Key Posts Category
THERE is a reason why the police are warned about posting on social media in the UK. It’s to prevent them from looking biased and commenting on cases. But people will be people. As the BBC reports:
Hundreds of police officers have been investigated for breaching social media guidelines, research has revealed.Freedom of Information requests by the Press Association found officers made racist comments online and asked crime victims to become Facebook friends.
Of 828 cases in England and Wales from 2009 to February this year, 9% ended in resignation, dismissal or retirement.
ON this very day in 1965, something brilliant, eccentric and hip was born – Immediate Records.
In what has to be one of the finest record label names ever – c’mon, it’s everything a teenager wants from pop music – and purposefully moddish, Immediate was the baby of Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham and his partner Tony Calder.
The launched the label with a hipster party, attended by some of pop’s great and good – Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and Nico (not yet in the Velvet Underground) were all there, being thin and beautiful.
The label was the home of some very famous bands, such as The Small Faces, Rod Stewart and some ’60s favourites in The Nice, Amen Corner and Chris Farlowe. In their stable, they had a young guitar player and producer by the name of Jimmy Page too. Could a label be any more hip?
Obviously, being a bit tinpot, Immediate ran into financial problems and folded in 1970.
So with that, to celebrate one of the world’s most fabulous and frivolous enterprises, let us listen to some of the famous, and shouldabeenfamous, records that were found on Immediate.
Fleur De Lys ‘Circles’
Killer mod-pop from FDL, with a track that The Who wrote and intended as a single called ‘Instant Party’. While Townsend & Co. dithered, the Fleur De Lys stuck the record out. It contains one of the most mental lead guitar lines in the history of pop.
ON this very day in 1968, the last episode of The Monkees TV show aired in the States. Almost every US TV station re-ran the show, with the ’69-’71 being more popular than the debut bow.
The show was shipped out across the world and The Monkees found a load of British fans when it was repeated in the summer holidays in the ’80s and ’90s. While the band themselves have mixed feelings about the show, it simply won’t go away, unless of course, you’re the kind of sneering prick who doesn’t like The Monkees because you could see the business behind them.
IS the aim to ban Jews from the UK. George Galloway wants an Isreal-free Bradford. Sainsbury’s removed Jewish food from its shelves lest it offend anti-Israel protestors and, presumably, anti-Semites. Also in London, the Tricycle cinema would only allow Israeli Film Festival to go ahead if the organisors denounced Israel and refused to accept money from the Israeli embassy.
The Tricycle’s sister theatre accepts £720,000 from the UK Arts Council, operated by the British Government, which has launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
PART Kermit, part hipster, Michael Cera is loved by many (and he probably irritates a fair few too, but that’s normal) and has starred in a bunch of films that make people in Converse Chuck Taylor’s go weak at the knees.
So it isn’t very surprising that Michael Cera has released folk album called ‘True That’.
The actor released the material on August 8th via his Bandcamp page. Not many people noticed it, but then, Superbad co-star Jonah Hill posted a link to it and now everyone is cooing and clucking about it.
Of course, he’s not the first actor to have a go at singing and making music. In fact, the movies are filled with actors who have decided to have a go at making sweet melodies. The results, obviously, have been mixed and sometimes, downright baffling.
Mostly though, they’ve been a bit bland. Remember Minnie Driver’s album? Of course you don’t. Was it bad? Sadly, it was competent so no-one could get mad.
Some actors have been pretty good, but they’re no fun – we’re interested in the weird ones. Dudley Moore’s fine jazz and J-Lo’s ace pop aren’t for us.
We’re here for the lousy and oddball.
Cinema legend Robert Mitchum was swept away by the infectious music of the Caribbean and thought he’d make a calypso album. His deadpan delivery is funny, but is it a bit racist doing what is tantamount to a comedy black voice? Judge for yourself.
Robin Williams: Mail, Express, Metro, Mirror And Sun Turn Killer Depression Into A Sensational Suicide
SO. How have the British Press reacted to the news that Robin Williams died? At first they lamented the passing of a favourite entertianer. Then Peter Samson told Sun readers that Williams had taken his own life. He stated this with the coroners court was stil investigating.
Mind, the mental health charity providing “advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem – We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding” – issued a media guide:
Robin Williams: Media briefing for journalists
As this story unfolds and more details are revealed about the circumstances surrounding Robin Williams’ death, we are issuing a brief reminder about guidance on media reporting around suicide and in particular a reminder that reporting specific details about the method a person uses can be very triggering for others experiencing suicidal thoughts. We urge you to avoid excessive detail about method of suicide and to report responsibly and sensitively. Evidence shows that copycat suicides can occur as a result of extensive media coverage – please avoid explicit details and sensationalist reporting.
The Samartians has more advice:
Avoid giving too much detail. Care should be taken when giving any detail of a suicide method. While saying someone hanged themselves or took an overdose is acceptable, detail about the type of ligature or type and quantity of tablets used is not…
Avoid any mention of the method in headlines as this inadvertently promotes and perpetuates common methods of suicide…
Vulnerable individuals may identify with a person who has died, or with the circumstances in which a person took their own life. For example, combining references to life circumstances, say a debt problem or job loss, and descriptions of an easy-to-copy suicide method in the same report, could put at greater risk people who are vulnerable as a result of financial stress.
Never say a method is quick, easy, painless or certain to result in death. Try to avoid portraying anything that is immediate or easy to imitate – especially where the ingredients or tools involved are readily available.
Avoid over-simplification. Approximately 90 per cent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health problem at the time of death. Over-simplification of the causes or perceived ‘triggers’ for a suicide can be misleading and is unlikely to reflect accurately the complexity of suicide. For example, avoid the suggestion that a single incident, such as loss of a job, relationship breakdown or bereavement, was the cause.
Some suicides attract intense media scrutiny. However, where possible, refrain from positioning a story too prominently, for example on a front page or as a lead bulletin, as this may unduly influence vulnerable people…
Take extra care with the selection and placement of imagery linked to a report about suicide. For example, question if a large or prominently placed picture of the person who has died is necessary.
And the Press respsonded thus:
Depression is an illness. It can be a killer. What other illness would get this revolting treatment?
GEORGE Owen Smith is the first victim positively identified from one of the 55 unmarked graves at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida.
Smith was 14 when he was sent to the school in October 1940, and was never seen alive by his family again.
Smith had been sent to the home as punishment for being with a friend in a stolen car.
The Art of Anti-Semitism: The Tricycle Theatre Only Admits Anti-Israel Jews While The National Prefers The Rich Ones
MANY words have been written about demands by London’s Tricycle Theatre that Jewish Film Festival sever all ties with the city’s Israeli embassy.
Indhu Rubasingham, the theatre’s artistic director, said the festival should not accept funding from “any party to the current conflict” between Israel and Hamas. She added the Tricycle had offered to fund the festival itself, in order to replace sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy in London.
The event has been hosted at the Tricycle for some years. But this year the boss wanted Israel excluded. Ms Rubasingham wanted the Jews who run the film week – which features film and debate from all sides – to refuse Israel’s money, some £1,400. She wanted them to hand back Israeli cash and join her in her moral stance against the country. Comply with her demands and these Jews would be allowed in. And the story of how the Jews of Jewish Film Week handed back Israel’s cash would fly.
Top Twenty Unhelpful Celebrity Fans
With the Premier League season fast approaching, what better time to look at the twenty clubs and consider, not their new signings or their likely achievements, but their famous fans?
Rather than reel off the names that make them puff out their chests with pride, let’s look at the ones that do not command universal respect and affection. The ones who, frankly, do not help their cause at all…
The Gunners’ biggest celebrity Arse has few serious competitors. Step forward, Piers Morgan, seen here cosying up to Arsenal’s… er… Wayne Rooney
ARE you an anti-Semite? If so, join the band of the righteous. These are good times. Israel is at war with Hamas in Gaza. Hamas are keen to take the war to Israel, firing rockets into the country. But they lack the ground troops and air cover to launch an invasion. Israel has the guns and the personnel to fight the war on Hamas’ turf.
It’s a foreign war between two unequally armed sides. The best outcome would be for the Islamists and Messianics to be forced to the extremes and for the people to unite as one State. But that’s unlikely.
So. We look at the now. And we see that this war has Jews with the better weaponry. And that upsets some onlookers in the West. Why? Brendan O’Neill wonders:
Such are the double standards over Israel, so casually entrenched is the idea that Israeli militarism is more bloody and insane than any other kind of militarism, that many Western liberals now call on their own rulers to condemn or even impose sanctions against Israel. That is, they want the invaders and destroyers of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere to rap Israel’s knuckles for bombing Gaza. It’s like asking a great white shark to tell off a seal for eating a fish. America must ‘rein in Israel’, we are told. ‘The international community should intervene to restrain Israel’s army’, says a columnist for the Guardian, and by ‘international community’ he means ‘a meeting of the UN Security Council’ – the Security Council whose permanent members are the US, UK and France, who have done so much to destabilise and devastate vast swathes of the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade; Russia, whose recent military interventions in Georgia and Chechnya suggest it is hardly a devotee of world peace; and China, which might not invade other countries but is pretty adept at brutally suppressing internal dissent. On what planet could nations whose warmongering makes the current assault on Gaza look like a tea party in comparison seriously be asked to ‘rein in’ Israel? On a planet on which Israel is seen as different, as worse than all others, as more criminal and rogue-like than any other state.
The Daily Arsenal: a case study in obsessional fandom
Why Adrian Durham’s devotion to the North London club sets the benchmark for true Gunners everywhere.
Listeners to talkSPORT – the national radio station that pumps out sing-along ads for builders’ merchants 24/7 from a ketchup-stained studio on south London – will know that surly Drivetime anchor Adrian Durham has redefined the terms ‘troll’ and ‘shock jock’ to the point where neither really does him justice any more.
A troll tends to pick on one victim and stalk them in cyberspace. Durham’s prey is an entire football club and its employees and supporters, whom he has been winding up on a regular basis for several years.
TODAY, the world’s press heard about Britney Spears launching a new lingerie line, which just so happens to be called The Intimate Collection.
She announced this by posting a picture of her herself wearing the new range on Instagram. And she looked perfectly lovely in it.
Britter’s range will hit the shelves Stateside on September 9th and Europeans will either have to learn how to use the internet to buy things from abroad, or wait a few days and buy in European shops on September 26th.
That’s not the story though. It got us thinking about band merchandise – not everyone can be classy enough to release a range of tasteful undercrackers.
Most bands don’t veer too far away from t-shirts and mugs, but some go a bit mental. Tenacious D had a specially designated cum-rag fercryinoutloud.
So with that, shall we have a look at some of the weirdest (and therefore best) bits of band merch ever? Feel free to add you own in the comments.
Rammstein Dildo Box
Rammstein released a box-set with a load of dildos in it and, of course, they decided to base the sex toys on their own junk. That’s nice isn’t it?
Prodigy Toilet Cover Seat
Daily Mail Attacks Manchester City’s Joe Hart And Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere For Following Its Health Tips
HOW football journalism works, with the Daily Mail’s Neil Ashton. Before the World Cup, on May 20, 2014, England were at the Grove Hotel for the Lions and Roses dinner. The charity event hosted by the England Footballers Foundation “raised £362,000 in a night for charity… and even Premier League stars were surprised at that amount of money!”
One bidder paid £10,000 for a round of golf with Manchester City’s Joe Hart and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. Ashton notes:
In an era when it is so easy to casually criticise the players, this event, in football parlance, could be described as ‘a leveller’. Every member of that squad, from captain Steven Gerrard and vice-captain Frank Lampard to Southampton trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw, understood their roles and responsibilities.
WHEN you think of children being in bands, you immediately think of the Jackson 5 or Hanson. They’re slick, pro-outfits that have been tutored and taught within an inch of their lives.
That’s not to say they’re bad in any way, but they’re basically making music by adults, aimed at kids. The youthful joy is there, but what about the abandon and awkwardness which makes children such a fascinating prospect?
Flippers and faps: the dark side of dolphins
THINK of dolphins and you might think of Fred Neil’s beautiful, poignant song of that name, performed here, in one of his many versions, by the late Tim Buckley…
Or – if you are of a certain age – you might be transported with warm fuzzy memories of Porter Ricks and his marine mammalian mate Flipper: ‘No-one you see is smarter than he…’
THINKING outside the (penalty) box: tackling the ‘professional’ foul
WITH the World Cup semi-finals upon us, it’s as good a time as any to remember Laurent Blanc, the French captain who received a red card – the only one of his entire career – in the semi-final of the 1998 World Cup, and missed the final thanks to Slaven Bilic’s theatrics.
There were no Gazza tears, just Gallic stoicism. He said he had only himself to blame for raising his hand.
Blanc shared the presentation of the cup with Didier Deschamps, and avoided any John Terry-style ridicule for doing so in his team shirt, but it must have been a bitter pill to swallow all the same.
In recent years, FIFA have addressed the problem of accumulated yellow cards, thus making career-ruining suspensions less likely for finals – although a red in a semi will still see you banned.
But what of the other side of the coin? What of the teams who are knocked out of the tournament because of cynical, calculated ‘professional’ fouls which deny them a crucial goal?
These days, denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity is supposed to be punished by a straight red. Sometimes it is punished by both a red card and a penalty.
THE jihadis of ISIS are using Hello Kitty notepads to organise their massed ranks. Either that or else the pad in the photo below is official ISIS merchandise, filled with directives and sent from the shadowy figure of the Great Kitty herself.
Can she be stopped. Can Hello Kitty become See You In Hell Kitty?
We’ve assembled the weapons that ISIS are using to foment Armageddon.
Hello Kitty Airsoft
STUDENTS get drunk, do stupid things and feel homesick: those were the shocking secrets uncovered in the first episode of The Secret Life of Students, Channel 4’s latest slice of unflinching voyeurism. While it focused on a clutch of freshers at Leicester University, the twist this time was that the programme makers were able to delve into their subjects’ social media postings, texts and Google searches, flashing their contents up on screen as the unsurprising stories unfolded.
The Flying Circus Comes To Town: Python’s hidden gems
THE Flying Circus is back in town, for one last hurrah – or rather a string of them – at London’s O2. The famous old sketches will be enacted again, and the audience will be word-perfect even is the performers aren’t.
The story can be found in a special programme here…
In honour of the reunion, but in the spirit of discovery, we offer a selection of the Pythons’ most obscure back pages….
The album that never was
Monty Python albums weren’t just a way of reliving the sketches in the days before video recorders; they were classics in their own right. Far from being mere cash-ins, they were actually superior to the TV shows, and played a crucial but unsung role in establishing the Monty Python phenomenon.
Back in the day, a generation of schoolboys learned French verbs and poetry by rote, then spent their spare time committing Monty Python sketches to memory in similar dead-parrot fashion, using the tie-in albums and books for homework. Meanwhile in America, where the shows were virtually unknown, the records (on the ‘progressive’ Charisma label) became an integral part of the post-Sixties ‘stoner’ culture. FM djs gave them airplay, and rock stars championed them at every opportunity. They were known as ‘The Pythons’, which sounded like a rock group, and before long they were de facto rock stars themselves, with sell-out live tours and screaming fans. There was even a live album, replete with extra swearing. (The albums were quite risqué, in marked contrast to the strict censorship of the BBC at the time.)
ROLF Harris is the sexual predator who hid in plain view. Everything the Australian artist/singer did is now shrouded in his crimes. You can read about his depravity here.
Rolf spent a lot of time with other people’s children.
He was educating them. Uncle Rolf, you see, just loved to help.
We’ve pulled together a gallery of 22 ways in which Rolf Harris presented himself as lovable man you could trust. But if you look now, it’s wonder he got away with for so long. He really is remarkably creepy:
ROLF Harris has been found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against four victims, including a teenage friend of his daughter Bindi and a seven year-old fan.
Everything he ever did in life is now darkened by his depravity.
Since news of Harris’s arrest emerged last year, the NSPCC has received 28 calls relating to the entertainer, 13 of which were from women who claimed to have been sexually abused by him.
At the height of his sexual offending, the disgraced star fronted an NSPCC-affiliated child abuse awareness video, which was widely shown in British schools.
He hid in plain view – right to the end:
Denying all charges, Harris tried to entertain the court by singing snippets of one of his well-known songs.
Hearing that, I thought of that scene in Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa, where the underage girl forced into prostitution blocks out the pain of her horrific rape at the hands of a sordid old man by singing a nursery rhyme to herself:
There once was a man named Michael Finnegan,
He had three whiskers on his chinnegan,
The wind came up and blew them in ag’in,
Poor old Michael Finnegan (begin ag’in)
Harris is now redrawn as a saddist. The Times notes:
In week three of the trial, wearing one of his iridescent purple ties, he told a journalist that she was wearing a lovely blouse.
He sat doodling pictures of the jury. He regaled them with jokes. This was lovable Rolf who had just hugged young girls:
Harris had a “technique”, Wass [prosectuing] told the court. The indecent assault that he had inflicted in the towel and come-and-see-my-paintings incidents, for instance, had involved him inserting his fingers into the teenage girls’ vaginas, so unexpectedly they weren’t sure what was happening. Sometimes he would spit on his fingers first; always he would behave afterwards as if nothing had happened.
“We see that technique of yours, the hug followed by the indecent touching in many victims of the case,” said Wass: “Sexual molestation disguised as a friendly hug.”
Harris is a manipulative, predatory liar.
A witness who worked as an executive on Rolf’s BBC show Animal Hospital told the court: “Rolf is a hugger. Rolf is kind, he’s affectionate. [He’d tell a stranger] My God you’re beautiful in a non-sexual way.”
Uncle Rolf just loves praising women on their dress sense. He told the 13-year-old he really loved her bikini. He told a woman journalist outside the court, he just loved her blouse.
Had he sexually assaulted a girl in Cambridge back in 1978? He said he’d never been there. But one woman had a video recording of Harris appearing in a TV show called Star Games. It was filmed in Cambridge, back in 1978.
The video was played to the court.
Sasha Wass QC, for the Crown, had a question:
“When you told the jury with such confidence last week on Tuesday that you had never been to Cambridge until four years ago, that was a deliberate lie, wasn’t it?”
Harris: “It wasn’t. I had no idea. I don’t think any of us knew.”
Wass: “Nobody knew they were in Cambridge?”
Harris: “None of the stars knew. I was there but I didn’t know it was Cambridge.”
Detective Chief Inspector Michael Orchard, who led the investigation against Harris, told media:
“Rolf Harris has habitually denied any wrongdoing, forcing his victims to recount their ordeal in public. He committed many offences in plain sight of people as he thought his celebrity status placed him above the law.”
Stefanie Marsh writes of Harris’ abuse of his daughter’s freind, which had begun when she was 13:
In his second statement to the police, Harris conceded that it had happened more than once — in the dock he explained that he’d been too embarrassed to discuss such matters in front of “two very attractive” female members of his legal team. But the “affair” — barring the fact that he’d hidden it from his family for umpteen years, and that he’d been 40 when it had started — had been thoroughly above board and, he said, “stemmed from a feeling of love”: the alleged victim had definitely been over 18. Besides, she was the one who had “started it”, he would later say with the faint air of a victim. One morning, as was his habit, friendly old Rolf had innocently brought her a cup of tea in the bedroom she was sharing with Bindi, and she had grabbed his elbow and pulled up the covers to show him her bare leg. “I touched her leg. My heart was thumping like mad . . .”
“If you can put this Mills & Boon scenario into context,” Wass interrupted tartly, “In 1983 Mr Harris was 53, he had known [the alleged victim] since the age of 2.”
“Did it occur to you you could be misreading the signals?” she asked Harris at one point.
“One doesn’t think about the alternatives,” Harris had said.
THE Toff, or to give him his proper name, the Honourable Richard Rollison, was the creation of the novelist John Creasey and first appeared in the tuppenny weekly crime magazine in 1933. The first novel ‘Introducing the Toff’ appeared in 1938. There were eventually fifty-seven books in the series the last of which, ‘The Toff and the Dead Man’s Finger’ wasn’t published until five years after the author died in 1973.
Fifty-seven novels is a lot of writing (Creasey occasionally published six Toffs in just one year) but actually it was just a fraction of Creasey’s output who, according to his publisher, is the 6th or 7th most prolific writer of all time.
TERRY-Thomas had arrived. It wasn’t exactly overnight but most people thought so. It was 1946 and he was compèring a revue called Piccadilly Hayride at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The revue, its star Sid Fields and the gap-toothed compère were a tremendous success – critically and with the paying public. Within three or four weeks of the run the newspapers were already reporting that Terry Thomas (the hypen was to arrive the following year) was to appear in that year’s Royal Variety Performance.
IF the Seventies proved a fertile time for imaginative horror filmmakers, the 1980s very much represented a new age of plenty, a span wherein every idea that had worked in a movie once before was hauled out a second, third and sometimes fourth time.
And because of the home video revolution and VHS technology, new filmmakers had the opportunity to get their movies seen by more eyes than ever before.
In terms of the decade’s horror then, there was more of everything to enjoy: more slasher films, more Jaws films, and more holiday-themed horrors too.
EAR we go again: the tooth about celebrity ear-bites
Hot on the heels of the Suarez outrage comes news of another bizarre biting from Brazil.
Pictures have emerged of England fan Robert Farquharson having his ear bitten off by a ‘fellow’ England supporter in the Arena Corinthians stadium following the defeat to Uruguay.
Such attacks are not as uncommon as you might think, and there has been a series of such incidents in English towns over the past few years. The most recent, in Manchester, involving a man described as a ‘Suarez lookalike’, although the CCTV picture does not support this fanciful claim.