Surf’s Up Down Under

I woke this morning to find a few pics in my inbox from some pals in Botany Bay . . . this one caught my eye

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Note the white foamy beast’s proximity to the rocks; that, and the nasty-looking white impact zone make this a definite look-but-don’t-touch . . . which obviously had no significance for the nutter riding this monster who subsequently decided to tweak the nose of the water Gods with some air moves:

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 Thanks to Lionel Bartlett and Stephen Sharkey for the photos.

The Power of the Mob

To Hyde Park to see Aerosmith in action. I’ve not been to a large outdoor concert in years and had forgotten the little customs and habits that can make or break the day. One new development seems to be people holding up camera-phones now instead of lighters. A technological advance I suppose and in terms of lighting, the effect is much the same.

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Anyway, it was raining . . . hard. By the time Chris Cornell finished his supporting set (excellent, and, considering I know him only as the guy who sang the Bond theme and who had some sort of vague connection to Pearl Jam, surprising to boot) most of the crowd were drenched and umbrellas were popping up all over the place.

Nobody complained . . . I mean lets face it, when the stage is manned by roadies setting out Aerosmith’s 319 guitars there isn’t much to see. Round about 8.45pm Aerosmith came on stage to a raucous rendition of Love in an Elevator.

The umbrellas stayed up.

Bad move.

People who have paid £45 to see a rock n’ roll band from Boston don’t like a) having their view obscured by an umbrella and b) having the dripping detritus of London’s sky rolling off an umbrella onto the back of your neck and, in some poor feckers’ case, both of the above.

I can’t recall who threw the first bottle but it was what Sunday Independent journos call a ‘watershed moment’. An astonished gasp from the folks all around me as the half-full Evian receptacle hit the folks unfortunate enough to be close by to a large golf brolly about 12 feet away. A few giggles. A few whispers . . .

. . . then came the next bottle – a direct hit. This is what Sunday Independent journos call a ‘tipping point’. The brolly holder paid no attention so a third bottle was launched, then a fourth and a couple more hit home before the brolly folded to a large cheer. I looked about and the same brutal process was happening all over Hyde Park. Brollies were getting a battering from any obstacle that came to hand (cardboard pint cups, cardboard pint cups with beer still in them, plastic bottles, toilet roll [unused]). And the more brollies that folded under the pressure the less time was required to ‘persuade’ the remaining brolly holders of the error of their ways . . . It was, dear reader, a spiralling, wonderful sight.

So here we have a majority (the drenched) getting their way over an oppressive elite (the brollies). Sunday Indy readers might think of this as democracy in action but really it was mob rule and quite frankly having seen everyone leave Hyde Park in more or less an equal state of squelching wetness, mob rule rules.

Gangrene in Gaza

As with all international crises I like to put myself in the position of those suffering through them. Of course, living a comfy live in the UK means I’ll never get closer than a rough, approximation of what things are like on the ground but it’s the least you can do.

So what would you do if you were a people struggling for your own state and the international community had stopped aid from getting through to your government and you suffered troubled relations with a neighbour next door who controlled your borders?

Protest strongly at the UN? Withdraw a delegate or two from those states that do recognise you? Garner international support from some influential people? Maybe give Bono a call?

My guess is slaughtering your own countrymen would feature low down on that list.

When people protest that Gaza has turned into a bloodbath because wicked Europeans and the Great Satan have turned off the money tap they’re close to iterating by-now rather tired prejudices against the big powers of the age. No opportunity’s too good to pass up if it means you can lay the boot into the US and the EU. Alas this time the same old targets are so stale the blows aren’t penetrating.

Jeremy Bowen writes: “The financial sanctions . . . caused severe hardship and helped fuel the violence in Gaza”

Hardship there certainly was, but if killing your own people is the response it is surely legitimate to ask: is it a sane response?

When Israel realised it could no longer occupy Palestinian land in Gaza it got out of the hellhole that Gaza (in part one could argue thanks to Israeli occupation) had become. The Palestinians then had a golden opportunity to turn Gaza into something resembling civilisation. I cannot help feeling the opportunity has not been grasped.

Well Well Well My Novell

The first I knew about the deal was when a former colleague told me a bunch of engineers in Germany had resigned in disgust.

‘Not another shady deal with Microsoft?’
‘Yup.’
Read more

Concrete Dullards

Luminaire takes its music seriously. Signs inform punters that speaking during songs will elicit a swift ‘shut up’. It’s the only venue I know where people rush for a chat as well as the toilet during breaks. So just the sort of place to see soft and sensitive souls The Concretes showcase new abum “Hey Troubl” then? Alas, with new singer (and former drummer) Lisa Milberg up front, the Concretes got off to a lacklustre start in Luminaire’s hushed atmosphere. Eventually getting to clap-alongs such as new single “Oh Boy” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” pleased a grateful crowd, but ultimately the seven-piece achieved the odd combination of not taking themselves too seriously while remaining steadfastly dull. Fulfilling all the Swedish cliches and looking as if designed by a teenager with a copy of Razzle, the stunning Milberg seemed more interested in her hair than engaging with the audience. Perhaps it was nerves brought on by the scary signs?