Sunday, September 29, 2002

The anti-war march was a real eye-opener. The media may be unable to put a figure on the number of people marching, but I can tell you first-hand - it was huge. I've been on a few demos in my time (and before you ask, yes, I firmly and rationally believed in what I was marching for and no, I did not wear a mask, cause any damage, throw anything at anyone, get drunk or shout abuse at the police - I'm a nice middle-class girl who always puts her litter in the bin), and none was as big as this, not Mayday, not Reclaim the Streets, not the Criminal Justice Bill protests, nothing.

Demos are always uplifting - being part of a huge crowd of people that are committed to making a stand for what they believe in is exhilarating - but this was special because of the number and variety of people that were there. Lots of Muslims (the majority of whom, may I say, were women - so let's just stop and think before we use Iraq's appalling treatment of women as an excuse to bomb them) but also lots of Christians, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists etc., all united in the belief that terrorism is bad, but war is worse.

I'm no expert on the Middle East situation but I am deeply ashamed that the Prime Minister of my country - whom I generally held to be an intelligent, morally-upright individual - is prepared simply to throw away our entire moral code in one fell swoop by following that dangerous idiot G.W Bush into an unjustified war. So as well as making my point by joining the march, I also used the excellent service provided by to make a direct appeal to Frank "Dobbo" Dobson to stop Tony committing an act of moral bankruptcy. Here's the text:

To: Rt Hon Frank Dobson
MP for Holborn and St. Pancras
House Of Commons

Sunday 29 September 2002

Dear Rt Hon Frank Dobson,

I am writing to tell you that I took part in the very large demonstration in London yesterday to protest against the mooted pre-emptive strike on Iraq, and to appeal to you directly to help the UK avoid any such course of action.

The notion of a pre-emptive strike, whatever the perceived justification, is morally wrong. We cannot launch an attack on a country in which innocent civilians will certainly be killed, merely on the suspicion that one day, that nation may do the same to us.

As we in the West generally position ourselves as the moral guardians of the world, to do so would send a signal that it is morally OK, in our book, for any nation to attack another nation whom it suspects of harbouring a grudge against it.

This precedent could lead to utter moral bankruptcy the world over. I am both frightened and deeply ashamed that the Prime Minister of my country - whom I have supported vigorously in the past - is so willing to throw away the moral code that the vast majority of people in this country live by.

Frank, as our local representative in government, please help our great country avoid this shameful act of aggression.

Who knows whether Frank will listen to my plea, but if you're reading this and you feel strongly too, fax your MP now! We live in a supposed democracy, so exercise your democratic rights while you still can!

Saturday, September 28, 2002

I can't even begin to tell you how much has changed around here since blogging became a valid form of expression. There I was, sniping at the system with my controversial musings on the usefulness of examining the original locations of the Pictish symbol stones, and snapping at the heels of the old guard with my pointed asides about stationery - and now suddenly here I am, fully approved of and appropriated by The Man. It's all happened too soon! Where was the tabloid hysteria about the creeping menace of depraved individuals secretly typing their innermost thoughts into the internet where decent people might see them? Why were there no grainy close-ups of "ringleader" Tom Coates in the Daily Mail, wearing a hooded fleece and tapping diabolically at his keyboard? Where were the hastily rushed-through amendments to the Criminal Justice Act, the granting of emergency police powers to search the homes of suspected "bloggers" without warrant? Why was Sasha's bus stop not burned to the ground by angry lynch mobs? Revolution's just not what it used to be. Right - I'm off to the Stop the War march.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Les sanglots longs
des violons
de l'automne
blessent mon coeur
d'une langueur

Such may have been Paul Verlaine's opinion of this time of year, but it isn't mine. There is nothing in the whole world better than the autumn. The sun just warm enough to bring out the smell of turning leaves, the sky by turns bright blue and ominous black, the plastic bags caught in the wind, the first days of wearing jumpers, boots and 40-denier tights, and best of all, new stationery. Yes, even though I graduated nine years ago I continue to live by the rhythm of the academic year, which is why today I found myself happily bumbling around Camden Town Rymans, buying folders that I'll use diligently for a week before reverting to scrawling on the back of bits of paper that I will then immediately lose. All hail to the Snopake ReOrganiser, a folder that evokes comfortable yet exciting images of well-planned projects brought to fruitful, measurable and career-enhancing conclusions. First thing tomorrow my current project is going into the "Electra Purple" ReOrganiser ("Electra Blue" has been reserved for my next MA course). Check back here on the 4th October to learn whether the magical polypropylene talisman delivered on its promise!

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Just been made aware of this. I feel like the "I didn't do it" boy. Perhaps in a bid to assert my multidimensionality - but more likely because the autumn is coming - I went out and bought a totally uncool book about ley lines. (If you want a totally cool book about ley lines, try this). Ley lines, maps, place-names, codes and ciphers - these are my cerebral equivalents of woolly jumpers and mugs of cocoa. Roll on October!
News just in: doyen of stylish London living, Duncan Bartley, explores the fashionable addresses on Camden's swinging Parkway.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Apparently, it's been all go this week. Someone accused me of being articulate. Then someone else accused me of being inarticulate. The word "elitism" got bandied about a lot, usually erroneously. I went to Brussels. Stayed in the godforsaken Airport Sheraton, unable to sleep because of the giant neon Europe symbol blazing just outside the window. They've got a sculpture of a horseman in the foyer made entirely out of rifles. Weird and horrible. Came back to learn that I am now a company director. I'm a director of Romarin Publishing (warning: noises of church bells and cigales), the most profitable publishing house in the Haut Languedoc. You go, Romarin Publishing! Now I must go as H. has come home and I have not seen him for a week.

Sunday, September 15, 2002


Just minutes after posting the "Not the Best British Blog" box, I found myself poking around in the Guardian website, ending up in the blog of an individual called Steve Bowbrick. Now Danny O'Brien says that Steve Bowbrick's alright, so I'll go easy, but his musings on the entries for the *controversial* Best British Blog competition are indicative of the incredible distance the print media has managed to travel up its own arse. "I think the competition will prove to be a real validation for the new form," he witters, as though he was some kind of St Peter at the Pearly Gates of Mass Media Heaven. Look mate, you've totally missed the point. You're not validating us, we're invalidating you!

Enough of all that - time to establish my girlie credentials. Having seen the film "A Knight's Tale", er, several times over the past few weeks (thanks Telewest Front Row!), I feel that I speak from a position of considerable authority in informing you that Edward the Black Prince - aka James Purefoy, one of those Primrose Hill-dwelling luvvies no doubt - is very easy on the eye indeed. Here he is, ladies (and gentlemen). If you haven't yet seen this film, you must. Again and again, until Telewest's customer profiling system caves in upon itself. I mean, look at that coat! Look at that unbuttoned white shirt! Mr Darcy has nothing on this. Oh, and I bought some sparkly cushions and a khaki sheepskin rug today in Camden market. It's official: I *am* female!

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Sedition in the ranks! Here's a box listing some of the people who haven't entered the Guardian's *controversial* Best British Blog competition. It's something to do with free expression and not needing to be validated by the moribund trad media. It's anarchy on the wires folks - the media industry's had its day. Are you listening, M.T. Moloney?

Cheers to Tom "Best Blogger/Best Poof 2001" Coates from Plasticbag for this.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Ahh, normal service has returned to Blogger after a week of indecipherable errors preventing me from posting. So anyway, some things happened. First of all, I finally moved to Reading. The flat is excellently low-tech. The phone line isn't working and the portable TV only receives three channels - BBC1, ITV and Channel 5. Clearly there's not much call for bourgeois intellectualism in central Berkshire.

Secondly, I had a letter from my tutor informing me that I can no longer flame him as his home PC has been stolen. Poor old tutor, trying to mark his students' essays on the impact of new communications technologies on modern society, only to have his own modest brush with modernity - an AOL account he set up in July - cruelly truncated by the selfish actions of a naughty burglar. Anyway, the essay went off to him in the end, although once again he will probably refuse to mark my febrile rantings about and the RIP Act. Even Pyra got a mention in this one. Instant recipe for a fail.

Thirdly, it was the anniversary of September 11th, an occasion marked by the distribution to millions of employees of hyperbolic, mawkish and jingoistic e-mails emanating from American corporate CEOs. At our place we got off lightly, with a tastefully understated exhortation to remember our eight colleagues who died, but others displayed positively Spielbergian levels of schmaltz. Top prize goes to Anne Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox Corp., whose opening parry reads "The events of last September 11 are forever etched on our minds and seared on our hearts," and continues in this vein for fully four paragraphs, ending with a vow that Bin Laden and co will never force any Xerox office to shut down. You go, Xerox Corp! Not to be outdone, John Mack "The Knife", CEO of Credit Suisse First Boston, implored his troops never to forget the "spirit and sacrifice" of a colleague who lost his life in the attack. Sacrifice, eh? In whose name?

If you have a mawkish company 9-11 e-mail to "share", paste it into the Shout Out and we'll have a contest. No disrespect meant, just a good old British sense of stiff upper lip.

Friday, September 06, 2002

I've got to one of those work stages where even if I worked 24 hours a day for the next week, I still wouldn't get all my work done, let alone any of the other stuff. There are things piling up all around me; work things, degree things (like my last essay written during my holiday but not sent off and now 10 days late just because I can't engineer it, me, a printer, an envelope, a stamp and my tutor's address to be in the same place at the same time); things about buying the house in Scotland; insurancey things about the house in France; things about moving into the flat in Reading on Monday; friends' emails not replied to, Duncan Bartley's column not updated; things my Dad wants me to do about becoming a director of his company, and on and on and ON. That's why I'm off to the Oxford Arms now, to play Gun Crime Bingo.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Magpies. Wretched creatures usually hang about on their own just at the roundabout going into my office "campus". One time I saw a lone magpie actually hopping about by a squashed feathered corpse. So as you can imagine I've become a bit haunted by that "one for sorrow, two for joy" rhyme. Well, yesterday there were two magpies on the roundabout, and we did some great interviews with the FT and Business Week. Today there were two magpies again, and I went into a mad dynamic workaholic fury, sending thousands of emails and dreaming up crazy new strategies off the top of my head and firing them off to random internal mailing lists. Is it the magpies? Is it the onset of autumn? Or is it mania? I saw two gigantic crows at 10.15am too. What does it all mean?