Friday, 7 December 2012

Tough shit love, you're now a footnote.

It's not known, yet, how Jacintha Saldanha died. It's just really not very likely that she killed herself because she was tricked into Betraying The Future Queen. She may have died of natural causes, she may have taken her own life for reasons personal to her and nothing whatsoever to do with the Royal Pregnancy. But that hasn't stopped a worldwide frenzy of bucketheads pooing with rage and demanding PUNISHMENTS. Morons everywhere are insisting that a couple of daft DJs 'have her blood on their hands' and 'should be jailed'.

It doesn't take that big or ill-fitting a tinfoil hat to think that this is a press frenzy with purposes that have nothing to do with the unfortunate Saldanha. Firstly, you've got the assorted rich and powerful types embroiled in the Murdoch empire's phone-hacking business, who would all like the peasants to stop fussing about a little bit of corruption among their betters. Murdoch did his best to create a climate of fuckwitted, spiteful, unthinking sentimentality that could be channelled in whatever direction best suited the interests of him and his mates: such an environment demands a ready supply of both scapegoats and sacrificial victims. News International mixed the two categories up once too often and have been brought close to destruction by the machinery they created - the whole resevoir of slobbering outrage they created suddenly got unleashed on them when they were proven to have done harm to the individuals they built into talismans of 'innocence' and 'hope'. And now all of a sudden there's an opportunity to redirect all that not-very-clever emotional incontinence at someone else: two immature and thoughtless radio performers. They can be recast as symptoms of Everything That's Wrong, labelled as all-but-murderers. Everyone, go and hate them. If you don't hate them, you don't.... CARE.

Of course, it wouldn't have arisen at all if not for the idea that Kate Windsor being up the duff is something that matters. 

'pic originally from The Onion'

To most sensible people, it's about as important as hearing that your work colleague's cousin's mate is pregnant and suffering from a pregnancy-related illness. She's in hospital with hyperemesis gravidum? Oh dear, poor girl, that's nasty. Anyway, have you seen my stapler? But to the admittedly loose-ish consortion of The Powerful, that's not a useful attitude. People have to be made to understand that royalty, like celebrities, are important and must be worshipped, and that to laugh at them or take little notice of them is wrongful thinking. And now look, look! Some naughty peasants tried to take the mickey and SOMEONE'S DEAD BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT REVERENCE.

Poor Jacintha Saldanha. She was a person with a life and a narrative of her own. If her death actually was suicide, it would most likely have been for reasons that mattered to her: imminent bankruptcy, her marriage breaking up, having been diagnosed with a terminal illness... any number of things could have mattered to her a lot more than one particularly wealthy and well-connected patient at her workplace.  However she died, however important she was to her family and friends, she's now the Nurse Who Killed Herself Over Kate Windsor, and her death's been co-opted by the media and quite possibly the government as a symbol of the most imaginary evils of the modern world - satire and silliness. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

'Wobbly' about abortion? Think it's 'complicated'?

Then you're either hard of thinking or you're a woman-hating arsehole. 'As early as possible, as late as necessary'. That's how it ought to be. And yes, that does mean I support the right to abortion on demand, right up to the moment of birth.

Because women matter more than foetuses.

Maybe you think you're a reasonable person, and you agree that it's wrong for a woman to be legally compelled to continue a pregnancy if that pregnancy was the result of rape. Or if continuing it is going to kill her. Oh, if you think your imaginary friend ensures that raped women don't get pregnant (unless it wasn't  real rape) and that your imaginary friend thinks foetuses are so special that women never die during pregnancy unless they're like, bad in some way and bring it on themselves, then you are so stupid you shouldn't be allowed near a computer.  .

Maybe you're not quite that stupid, and you don't hate women quite that much. Maybe you just think that it's terribly sad if a late pregnancy is aborted, and you'd rather that didn't happen, because it makes you feel a bit icky. If you're all 'waa, waa, but some women want late abortions because, well, because they want to go on holiday, or they don't like the hospital nightie they were given' then you are still stupid. And you are still a woman-hating arsehole, just more stupid than malevolent. Because you'd have to hate women to consider that so many of them will just abort their pregnancies, given the freedom to do so, that it's worth letting women like Savita Halappanavar die. Or Angela Carder. Or all the women who die from pregnancies their bodies can't cope with, or from unsafe abortions they undergo because they can't get safe, legal ones. Both Savita Hallapanavar's and Angela Carder's unviable foetuses died, and would have died no matter what, but the antichoice, woman-hating arseholes influencing policies ensured that those women died too.

If you have ever taken part in anti-choice activism, then I hold you in just as much contempt as I hold the EDL and the BNP. You are a moronic, bigoted waste of oxygen and there is no excuse for your behaviour. If you're just a whinyarse worried about the idea of other women aborting, then just get your head round this. 



And your imaginary fucking friend is as irrelevant to this as it is to everything else. I am just not going to bother with tiptoeing round the sensibilities of the superstitious or the antichoice. Ever.

Oh, and one final thing: If you are anti-abortion because you have fertility issues, I am sorry for your problems. But that still doesn't make other women's lives, wombs or choices any of your business.

Friday, 2 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Yes? No? Yes? No?

So I signed up. Well, sort of - every time I try to access the website it crashes my laptop, which some people might consider a Cosmic Indication to stop farting about on the Internet and start doing the actual bloody novelising.

Because, of course, in case you didn't know, in case I hadn't mentioned it every five minutes, I do actually have a novel that I am in the process of writing. (About 8000 words in so far, though only 1600 odd of them officially within the NaNoWriMo dateline) and I thought that it might add a little extra kickarsery to my computer time if every time I switched on and checked Facebook I got a little reminder that I should be working.

But then I had a little nosy about, as you do, and discovered that quite a few people hate NaNoWriMo as much as others love it, and I started wondering. Plenty of professional writers get impatient with amateur writers, and it's true that a lot of amateur writers deserve a degree of it. There's the ones who 'want to' write but don't read, so haven't got a clue what makes a good book, there's the ones who think that writing 'genre' fiction (which they always say with a sneer) is the best way to make a fortune, there's the ones who want to bend the ear of the professional about how they can't get published because publishing is a Closed Shop, waa waa waa - the worse the whining, the worse the book, I have always found - and the ones who 'would love to write a book' but never sit down and do so. To an extent, there's a big positive for the old Nano, it might make these people shut up and stay indoors and actually have a go, for a whole month. And I am generally in favour of art-as-therapy for the unhappy anyway: it is good to express something of yourself, even if your self is actually very uninteresting and inarticulate. The problem arises when you start trying to make other people read it.

However, I think that there is a more pernicious trap in NaNoWriMo, and it's this: Wordcounts or no wordcounts, what can happen with signing up for something like this is you don't do as much actual writing as you do talking about writing. Feverishly comparing scores, reading the rather variable advice from others, reminding everyone you know that you have Signed Up For NaNoWriMo..... and then it's the end of the month and you have managed half a chapter of crap.

On which note, time I got offline and on with Chapter 3.

(all pics 'borrowed' after random googling.)

Friday, 19 October 2012

What we need is a Fuckwit Certificate.

Started thinking about this via a discussion on reproductive rights: specifically, the right of medical professionals to refuse to perform or assist in termination of pregnancy if that goes against their personal viewpoint/what they think their imaginary friend would want. There's also been that recent matter of the B&B owner who wouldn't let a gay couple share a bed, because her imaginary friend wouldn't like it.

Thing is, in a proper free world, people should be allowed to have all the imaginary friends - and all the apparently necessary prejudices and phobias that having imaginary friends entail  - that they want. But they should be upfront about their prejudices and phobias. After all, given that obeying their imaginary friend is Ever So Important and part of their Cultural Identity and their Very Selves, why hide it? Even those who are bigots just because they're bigots are generally proud of their bigotry.

So they ought to have to announce it. When you go to register at a GP surgery, the list of doctors should contain information to the effect that Dr A is opposed to abortion, Dr B isn't fussed about anything and Dr C is a bit fond of the power of prayer. If you're booking a holiday that's going to include visits to small scale independent B&Bs, any and every source of tourist information should include in its ratings: Sea View guest house is not keen on gays/Hill Top guest house insists on prayers before meals/Bide-A-Wee guest house is run by United supporters and will get all arsey with City fans. Etc.

Then people are sufficiently well-informed to be able to avoid the bigots and the nutters and get what they want or need elswhere.
In general, though, if you are superstitious to the extent that you want to stop other people from doing things that are perfectly legal and (outside of your particular cult) acceptable, you should probably stay out of careers that involve engaging with the general public. I have admittedly vague memories of some bloke who took a job in a train buffet but wouldn't serve alcohol, and wanted all alcohol removed from the buffet car for the duration of his shift. I seem to recall he got the sack... but then sued on the grounds of religious discrimination. That story may be a baa-baa-green-sheep racist invention, of course, but I *have* encountered people who are that self-obsessed and self-righteous, in other contexts.

So what we really need is some kind of 'Not all the services or facilities you might expect are available from this operative, because this operative is an arsepigeon' kind of easy-comprehension sticker or logo.

Perhaps it could look like this.

I pinched that graphic (and the other one) Somewhere Off The Interweb and wish its creator well. But maybe I've just offered her/him a lucrative new use for it.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Male arsepigeons - do it all you like but don't joke about it...

Seems to me that's what we're being told here. Think about it: Matthew Wood, a clearly rather knobbish teenager, makes some jokes on Facebook and gets sent to prison for three months. Justin Lee Collins, a clearly rather knobbish television presenter of some description, abuses, terrorizes and attacks his girlfriend. And gets 140 hours community service.

(pic cribbed from the BBC news website, because it let me without blowing up my laptop...)

No, those of you who haven't been keeping up with the news, I haven't got those sentences the wrong way round. Crap jokes = into the nick with you. Sustained bullying of a woman = less than a month picking up litter or painting over graffiti.

I suppose some might say that this sort of thing is down to the judiciary's cluelessness about social media (remember Paul Chambers, who tweeted an obvious-to-anyone-with-any-sense joke about blowing up an airport, and whose initial conviction was eventually overturned) but I think it's something more depressing than that. I think it's another manifestation of the sort of fuckwitted, malevolent sentimentality that Rupert Murdoch was always so keen to foster, as if you can get people to use their emotions as a guide rather than their intelligence, you can make them do whatever you want. Matthew Wood was arrested for his own safety, apparently. His 'crime' has been described as 'abhorrent'. 

He made some tasteless jokes about missing children. There is no suggestion whatsoever that he had anything to do with the disappearance of April Jones - or of Madeleine McCann, and no mention of him having committed any other crimes of any kind, yet he's been sent to prison and it's been implied that had any Right Thinking People given him a kicking, it would have been understandable. 
Funnily enough, the sort of men that are the most likely to get both teary-eyed and violent over 'offensive' jokes about dead kiddies are often the type who are quite happy to give their own wives - and kiddies - a slap now and again. Coverage of the Collins case featured plenty of handy hints that Anna Larke had some mental health problems, drank too much, self harmed... That she was a bit of a handful, a bit of a mad cow, and that a slap or two was probably no more than she deserved. It very often seems that victims of abuse or violence are more likely to get justice if they can be portrayed as innocent or at least lovable to the general public.

Perhaps the best thing to hope for is that the smug, arrogant Collins is cocky enough to post a few 'amusing' tweets about the whole endlessly hilarious business of controlling women by humiliating and scaring them. eh?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

My little big thrill

OK, so it was another of those irrationally quiet and customer-free days on the market. I say irrational because I simply don't understand why people weren't out and about on what was apparently the Last Lovely Day of the year, but they weren't. So I might have come home dispirited. But I didn't. Not in the least. Because the Good Thing happened.

I expect you've all got your own particular Good Things that happen to you very rarely, but when they do, they're unmistakeable, unfakeable and it's probably a bit of a mercy that your brain lets you forget about them when you haven't had one for a while. One of mine, just by way of digression, is seeing or hearing a band that I had previously known nothing about, and them being utterly fabulous to the point of instantly becoming my new favourite band ever. A couple of years ago, for instance, I saw this lot... 

That's The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, in case you didn't know, check them out, they are like nothing else on earth and completely brilliant.

The other Good Thing is book-related. To be specific, it's the moment when I have the right idea for a book, the idea that makes the whole thing fall into place, and it always seems to come, not quite out of nowhere, but somewhere unexpected. About 20 years ago, I was sort-of-commissioned to write a novel, or at least be one of the people writing a novel for a new-ish publishing venture, and I had some vague ideas but nothing that was exactly crystallizing. And then I got given one or two useful pointers by a colleague and I thought I knew what kind of story I wanted to write, and I went home for a bit, and I went to the pub for a bit, and scribbled frantically on the backs of envelopes, and then went home again and played the last song on a review tape that I hadn't finished listening to. And the lightning struck.

The song, if you're interested, was this and I'm still massively fond of it. Every time I hear it I remember spending a fortnight in the Scottish Highlands with my notebooks and a load of red wine, after my holiday companions had gone to bed for the night, endlessly playing that tape on my headphones and scribbling like mad.

The book in question ended up being this one.

I have no idea how many copies are left in existence, but that's mine and you can't have it.
But yesterday, sitting beside the river with a can or two and no customers, doodling vague sort of outlines for the vague sort of commission and knowing I had a set up but no plot, out of nowhere for no particular reason (the radio was being broadcast over the sight and it was actually playing Amy Winehouse doing Valerie at the specific moment, so not directly influential)... the Great Idea occurred.

If you want to know what it was, though, you'll have to wait till next year, when the book's done and in the bookshops. But so far it's made me happy.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Tasteless is a Good Thing

Tasteless is good. Offensive is good. Stupid and offensive is still good, though clever, witty and offensive all in one bucket is the absolute best. Offensiveness gets people talking and thinking.
All that guff about tthese T-shirts, for instance. Yes, they are a bit unsubtle. But quite a few people who are now thinking, acting, stuff-buying adults are going to be a bit bemused by a) the existence of such t-shirts and b) the fact that other people are annoyed by them. To anyone who was born after about 1985, those t-shirts are about as relevant or interesting as a t-shirt that says 'Black Death, No Thanks' or 'Bring Back Pan's People'. Actually, those t-shirts are about as essentially important as assorted farts going on about how they've never met a nice South African and ignoring the fact that plenty of people who were born in South Africa fled from the place.
However, people's right to buy such t-shirts is important to defend. No matter how horrible you think the slogan on someone's t-shirt is, if you feel entitled to attack him/her the your own ideology and worldview has a fault or two in it.

Never forget, if censorship's the answer, it's a fucking stupid question. If censorship is being proposed as the answer, it's definitely worth asking what the question is.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Market Musings

We had a nice day out at the Environment Fair in Carshalton on Bank Holiday Monday. I mean, give me a field, a bar and some live music and I'm likely to be as happy as a pig in poop anyway, but fairs and festivals also provide me with the chance to do a little hustling of various kinds. So I handed out some cards, metaphorically donning and doffing several of my work-hats in the course of the day (Yes, like most self-employed people, I have cards for several different clients...) but I spent a fair percentage of the time asking various stallholders if they'd ever considered trading at a market I sometimes stall out at.

It's this one: Merton Abbey Mills and it's one of the nicer environments to take yourself to: decent places to eat and drink nearby (and a Sainsburys if you are feeling budgety rather than indulgent), historic setting, my beloved River Wandle flowing past. Etc.

(photo lifted from the MAM facebook page)

At the moment, it's a little quiet and could do with more customers and, more importantly, a few more stalls. And I just wanted to say that I thoroughly approve of the way they are going about the business of acquiring more new traders. Some markets would do pretty much anything not to have a vacant stall about the place, so they scrabble around madly encouraging new traders no matter what the traders sell. With the predictable result that what was once an arts and crafts market turns into a car boot sale; first there's a deluge of been-there-seen-that imported hippy tat and dope-smoking implements, then in come the dodgy DVD sellers and the five-lighters-for-a-pound merchants and the whole thing collapses under its own weight of boredom.

But this isn't what's happening here. The management at Merton Abbey Mills offers reasonably-priced stalls to people who are selling interesting or good-standard artsy-craftsy or vintage-type stuff but, more importantly, if you make what you are selling yourself and it's interesting and of a good standard, you get a free pitch.
Luckily, what I do counts as make-your-own, as of course it should. Yes I purchase blank badge components and blank fridge magnets and use a computer to create stuff, but I wouldn't put myself in the same category as those people who buy How To Do Craft magazines with bits on and faithfully copy the designs suggested.

The other Hard Work bit I do in preparation involves picking over each stock category and dividing it into Clean and Smutty.

As you might imagine, this can sometimes take a while. But now I've learned to stick the badges on five different smaller pinboards according to theme, it's getting slightly quicker.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Way to go, feminist freedom fighters!

Any veteran feminist will have spent a good few chunks of time having to explain that feminism doesn't mean hairy-legged lesbian fun-spoiling whiners. Many of us will also have had to explain that criticizing male privilege isn't the same as hating men, and that banning porn and persecuting sex work is not the 'feminist' position, it's just what some feminists think.

And then here come these fucking idiots. I'm certainly not going to disagree that 50 Shades is an appallingly-written crock of shit. I'm not even going to disagree that it sends out the unfortunate message that abusive men are romantic, and that women can 'heal' them by putting up with their horrible behaviour and just... just loving them so much. Puke. But I am going to disagree that the best way to deal with this is to burn copies of the books.

The Internet is hoaching with brilliant, funny, angry, intelligent takedowns of this wanky trilogy, of which Bizzybiz is about the best. Circulate those and encourage your mates to read them by all means. But don't call for book-burnings. It makes you look ignorant, spiteful, controlling, attention-seeking (what does the stupid woman mean, 'no one is speaking out against it'? See above, you fuckwit! Just google 'Feminist criticism 50 Shades') and makes women who might benefit from a bit of feminism percieve feminists as bullies. Because only bullies burn books. You'd think some feminists would have learned  by now that pro-censorship is not a comfortable position as censorship has always been used against women, against progress, against freedom. Because censorship is about defending the interests of the powerful, the stupid and the egotistical, and there is not one single example of book burners anywhere, ever, turning out to be the Good Guys.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

It's really FUCKING simple...

The next post on this blog was going to be a nice bouncy one about how I'm off to White Mischief in a couple of days with a whole load of new badges and stuff. But the news is all full of screaming arseholes again, so I felt like addressing them.

And yes, OK, sorry, got to be done, TRIGGER WARNING.

If you are doing any kind of sex with any other person, it's not just a matter of behaving as if they won't mind if they don't notice. Or if no one else notices that you did or are doing it to someone who is not screaming and shouting in protest.

If you are doing sex with someone that person should be expressing appreciation and participating with equal enthusiasm. That's the bare minimum of civilised sexual interaction. If you are in a state where you are incapable of noticing whether or not the other person is enthusiastic about what's going on, you're not fit to be having any kind of physical contact with human beings (or with livestock, before anyone starts...)

But, but, but, waa, waa, waa... Here are some of the things that people who are well-intentioned but not all that smart sometimes say.

'I don't mind when my partner touches me up if I'm asleep/we grope each other in our sleep and we've been doing it for years. Should one/both of us go to jaaaaaaaiiiiiiiil if those nasty feminists say so?'

If you are in a happy relationship and both of you have agreed that half-asleep sex is romantic and lovely, that's fine. If your relationship is a healthy one, both (or however many there are) of you will also know at a very deep level that if the initiating touch is greeted with a sleepy grumble or a moving away, the toucher STOPS touching.

'We are into BDSM/roleplay and it turns us on for one person to be doing all the doing and the other one to be either lying still or tied up and gagged.'

You've negotiated it beforehand. (If you haven't, then the active one is either a predator or a fucking idiot.) You've agreed a method of checking that it's all OK, at intervals, which doesn't break the fantasy. (If you haven't, then you are both idiots, even if the active one has no wish to abuse the other. People who are enthusiastic and willing about all sorts of out-there sex can still get asthma attacks/cramp/sudden remembrance that they left the gas on and need to STOP the sex and deal with the problem).

'S/he is a person with disabilities which mean that s/he can't actively participate/speak his/her appreciation.'

Yes, that's on the edge of likelihood but hey, people with disabilities are not necessarily asexual. However, if a person has *no means whatsoever* of communicating pleasure or displeasure then this is not a person you should be engaging in sexual activity with. If you are contemplating sexual interaction with someone whose methods of communication are limited for physical reasons, you need to be very careful in establishing a method that works quickly.

Oh, and the old grey areas of confusion (50-shades-of-grey areas of confusion is a whole other blog post. Which I might get round to fairly soon). There's a difference between confusion and sexual assault, and the difference is that the confused-but-harmless person WILL STOP at the first objection. I had an encounter with a harmless idiot once. We met at a party in a house he lived in. We chatted, in the course of the evening, about kinky sex. We had a lot to drink and we went to bed together. I woke up while he was in the process of tying me to the bed, very incompetently.

So I yanked my hand free and whacked him with it, and read him a righteous lecture on how lucky we both were - him, that I wasn't about to press charges and me, that he was a fuckwit and not seriously dangerous. His justification was that his last girlfriend had found it erotic. I explained to him that different people like different things, that it's unwise to assume anything and finally, you total bellend, you hadn't listened to a word I said, had you? I'm a TOP! I'm the one who does the tying up!

He was very sorry. To this day I think he was a wally rather than a sexual predator. Because he stopped, straight away. This is why I believe women who say they have been assaulted and/or raped, even if they were drunk, even if they were wearing short skirts, even if they had snogged the face off the rapist earlier. We know the difference between an idiot and a rapist. We know the difference between crappy, clumsy, drunken sex that we rather regret, and a sexual assault.

Anyway, if you've nothing to do on Thursday night, come and buy some badges. I'm still working on slogans that sum up the above...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Here we go then.

Oh... hello. Anyone out there? That's all right then. If I were to say this is less of a blog and more of a flog, would you all get the wrong idea? Maybe I ought to change the profile pic, even though these days my arse is probably more appealing than my face (as long as I stay off the Ikea Meatballs; oh boy do those things make you fart!). Anyway, until I get another pic, that one will have to do, but don't be fooled into thinking I'm a sub and this is a thinly-disguised appeal for some berk who's read the hype about 50 Shades of Shit to send me a photo of his willy and a command to rock up to his Red Shed Bungalow Bedsit of Pain Ann Summers sale goods for a spot of anal fisting.

Basically I am too idle and incompetent to build a proper website, so I've decided to set this up instead as a way of letting you know what stuff I've got for sale, where I'm selling it, and anything else interesting that comes to mind. I've been running Decadent Media since about the turn of the century, mostly at the London Fetish Fair.  I've always sold books, right from the beginning; and over the years I've added (and subtracted, and sub-contracted) T-shirts, photographs, badges, keyrings, stickers and other odds and ends.

Currently, like quite a lot of people in the adult industry, I've been capitalizing on the hype around That (piss-awful) Book and hope to carry on doing so. 

The Guild Anthology has been doing quite nicely and I've been having a little success with The Master's Voice as well. 

But I haven't achieved the height of audacious cool demonstrated by this British hotelier. There are few things I love better than watching someone pull the public's tails and get themselves masses of free advertising by exercising a bit of wit.