I'd pawned his Thanksgiving long as I didn't run into Tree or Arm...I guess this is what Jewish moms call..." OH PLEASE, PLEASE, SUCK ON SARIN. Listen, Sex and the City is by cunts, for cunts, starring a pack of cunts. If there was a male equivalent, the 'gang' would be a BNP councillor who masturbates 6 times a day, a 49-year old estate agent who gave his wife chlamydia, a burnt out acid casualty with a Tolkein fixation, and Charles Shaar Murray. It's a fucking despicable indictment of Western culture. Next time you're passing a cinema, and you see "Sex and the City" playing, do humanity a favour. Block off all the fire exits and lob in a molotov.

Runners-up for seasonal Bad Seeds song would have to beDeanna - I remember hating this when I heard it years ago, because it sounded so upbeat and doo-wop, but now I think it's hilarious - or the mighty Scum, which, quite frankly, if musicians insist on writing songs about coked-up NME hacks, is the way to do it.

2) THE POGUES - "Streams of Whiskey"

Look this up on YouTube. Seriously, you won't regret it. One of the best music videos ever.

Oh fuck it, you lazy swine, here: I'll stick it up for you. The sound and sights of Kings X/Camden, then untainted by Yuppie Snakeoil.

3) JIMMY CLIFF - "The Harder They Come"

When reggae bores get halfway through a bottle of plonk and start banging on about how it was all so much better in the old days, before all these rubbish ragga and jungle acts came along, back when you could go and see Rodigan spin a couple of Horace Andy dubplates for the price of a saltfish supper, etc, you just want to batter them to death with a hardback copy of People Funny Boy by David Katz ((better than reading the bloody thing, "boy")). But when I hear this song, with its glorious organ swirls, while watching torrents of rain soak the London pavements, I think, maybe they're not completely wrong.

4) SUEDE - "So Young"

Somewhere...there's a pack of Kodak-processed pictures in a dusty orange envelope. A girl with a Tesco bag over her head, waiting for the peroxide to kick in. Some scruffy punk idiots playing frisbee in a park with Pakistani kids. A pseudo-skinhead, meek as a lamb, throwing poses with cans of Special Brew and pulling faces as he sprawls across a tatty carpet. A phantom in a white, cracked helmet, visor down, clinging onto a Honda-250 with a massive red 'L' affixed to the front by gaffer tape. Girls out on a hen night. A long-haired grunge fan with NHS specs, trying to look cool as he puffs on a Marlboro. A girl pulling a chickenburger apart with her fingers. A couple smoking fags in a photo booth, honestly thinking they'll last beyond 12 months (lucky to get past the fourth snap). A skinny lecher with a photofit face. Two fools in Abercrombies, pretending to be the Pogues, in a Cricklewood boozer. A Jamaican Arsenal fan in a yellow JVC shirt, with dislocated hands making 'wanker' gestures behind his head.

If you ever find this packet, do humanity a favour. Throw it back in the canal.

5) BLAGGERS ITA - "Wild Side"

God, it really is old bloody stuff I've been listening to lately. This is from way back before 'indie' bands started acting like shy children and singing mournful dirges about losing 50p on the tube (( and then checking into rehab because they can't handle a speed comedown)). An ode to the 'lost' British art of RAMRAIDING ((though you could argue that Ireland started it)), when kids didn't go around stabbing each other ((oh sorry, yeah, they did actually)), instead opting to nick motors, drive them into retail stores at 3 in the morning, and grab as much swag as they could. Brand new Stone Island jacket, £200 indeed! "We've got 40 in the boot, yours for a pony". Dixons shareholders grimace as another store in Tyneside acquires a gaping hole in its frontage, in exchange for a stack of TVs and stereos.

Pedestrianised town centres, that put an end to it. Yeah, seriously kids, Blaggers ITA used to beat up nazis and journalists, which is better than writing songs complaining about them. You won't get that with Scouting for fucking Girls ((are they aware how their band name comes across? 'Scouting for Girls' sounds like something some shrivelled, nasty estate agent dwarves do in Covent Garden nightclubs, armed with vials of GHB)).

6) THE SWAMINARYAN TEMPLE - various Scottish traditional

So, speaking of Scottish marching bands inexplicably appearing on the streets of London....a couple of Sunday nights ago, I heard a salvo of drums, and then a bagpipe sound its keening wail ("Yeah, whatever" - a reader). I looked out onto the street, expecting to see some sort of street procession or march, before I realised - it was coming from the Hindu temple. No shit - I hung out of the window, rain spattering against my face, the drums rolling in sonic waves across the breeze. They were playing Scotland the Brave.

What the hell was this? I'll be straight with you - my knowledge of Hinduism's a lot more shakey than I make out. Yeah, I like to gob off about how I've drunk banana beer with Ganesh, and how I once kicked Kali up the arse...but the truth is, most of what I know about this religion was gleaned from watching Mahabharat on BBC2 on Sunday nights. I've known Hindus, but they never wanted to talk about their backgrounds - they were more concerned with being away from home, getting drunk, going to gigs, losing their virginity...all the stuff we used to do and take for granted.

But then - just as I'm getting over this culture shock....The Skye Boat Song emanates from the temple. The drums are clattering, the bagpipes cutting through the chill air. A balding Indian bloke with a pot belly is having a fag outside. I haven't seen any Highlanders come in or out, just the odd cluster of Hindus. Or Swaminaryans, or whatever. All I know is that, right now, this is...perfect. The wind picks up, rain zig-zags through the dying light, the drums vibrate across the street, the bagpipes howl. It's like being on a jetty, the temple a massive warship, preparing to cast itself from North West London, to sail into storms and unchartered waters.

No recording of the event, no description, will do it justice. I couldn't whip out a crappy Nokia and record a soundfile. I was just glad to waste the best part of 2 hours gawping out of the window and soaking up the noise.

So, what's the score? Were they just experimenting? Having a jam, before they got down to the serious business of laying down ragas? Was the Swaminaryan tradition born in ancient Caledonia? Was Bonnie Prince Charlie an Indian?

7) LOVE - "My Flash on You"

I used to FUCKING HATE Love. An old flatmate got into "Forever Changes" years ago, and would wind me up by playing it non-stop. Smug, meaningless hippie garbage for social workers, I told him, but he'd just cackle and stick it on again.

So I was really surprised to discover that when Arthur Lee wasn't cavorting with flower children, LSD-addled psychos and the kind of fuckwits who (rightly) ended up glugging Kool Aid in Guyana, he was actually capable of writing very decent proto-punk songs, with buzzsaw basslines and snotty 'fuck-you' platitudes. Not often, mind. But, alongside their jerky, whizzed-up cover of "Hey Joe", this tune is really great. I'd still rather listen to a screaming baby on a long-haul flight than one second of "Forever Changes" again, though.

Right, I'm done. It's at this point that people usually say, "WELL, I THINK EVERYONE ELSE HAS ALREADY DONE THIS, SO I WON'T BOTHER TAGGING ANYONE!" And then the meme fizzles out...well, you know...last man in, and all that...late to the game..

No FUCKING way are you getting out of it that easily! As I mentioned, rejecting a meme has seriously bad implications. To decline the tag makes you a coward, a cuckold and a COCKATRICE - and that's just the women! So, fuck it. If you've already done the meme, and I tag you below, well... you'll just have to fucking do it again. won't you! Yes! I'll teach you to send memes round my way...over and over again, tagged for eternity, the Seven Songs meme crushing your lungs with its vicious, pungent stench! A cycle without end! So, I'll tag -

1) John Eden
2) Kid Shirt
3) Dr Pigge
4) Betty's Utility Room
5) Danny
6) Doppelganger
7) Neil Transpontine

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