Key Posts | Anorak - Part 30

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The Documerica Project: photos of Chicago’s black community in the 1970s

IN the 1970s, the US Government created Documerica Project (1971-1977). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life in the 1970s.

John H White was one of nearly one hundred photographers hired for DOCUMERICA. His photographs captured the spirit and struggle of the African-American community in Chicago, Illinois in the early 70’s.

The captions are the original texts:


Sidewalk Merchandise On Chicago’s South Side. Many Of The City’s Black Businessmen Started Small And Grew By Working Hard Today Chicago Is Believed To Be The Black Business Capital Of The United States, 06/1973




Graffiti On A Wall In Chicago. Such Writing Has Advanced And Become An Art Form, Particularly In Metropolitan Areas. Black Artists Also Have Used Walls On Buildings In Black Communities In Chicago To Paint Outdoor Murals. They Feel It Is A Means Of Sharing Art With People In The Ghetto Who Don’t Go To The Museums. The Artists Also Have Given Painting Lessons To Community Groups By Decorating Walls On Some Buildings In Their Communities, 05/1973



Street Scene On 47th Street In South Side Chicago, A Busy Area Where Many Small Black Businesses Are Located, 06/1973



Black Beauties Complement A Float During The Bud Billiken Day Parade, 08/1973


isaac hayes

Isaac Hayes Dancers Perform At The International Amphitheater In Chicago, 10/1973


chicago 1970s


Black Children Play Outside The Ida B. Wells Homes, One Of Chicago’s Oldest Housing Projects. There Are 1,652 Apartments Housing 5,920 Persons In 124 Buildings On The South Side. Many Buildings In This Part Of The City Have Been Systematically Vacated For Various Reasons. Even Though Many Are Salvageable, They Are Razed And Replaced With High Rent Highrises Which Have Little Or No Appeal To The Area’s Previous Residents, 05/1973



Worshippers At Holy Angel Catholic Church On Chicago’s South Side. It Is The City’s Largest Black Catholic Church. The Pastor Is Father George H. Clements, A Leader In The Black Community, 10/1973



Illinois Governor Dan Walker Greets Chicago Constituents During The Bud Billiken Day Parade, 08/1973


 Black Products And Services Was One Of The Themes At The Annual Black Expo Held In Chicago. Also Present Were Black Art And Culture, Education, Talent, A Voter Registration Drive And Other Aspects Of Black Consciousness. The Aim Is To Make Blacks Aware Of Their Heritage And Capabilities, And Help Them Towards A Better Life, 10/1973

Black Products And Services Was One Of The Themes At The Annual Black Expo Held In Chicago. Also Present Were Black Art And Culture, Education, Talent, A Voter Registration Drive And Other Aspects Of Black Consciousness. The Aim Is To Make Blacks Aware Of Their Heritage And Capabilities, And Help Them Towards A Better Life, 10/1973


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A Black Band Performs At The Lake Meadows Shopping Center In Chicago. Not Well Known, They Are Sharing Their Music At Home And Hope Their Start Will Lead To Greater Recognition, 08/1973


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Black Muslim Women Dressed In White Applaud Elijah Muhammad During The Delivery Of His Annual Savior’s Day Message In Chicago. The City Is Headquarters For The Black Muslims. Their $75 Million Empire Includes A Mosque, Newspaper, University Restaurants, Real Estate, Bank And Variety Of Retail Stores Muhammad Died February 25, 1975, 03/1974


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“The Fruit Of Islam”, A Special Group Of Bodyguards For Muslim Leader Elijah Muhammad, Sit At The Bottom Of The Platform While He Delivers His Annual Savior’s Day Message In Chicago, 03/1974



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The Rev. Jesse Jackson Speaks On A Radio Broadcast From The Headquarters Of Operation Push, At Its Annual Convention. One Of The Aims Of The Organization Is To Open The World Of Business To Small Black Owned Businesses. Rev. Jackson Is Credited For Helping To Make Chicago The Black Banking Capital In The Country. He Helped Persuade White Companies To Stop Taking Profits They Earned From Black Consumers To The White Suburbs, 07/1973


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 Vote Registration Drive Was One Aspect Of Black Expo, An Annual Exhibit Of Black Talent, Education, Products And Other Aspects Of Black Consciousness Held In Chicago. The Aim Is To Make Blacks Aware Of Their Heritage And Capabilities, And Help Them Towards A Better Life, 10/1973


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 Black Man Operating A Newsstand In Chicago On The West Side The City Is Believed To Be The Black Business Capital Of The United States. Census Figures Show In 1970 There Were 8,747 Black Owned Businesses In The City That Grossed More Than $332 Million. But Black Capitalists Still Have More Trouble Staying In Business Once They Begin And The Main Reason Remains Racial Prejudice. Lack Of Capital Lack Of Business Expertise And Lack Of Support From The Black Community Are Other Factors, 06/1973



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Black Youngsters Performing On An Empty Lot At 5440 South Princeton Avenue On Chicago’s South Side At A Small Community Program Called “an Open Air Fashion And Talent Show” Presented By “the New Between The Tracks Council”, A Community Block Group. It Is One Of Many Block Clubs And Community Groups Organized To Help Youngsters “do Their Thing” During Special Weekend Programs In Empty Lots In The Black Communities, 08/1973



chicago 1970s 2

 Black Beauties With Colorful Hair Grace A Float During The Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade Along Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive On Chicago’s South Side. Up To Half A Million People View One Of The Largest Events Of The Year, Held For Blacks Of All Ages And Economic Status. The Parade Also Includes Black Politicians, Black Businesses Displaying Their Products And Black Bands, 08/1973


chicago 1970s 1


Chicago Ghetto On The South Side. Although The Percentage Of Chicago Blacks Making $7,000 Or More Jumped From 26 To 58% Between 1960 And 1970, A Large Percentage Still Remained Unemployed. The Black Unemployment Rate Generally Is Assumed To Be Twice That Of The National Unemployment Rate Published Monthly By The Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 05/1974


Posted: 29th, July 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, News, Photojournalism | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Caroline Criado-Perez: twitter trolls and narks show us how police bigotry works


DO the police use an even hand when confronting the Twitter mob in full cry? When Caroline Criado-Perez decried the Bank of England decided to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on new £5 notes – this meant no women, save for The Queens, were on bank notes – she and others who campaigned for equality on folding money brought about a change of heart.

The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, caved in to pressure and announced that Jane Austen is going on the £10 note.

This brought Criado-Perez to attention of the Twitter brains trust, some of whom called for her to be raped and murdered.


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Posted: 28th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Thom Yorke and Johnny Lynch entirely misunderstand Spotify and online music


THIS is one of those newspaper pieces where you have to check that the people are still living on the same planet as the rest of us. They’re talking about whether Spotify is paying enough in royalties to the musicians who produce the work. Yet they manage to miss the most basic point about the whole subject:

Spotify is selling a lie, though. In this post-Napster world, the pressure is on for new independent artists to have their music sit alongside massive acts – but we’re not getting anything back. We are told that it’s good exposure, and will lead to increased album and ticket sales, but this simply isn’t the case.

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Posted: 26th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, Money, Music, Technology | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The best British Jaegers – the Pacific Rim challenge

WHAT if Pacific Rim was set in Britain? Yeah. Pacific Rim? As if. First off, no-one would have been able to stop sniggering. And second, well, the sniggering right. But let’s imagine. In the film the characters are called Jaegers. (Yeah. Like the middle-class, provincial fashion outlets). Almost all these Jaegers have two two-noun names created in a Tokyo language school randomiser: Brawler Yukon; Coyote Tango, Solar Prophet and the excellent Gipsy Danger.

Warner Bros’ build-your-own-Jaeger toy lets you create your own:

british jaeger irn

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Posted: 26th, July 2013 | In: Film, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The decline of man: the steady emasculation of our role models

THE decline of Man: modern man is in a state of crisis, reared on a diet of creams, depilated, patent skin and self-tanning unguents. Here, Anorak looks at the fall of manhood.

Actor George Clooney arrives at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday Jan. 13, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)


“I never fixed my eyes, but I spent more money to stretch the skin of my testicles. I did not like the wrinkles. It’s a new technique, many people in Hollywood have done it. It’s called ‘ball ironing’.”

It is generally assumed that George Clooney was joking when he delivered the above quote. One thing is true, though: ‘ball ironing’ (or ‘male laser lift’) is available at the Beauty Park in Santa Monica for just under $600, and it is proving very popular.

Clooney may not have had the treatment himself, but his familiarity with it is cause for concern. It’s just the latest in a series of milestones in the steady emasculation of our role models. And the rot set in, as it so often did, in the 1950s.


Dennis Compton

Library file 71904-3 dated 1958 of (l/r) John Mills, Dennis Compton, Burt Lancaster and Frankie Vaughan.

Compton (second left, with Burt Lancaster and Frankie Vaughan) was a brilliant batsman with a Test average of 50 (including over 200 runs in one match against South Africa using an antique bat borrowed from the cricket museum). He also found time to play football for Arsenal, with whom he won both the league championship and the FA Cup. Unfortunately, he also became the face of Brylcreem, and set the tone for future generations of sportsmen to dabble in the darker corners of male grooming.

Man3 (1)


Elvis Presley


Presley offended people in numerous ways –not least with his habit of wearing eye makeup. None of which stopped him from being drafted into the US Army. Here the prospective GI sits his written military exam, in slightly more discreet slap.

Singer Elvis Presley, 21, takes his pre-induction written examination as he is processed for the U.S. Army in Memphis, Tenn., Jan. 4, 1957. (AP Photo)


Henry Cooper

As deodorant manufacturers attempted to broaden their appeal to the male half of the population, they recruited macho sporty types like Our ’Enery (’ere wiv’ ’Arvey Smiff) who here advertises Brut with the immortal slogan ‘Splash it all over’.


Ron Atkinson

Big Ron: The Sunbed Years.

Man6 (1)


Graham Gooch

Graham Gooch, Essex

In his playing days as opening bat for England, ‘Goochy’ sported an imperial moustache and resembled an officer at Rourk’s Drift. His subsequent hair transplant came as something of a shock – and led to a series of rather defensive gestures. Defensive, not about the fact of the transplant, but the quality of the weave itself.

Here Gooch, as the official caption puts it, ‘test[s] his hair replacement treatment in a Central London health Gym, to disprove claims that the treatment does not work. The former England captain is at the centre of an disgreement, after a client of AHS (Advanced Hair Studio) along with the Advertising Standards Authority claimed that adverts claiming that Gooch could swim, shower, and play sport with his hair treatment were wrong and misleading.’

The former Essex and England cricket star Graham Gooch , lets British athlete Sarah Wilhelmy (left) and model Helena Boyko, test his hair replacement treatment in a Central London health Gym, to disprove claims that the treatment does not work.   * The former England captain is at the centre of an disgreement, after a client of AHS (Advanced Hair Studio) along with the Advertising Standards Authority claimed that adverts claiming that Gooch could swim, shower, and play sport with his hair treatment were wrong and misleading.


David Beckham

Manchester United and England star David Beckham following in the footsteps of Denis Compton after announcing his sponsorship deal with Brylcreem. The football star has signed a minimum two year deal with the hair product range.

The signs were there as a young boy, when he enjoyed wearing knickerbockers and ballet shoes. Later we had his own take on Brylcreem advertising (above) and experiments with sarongs. His nomination here, however, is for his championing of the ‘back. sack and crack’ – the logical conclusion of the waxing mania that overtook British manhood in the twenty-first century.

Luis Figo

Deserves his place here for his role in the general poncification of older men, with his truly terrible Just For Men advertisement – a product for disguising grey hair and beards and allowing old men to kid themselves that they are attractive to women half their age.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand

AKA: Ronaldo and Rio in hotpants hell. What were they thinking? Seriously?


Shane Warne


He held his hands up to the hair transplant, and fair play to him for that, but Shane’s explanation for his subsequent transformation into a taught-faced waxwork is altogether less convincing: he attributed it to ‘good moisturiser’. Others spoke of botox, facelifts and teeth whitening. Wherefore art thou, Warney-o?

Leinster Rugby


The citadel falls. Once upon a time the best you could hope for in a rugby union changing room was a bar of coal tar soap and a turd in your kit bag. Now you are more likely to find a range of hair and skin care products. Leinster Rugby are now sponsored by Nivea for Men. Or should that be ‘Men’?

O tempora, o mores!

Man14 (1)


Posted: 24th, July 2013 | In: Celebrities, Fashion, Key Posts, Sports | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Brands use the royal baby to flog their crap – the best and worst examples of desperate marketing

ASK not what your  can do for your future King but what your future King can do for you. Kate Middleton and Prince William’s son is but a few hours old and already he’s working  hard:



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Posted: 22nd, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, Royal Family, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Hyperflesh masks of Jack Nicholson, Ron Jeremy, Mike Tyson, Barack Obama and Charlie Sheen

OI, big head, you’ve got a  hyperflesh masks of Jack Nicholson, Ron Jeremy, Mike Tyson, Barack Obama and Charlie Sheen head.


Spotter: BlessThisStuff, Landon Meier

Posted: 22nd, July 2013 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Artichoke: Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson are a vegetable sculpture

ONCE upon a time, Charles Saatchi was a figure of mystery,  a man who sold us the Conservative Party and told us that a pickled, halved shark in a vat of preservative was high art. Then he married TV cook Nigella Lawson, grabbed her throat in public and became a celebrity and tabloid mainstay. Now, in tribute to the great art collector’s life in ink and formaldehyde, an artist at the Lambeth fair has created Artichoke, a  celebration of Nige and Chas in vegetables:

saatchi nigella chjoke art



Posted: 22nd, July 2013 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Passports of the rich, famous and enviably photogenic

EVERYONE, save for her blessed Majesty The Queen, needs a passport to travel overseas.  (A British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, so it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one.) This mean that Her Majesty need not pose for the dreaded passport photo – small relief given that her head is scrutinised on coinage and stamps.

Britishers applying for a passport should submit an exacting photograph:

Your photo may be rejected unless it shows you:

facing forward and looking straight at the camera
with a neutral expression and your mouth closed
without anything covering the face
in clear contrast to the background
without a head covering (unless it’s worn for religious or medical reasons)
with eyes open, visible and free from reflection or glare from glasses
with your eyes not covered by sunglasses, tinted glasses, glasses frames or hair
without any shadows in the picture

In this gallery of passports, we see how the rich and famous coped with posing for tiny picture that would be scrutinised by lantern-jawed officialdom.


Passports issued in the 1950s to John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kenned.

The stamps forms an almost perfect target about his head. 

Passports issued in the 1950s to John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy are seen in this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005, in New York. The passports are among the nearly 2,000 lots in a massive collection of Kennedy memorabilia to be sold by Guernsey's auction house in New York Dec. 13-17. (AP Photo/Aaron Jackson)


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Posted: 19th, July 2013 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Pictures of famous people posing with animals

FAMOUS people and animals. Do the pets make the famous faces look more of less lovable? Are the pets just props?

Sofia Loren




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Posted: 19th, July 2013 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pictured at the moment of his capture beats Rolling Stone for cool and iconic

 Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

SGT Sean Murphy was there when alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding beneath the cover of a boat. He took photos. This one shows the 19-year-old carrying the red dot of a sniper’s rifle laser sight on his forehead.

Sgt Murphy says his pictures show the “real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed”. 

Surely, he means to say ‘the alleged bomber’?


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Posted: 19th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Wati Holmwood: photos of the hated State of Origin streaker

STREAKER of the year is Wati Holmwood, who invaded the St of Origin ruby match, very possibly ruining it. He says: “It all happened so quickly, I don’t know what was going through my head. I just wanted to make it interesting but I stuffed up Origin. A lot of people hate me now.” Probably the same stuff when in 2011 he jumped a fence at the Sydney Football Stadium and interrupted a match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors.



Posted: 18th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Left wing hates Israel because it despises the Western way of life


TODAY I took part in a debate about the left’s attitude to Israel at the Jewish Free School in London. My opening remarks are published below.

For me, the most striking thing about the left’s attitude to Israel is how much it has changed, how sweepingly it has been transformed over the past couple of generations. I don’t think there’s any other issue on which the left has so dramatically changed its thinking. In a nutshell, the mainstream Western left has gone from loving Israel to loathing it, from singing its praises to blaming it for all the world’s ills and accusing it of being a uniquely barbaric state.

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Posted: 17th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (61) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Trayvon Martin: Juror B37 and her book’s agent crawl back under their rocks

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JUROR B37 sat on the George Zimmerman trial that questioned how Trayvon Martin came to be shot dead. She and her five colleagues cleared Zimmerman of murder. And then B37 got to thinking about her career. How about a book? She got an agent, named Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management LLC, notable for her work shilling for Amanda Knox’s ex Raffaele Sollecito.

Martin hoped Juror B37’s book would help the great unwashed…

“…understand the commitment it takes to serve and be sequestered on a jury in a highly publicized murder trial …. It could open a whole new dialogue about laws that may need to be revised and revamped to suit a 21st century way of life.”

Juror B37 went on CNN to for some marketing for her public service tome:

“I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into. I think they both could have walked away.”

And then Juror B37 had second thoughts. The market (via Twitter and a peptition on had told her that her project was reprehensible:

“I realize it was necessary for our jury to be sequestered in order to protest our verdict from unfair outside influence, but that isolation shielded me from the depth of pain that exists among the general public over every aspect of this case. The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives solely and it was to be an observation that our ‘system’ of justice can get so complicated that it creates a conflict with our ‘spirit’ of justice.

“Now that I am returned to my family and to society in general, I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before I was called to sit on this jury.”

Martin did a reverse ferret:

“After careful consideration regarding the proposed book project with Zimmerman Juror B37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation in the exploration of a book based upon this case.”

Says B37:

“I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before …”

And that’s a woman seen as a peer of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman deemed fit to judge them…

Posted: 16th, July 2013 | In: Books, Key Posts, News | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

TV news misreports Asiana pilot names as ‘Sum Ting Wong’ and ‘Wi Tu Lo’

WHEN Asiana Flight 214 crashed onto the tarmac in San Francisco, Oakland’s KTVU cranked up the journalisomobile and “confirmed” the names of the pilot and crew.


san franciso flight error prank


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Posted: 13th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Girl-hating gamer boys: Quit thinking with the Smaller of Your Two Heads


ACCORDING to 1980s pop culture stereotypes, anyone who likes computers is compensating for being a socially clueless nerd who cannot get laid.  Kudos to pop culture for evolving beyond that, but why the hell are today’s gamer boys trying so hard to revive old stereotypes?

For over a week now, male gamers have been freaking out over news that a woman— 19-year Microsoft veteran Julie Larson-Green — has been named the new head of the Xbox division. Not that the company is any feminist utopia (or dystopia, depending on your preference); it’s the same Xbox which, just last month, got called out by Anita Sarkeesian for introducing its new line of games and  “revealing to us exactly zero games featuring a female protagonist for the next generation”.

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Posted: 13th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Paul Gascoigne heads to Liverpool to die in peace

gazza drink

WE’RE not looking for sharks in the seas off Britain this silly season. We’re looking for former footballer Paul Gascoigne having a drink, or “committing suicide”, the Sun calls it.

THE Sun today calls on Britain’s pub landlords and shopkeepers to help save Paul Gascoigne’s life — by refusing to sell him alcohol.

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Posted: 13th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Internet and the old-guard media disagree on the cult of Edward Snowden

Demonstrators burn a coffin and a replica of Uncle Sam outside the U.S. embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, Monday, July 8, 2013. Bolivia's President Evo Morales has accused the United States of pressuring European governments to deny his plane permission to enter their airspace amid suspicions that NSA leaker Edward Snowden might have been onboard. Venezuela and Bolivia both made asylum offers to Snowden over the weekend, and Nicaragua has said it is also considering his request. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

THANK Zod for the Internet, especially Twitter, because without them you’d be hard-pressed to know anybody here in America is rooting for poor Edward Snowden these days.

There’s a disturbing divide in the national opinion—you can find exceptions in either case, but for the most part it looks like the Twitterati overwhelmingly supports Snowden while the mainstream media can’t stand him. At least not mainstream editorial boards; the Washington Post’s went so far as to call for Snowden to surrender and quit leaking information (some of which the Post’s own news team had already published).

To be fair, though, the Post did later run an op-ed piece by alumnus Daniel Ellsberg, exposer of the Pentagon Papers, in which Ellsberg argued that “NSA leaker Snowden made the right call” when he fled the country.

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Posted: 9th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (5) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Virginia Wade heads a list of British Wimbledon champions erased from the record books

Wimbledon champions forgotten british

WHEN Andy Murray won Wimbledon some of you might have picked up the whiff of misogyny. Had he really ended the 77 year wait for a British Wimbledon Champion? Was he the first British champions since Fred Perry built a T-shirt brand in 1936? Whisper these names Virginia Wade (1977), Jamie Murray (mixed doubles, 2007) , Jonathan Marray (mens doubles, 2012), and Angela Mortimer and Anne Shilcock (ladies doubles, 1955).

But Murray’s a man. And it’s all about the men. Those headlines came thick and thicker:

Murray wade


Times: “Murray ends 77-year wait for British win.”

Telegraph: “After 77 years, the wait is over.”

Daily Mail: “The moment Andy ended Britain’s 77 year wait.”

Daily Mirror: “Andy ends our 77-year wait for Wimbledon glory”

Daily Star: “Murray ends 77 years of hurt”

And on it goes….

Posted: 9th, July 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Council wants to ban the ‘intimidating’ England flag – St George’s Cross makes you look white working class


A man writes a message of support for the England football squad on a giant Saint George's Cross flag, in Trafalgar Square, central London ahead of the World Cup game against Algeria

WELWYN and Hatfield Community Housing Trust wants it tenants to stop flying flags. It says the flags could be “intimidating“. But they can be flown when they are in reactions to national celebrations or a sporting occasions.

Trust spokeswoman Simone Russell tells the WHTimes:

“There are properties that have big flags hanging outside and while we encourage it during events such as the Jubilee; at other times it sullies the look of the area. Flags can be intimidating and can create a negative feeling… tenants must not hang or fix signs, banners or flags on the outside of the property, outside windows or on balconies, without our permission”. 

Fair enough about the no flag if they are against the rules. You can’t hang sheets and towels from balconies at many blocks of flats. But the part about flags being intimidating is odd. In case readers should be uncertain what kind of flag the council has in mind, the BBC illustrates its story with the Flag of St George stuck in a window. The WHTimes features a Union Jack and “local mother” Rachael Blythe, of Nursery Hill, Welwyn Garden City saying:

 “I will not let my landlord strip my child and myself of our rights and personal choices. I will fight this to the bitter end. This is a disgrace. Flying my country’s flag is my human right and I will continue to fly it for the foreseeable future. When the Queen takes her Union Jack down I will take mine down.”

Are either flags intimidatory?

There is no doubting the power of a flag. When Belfast City Hall said it would not fly the Union Flag every day, protests followed. One woman sums up the Loyalist view: “Northern Ireland is British and we’ll fly our national flag.”

Nick Groom, author of Union Jack: The Story of the British Flag, notes how the Union Flag was once threatened by the fascists:

Making the flag inclusive again means everyone flying it — whether as bunting in their bedroom window or on a Sex Pistols T-shirt. This was the genius of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony: the Queen and Johnny Rotten are both British — and are both profoundly associated with the Union Jack.

Just as Michael Gove is sending a copy of the King James Bible to every school, so each school should also have a Union Jack. It is a symbolic map of the British isles and also a symbolic history of the United Kingdom: it can be used to tell the story of our national history and identity, of the British empire and our multiracial society…

There are no laws or regulations that govern the flag, except at sea. This means that we can all fly it in our own way, even in our own colours. There’s no licensing and no copyright in the Union Jack design and unlike America’s Stars and Stripes, which has strict laws controlling proper use, you can really do what you want with the Union Jack.

Let’s keep it flying everywhere and bequeath to our children not only the sporting legacy of the Olympics but also the heritage of the nation in having pride in our national flag.

On the matter of the Olympics, the gaffe that meant  images of North Korean athletes were slapped next to the South Korean flag was regrettable.

In the 1908 Games, also held in London, the flags of the United States and Sweden were not flown at the Opening Ceremony because – get this – no one could be bothered to find them. The Swedes took it in their stride but the Americans, without a hint of the Special Relationship to come, got a flounce on, refusing to dip their their flag towards the Royal Box during the parade

What about that Cross of Saint George? Last year we were told:

St George’s flag is a racist symbol says a quarter of the English

There had been a study in 2012:

The report blames the “extreme street hooligans of the English Defence League” for “toxifying” the St George’s Cross, although it says politicians should also take responsibility for failing to “speak up for the inclusive patriotism of the English majority”.

In 2010, the BBC asked:

Is waving the Cross of St George an act of patriotism, nationalism or racism? With England flying the flag as never before, the distinction appears to have caused some confusion…

The writer was clear:

The flag is a symbol of support for a team and love for a nation. If people choose to fly it or interpret it as a symbol of English superiority or aggression, that is not the flag’s fault. I shall continue to drape a large cross of St George upon my house.

Back to sport. In support of the 2006 World Cup, an estimated that 10.5million Cross of Saint George flags were sold. Was the flag a symbol of inclusion or division?

David Conn saw alienation:

Most black people interviewed said they felt alienated by the flag of St George and still associated it with the BNP. “It doesn’t really show unity, does it?” said one respondent, a woman aged 17. “It’s a bit white.”

“I don’t think many black people flew a flag,” Foster says. “Most of us still feel it is hostile and feel quite threatened by it.” She also noted “not too many” black or Asian faces at the big-screen gatherings – a feature of football crowds generally in England – but says that was partly because the drinking which goes with supporting England is “not black people’s culture”.

Duleep Alliraja had perspective:

 Of course the flag still connotes white supremacy for an insignificant rump of no-mark Little Englanders. However, for most people the St George flag has lost its racial connotations. But that doesn’t mean that the champions of a new inclusive patriotism are correct, either. In truth, the flag has been largely emptied of any political content – much like public life itself. It is pretty much just a football flag, a signifier of support for the English football team and very little else. The flag is seldom displayed in any context other than a football tournament. Even on St George’s Day there is no popular enthusiasm for flying the flag.

Charlie Brooker wrote of class and genetic failings:

Nowadays, when you see an England flag on a car, sprawled across a T-shirt, or flapping from a novelty hat, you no longer assume the owner is a dot-brained xenophobe. Instead you assume he’s just an idiot. And you’re right. He is. It’s a great piece of visual shorthand. Imagine the outcry if government passed a law requiring the nation’s dimbos to wear dunce’s caps in public. No one would stand for it. There’d be acres of newsprint comparing Blair and co to the Nazis. We’d see rioting in the streets – badly organised rioting with a lot of mis-spelled placards, but rioting nonetheless.

Instead, every numbskull in the land is queuing up to voluntarily brand themselves. They even pay for the privilege! As brilliant ruses go, it’s the most brilliant, rusiest ruse you could wish for. I can’t wait for stage two, when they’re persuaded to neuter themselves with safety scissors.

The only problem I have with this berk-demarcation scheme is the design of the flag itself. Personally, I’d jettison the big red cross/white background malarky in favour of a black rectangle with the word CRETIN printed in the centre in stark bold text.

What does he mean? Is the flag a sign of your class – one that should be wiped out?

Robert Crampton:

…in terms of flags residential as opposed to flags vehicular, the smaller and grottier the property, the more likely it is to sport a standard. My children have noticed this. They have also commented on how few of their friends at school fly flags on their cars. (It’s true, each morning at the gates, the same convoy of Range Rovers, Jeep Cherokees and massive great Mercs, all bare of patriotic regalia.) Thus has this World Cup introduced two youngsters to the paradox that the more your family has prospered in this country, the less likely you are to display any warmth towards it.

One well-heeled woman, trying and failing to square what to her was the contradiction of our being middle-class metropolitan types and yet simultaneously happy to wrap ourselves in the flag, asked my wife if our car was “an ironic statement”…

It’s peculiar, isn’t it, that in England, unlike any other country I know of, the gain of a little education, a little upward mobility, so often seems to entail the loss of the simple human desire to take pride in place? Peculiar, and sad. Going back to that young Bengali boy racer with his four flags: as he grows up and climbs up, slows down and settles down, I hope such a recoil from the straightforward love of country he feels now is one aspect of Englishness he fails to adopt.

Tony Parsons added in the Mirror:

Don’t kid yourself that the nation is united behind that red cross on a white background. In some quarters the flag is still seen as unforgivably naff – like keeping your coal in a bidet, or going to the corner shop in your curlers, or celebrating your love for your mum with a tattoo.

Some think the St George flag is the province of a certain section of society, like inflatable snowmen at Christmas…

The English are starting to wake up to the fact that the flag of St George is the one and only flag we have.

If we can’t find the passion in our hearts to fly this lovely flag – although dissenters say it looks like a stab wound – then what do we rally round?

You’re not a racist if your fly the England flag. You’re a chav. You’re the white working class. And that’s about as low as it gets…

Posted: 7th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Fartgate: the great ‘iconic’ wind-passing moments from the cultural archives

FART for art’s sake

As The Archers Fartgate rumbles on, we look back at those great ‘iconic’ wind-passing moments from the cultural archives.



farting radio

When Jezza McCreary recently passed wind in Radio 4’s The Archers, he was not the first character to do so. (It was in the script, by the way – this was no accident.) But it was the first time a character had done it audibly – and actor Ryan Kelly was offered a selection of farts by the sound effects department before picking one that he decided was suitably “fruity” for a man who had been eating steak and potatoes and drinking beer.




In 1973 Peregrine Worsthorne (pictured here with wife Lucinda Lambton) became the second person to say the word ‘fuck’ on British television. Years later, the former editor of the Sunday Telegraph would behave even more unpleasantly on a London Underground train. Sir Perry was annoyed by a passenger eating a burger – his ostensible reason being the odour, but this was no doubt exacerbated by a general disapproval of public eating and a specific disapproval of eating burgers anywhere. In revenge, Worsthorne stood near the man and farted into his face.





Le Pétomane (‘Fart maniac’) Joseph Pujol was a professional flatulist who rose to fame in the late nineteenth century, when he entertained the crowned heads of Europe with his bizarre stage act. Standout moments included sound effects of cannon fire and thunderstorms, playing tunes through a rubber tube stuck up his arse, and blowing out a candle from several metres away. Leonard Rossiter plays the great man here…



Silver Screen


Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles achieved legendary status in the Seventies for this spectacular ground-breaking scene.


But Mike Leigh’s 1976 film Nuts In May outdoes it for sordid verisimilitude (0.55.55).


TV Drama

Casual farting is as commonplace as casual violence in HBO’s landmark series The Sopranos. Usually the bowel action takes place in the offices at Satriale’s Pork Store. On this occasion, however, it occurs in more dramatic fashion after Tony tries an Indian.



Pop singer




Former teacher Robert ‘Doc’ Cox was a stalwart of the BBC’s terrible That’s Life! in the 1980s. Ivor Biggun is his musician persona, with a string of releases such as his 1978 hit The Winker’s Song (misprint). You can no doubt guess the subject of his follow-up misprint, I’ve Parted




During his reign at Liverpool, Gerard Houllier is said to have fined players for farting. Fortunately for Charlie Adams, he left Anfield long ago.



Miriam Margolyes

The national treasure famously farted live on Danny Baker’s radio show – famous because he has repeatedly reminded listeners ever since. But Miriam is far from shy about the topic, and can usually be relied upon to raise it at some point in any interview. In this example, Graham Norton, being a gentleman, saves her the trouble…




Jaques Tati meets Le Pétomane in Vic and Bob’s flatulent homage, which ‘aired’ regularly in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. (And full marks for that title, by the way.)



Sex Symbols





Marilyn Monroe and Britney Spears. Both notorious for it, by all accounts.


Singer Britney Spears attends "The X-Factor" viewing party at Mixology on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)


Candle in the Wind was of course written for Monroe, but had nothing to do with Le Pétomane’s party trick. And neither does this picture.





The aptly named Judd Trump found himself temporarily distracted by a member of the audience during his World Championship semi-final against Ronnie O’Sullivan earlier this year.



Jim Royle’s outbursts are ten-a-penny, so here, for the sake of freshness, is Nana doing the honours.



Live TV

‘Air time’ is an occupational hazard for those who perform for hours. The fortunate ones get away with the occasional fart. Others are not so lucky, and find their full-blown incontinence immortalised on Youtube. We have no wish to draw attention to their embarrassment, so we will restrict ourselves to these minor faux pas by ladies who seems to have taken it in good heart.






viz fart
Viz’s revolting Johnny Fartpants clearly wears the fetid trousers in this field, but let’s hear it for our own favourite – the legendary Farting Dogs

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Posted: 7th, July 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0