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Bojo the Batty - The Discombobulation of Boris

James McGrath is definitely not a racist, both David Cameron and Boris Johnson say so, and they are both honourable men, and so McGrath must be sacked as quickly as possible.
That's clear as mud then, like the Boris Johnson administration and its Cameron backers.
So either Cameron and Johnson don't know what racism is, in which case they are idiots who shouldn't be running a creche. Or they do know, and are therefore a pair of standard issue tory slimeballs only fit to run a second hand car showroom.
 If his remarks were not racist, why did McGrath have to go? Apparently, because of 'bad timing', whatever that means. The battiness of the Bojo administration continues to fail to disappoint.



Waiting for Dad

The World Health Organisation follows UNICEF in finding that British kids are not the healthiest in the world. WHO reports that they get drunk earlier and suffer for it, UNICEF reports that they are some of the unhappiest children around.
They're unhappy, and they habitually get rat-arsed. Surprise surprise.

Of course, it's not like this on the continent, we're told. Drink there is a social grace. A sort of folk art or religion. A socially cohesive factor rather than British Jekyll'n'Hyde Juice. All the family, from olive-soaked great-grannies to bouncing bambinos, performing the healing ritual together in the laughing shade. And Britain does have a more intensively compartmentalised sense of time than hotter, more recently industrialised cultures. We didn't win two world wars with siestas. But the shiftwork we needed to win those wars, and the peactime battle for industrial market dominance, definitely left its 40 hour week mark on the culture, which remains one of the most regimented in Europe, in which flexi-time is still thought of as an impossibility, like a form of time voodoo. Thank God It's Friday is a characteristically British expression, expressed in the act of getting roaring drunk for the two days freedom called The Weekend.

The average British 15 year old, looking at the actions of his immediate superiors, must conclude that alcohol is for getting drunk. That is the point, to obliterate reality as much as possibility, possibly because, as UNICEF says, reality hurts. To expect parents to be able to counter the massive effects on the adolescent mind of advertising, peer-pressure, product-targeting, and the cultural status afforded to drunkenness is unrealistic and ultimately a cop-out. Civic responsibility must take over where parental responsibility has been repeatedly proven to be inadequate, and where 'commercial responsibility' fails to self-regulate - if it ever does.
Whatever else happens, the rediscovery of the Youth Centre must take place, if necessary, at the taxpayers expense.
In a perfect marketplace, a socially responsible, enterprising brewery chain would spot the vast gap in the market for warm dry venues where young people could meet and drink - and even be taught to drink. A tactfully supervised social environment where all the social instincts and networking destroyed in the last 30 years can be recharged by a new generation. A chain of these youth pubs might even be called Kiddispoons, who knows? The possible ways to counter British paedophobia are endless. Wetherspoons claims to be open to suggestions. Then how about it building a chain of modern youth venues - New Youth Clubs - to attempt to fill the social gap before kids can legally be sold alcohol. The objective being to heal some of the alienation of young people and teach them do socialise over drinks.
One terrible possibility is that lovely cuddly Europe will end up like us. That is their mistake to make. Meanwhile Scotland is proposing price fixing to deter excessive drinking. A 'Bevy Levy', in fact.   As gross a distortion of natural market forces as was ever contemplated in the birthplace of Adam Smith, and surely immoral in some pulpits even now. The democratically elected Swedish government was taken to the European Court of Human Rights by the massed lawyers of teh advertising industry for merely protecting Swedish children from propaganda for poisonous sugar products. What can the lairds of Holyrood expect for getting on the wrong side of the booze barons?

Naturally, there is a convenient sidetrack. We can't measure or weigh happiness, so why even consider it. Be grateful when it happens and get on with your job, Cratchet. And then there is relative happiness across the generations, and the confusing effects of material prosperity on the equation. We were poor but we were happy? Really?
 The truth which cannot be sidetracked is that we are living faster lives, and we sense it. And the effect of this frantic pace is to make us feel that our lives are shorter than our grandparents did. We are living in a greater sense of panic, that this is not a rehearsal, and that in addition, we are now indoctrinated that it is feckless and foolish to expect anyone to co-operate or help you unless they stand to gain substantially from the transaction. Scrooge's countinghouse without the benevolent glow.
 When Tom Harris asks the question 'What IS Happiness?' he is sort of missing the point. As a Labour MP he should be told over and again, by Orwell for instance, that

" the real objective of Socialism is not happiness. Happiness hitherto has been a by-product, and for all we know it may always remain so. The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood."

Then maybe his government would begin to sound like it was telling the truth.


'Musicophilia'? - Bloody Amateurs..

'Musicophilia - Tales of Music And The Brain' - Oliver Sacks

P.A.T.H. - 'A Christmas Carol'
Hopefully, one of the side-effects of this new book, with all the media attention it deserves, will be to flush out a long-lost titbit of information which has evaded the powers of the internet up until now, as far as I can see.

Some ten years ago, BBC's Newsnight, hosted by Jeremy Paxman, ran a report about the therapeutic uses of music, in particular, Mozart.

Two behavioural studies showed evidence that playing Mozart to over-active or inattentive children helped to calm them down and concentrate. One report explained this by analysing the frequencies preferred by Mozart and found that they matched a corresponding preference in the human brain. Roughly.
The second study involved boys with Tourette's Syndrome, or similar disorders. The director of this study concluded that it was not the frequencies of the music which was pacifying the subjects, but music itself. And the reason why Mozart should be particularly effective may have been because he was also subject to uncontrollable, anti-social outbursts, and that he used music as a pacifier for his inner eccentricities, or genius, as we call it. This attempt to direct this energy is still encoded in Mozart's compositions, and that when 'downloaded' or 'installed' into the listener, have the same effect which Mozart was trying to achieve for himself - peace.
The implications of this simple way of looking at music are, as Paxman said at the time, "Absolutely fascinating." The trouble is, no-one now seems to know what became of that research, or who conducted it.

And in the meantime, the power of music is being harnessed by the kind of people who always end up creating barbarisms, and is used as a torture machine. The exact opposite of what god intended. An obscene crime against humanity for which the guilty should fry in hell as long as any in diabolic history. This is probably a recent perversion, music is more usually famous for being able to relieve pain, which I can testify to from recent personal experience. Long story.
William Burroughs accounts how he once kicked heroin using marijuana and Louis Armstrong records. The assumption being that music can work as an analgesic. Like a chemical which matches the pharmokinesis of a headache. Or even that the music might not be merely blocking a neurological action, but that it might be conveying something more specific, as in the theory of Mozart and Tourettes sufferers. That music is a form of encryption as potentially powerful as computer code.

Experience has taught me that heroin-sodden jazz by Charlie Parker and John Coltrane has a predictable effect on my dentist's drill, and that it can ease the pain of a spinal tap during a recent hospital stay for Guillaime Barre syndrome. I was only allowed minimal doses of hospital morphine, so had to get it some other way, namely via the encoded form of those who encoded it in their music.


'Imagine' Oliver Sacks. BBC1.