A thought for the Twilight fans

This has started bouncing around the Twittersphere already, so I take no credit for it. But it bears repeating.

Vampires. Dead, right? We’re agreed on that. If they’re dead, then there’s no heartbeat. No heartbeat, no blood pressure. And as Twilight vamps shatter like glass when killed, we can assume that they are effectively bloodless.

Without blood pressure, how then does Edward get an erection with which to impregnate his blushing bride? Unless the process has gifted him with what no less a thinker than William Gibson has already described as:

A discussion to be had along the lines of that which takes place whenever we consider the possibility of Superman and Lois Lane starting a family. Enquiring minds wish to know.

Foto: A Nautilus On Wardour Street

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Alright, it’s a big Chinese lantern, but damned if it doesn’t look like an alien jellyfish flying towards Trafalgar Square. The big blue Mothership in the distance is the W Hotel, which changes colour like a contented cuttlefish at night, gently pulsing around the colour wheel.

Sometimes the town I work in is still capable of surprising me.

Graf Your Grub

A little something to bear in mind next time TLC and I have a bite to eat with that damned elusive docoBanksy. German food co-op The Deli Garage has come up with an edible food spray that could add an extra blingy touch to the Christmas dinner. Currently available in gold, silver, red and blue, the manufacturers claim that the colour is both odour-free and tasteless. Which is a bit of a shame. I kinda like the idea of spray-on barbeque flavour in a hot-rod red.

Flavoured spray could also add a whole new dimension to the graffiti shenanigans at Leake Street. Your line and fill might be a bit suspect, but boy does your piece taste good. Why cover up a rival’s graf when you can just lick it off? King Robbo: tastes like chicken. I know you can get spray cheeses and oils already. It wouldn’t take much to make my little dream come true.

It would certainly put a whole different spin on the idea of pepper spray…

Washing Instructions

Yes, it was late, and yes I was tired, and yes I had been drinking. And there is certainly an element of pareidolia (the phenomenon where we see faces in clouds and Jesus in a bit of toast) in what I saw.

So I have to take comfort in the fact that the washing instructions on our new hand towel  aren’t really telling me to OBEY.

Because gods know, that’s all I can see now when I look at that tag.

Documenting disorder: a riot aggregator

I think the last thing we need today is another under-informed commentator spraying ill-thought opinion around like a muskrat marking it’s territory. I’ll stick to aggregating some of the more interesting output I’ve seen over the past 36 hours,

As a sign that things have turned upside down, the most cogent and thoughtful early analysis came from the Telegraph. Mary Riddell’s piece “The Underclass Lashes Out”, nails the financial meltdown, the failings of the Met and the complacency of the government as equally contributory factors. The always provocative Laurie Penny is even starker:

People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night.

Meanwhile, anger at the riots was coming from the most unexpected of sources. National Treasure Danny Baker’s Twitter account seemed to have been taken over by one of his listeners.

That tweet got his show on Radio London shut down for the day, and he remains unrepentant. I can’t condemn his reaction.

Meanwhile, news that the mobs, taking a cue from student protestors and UK Uncut, were mobilising via Blackberry Messenger led to calls for the system to be opened and searched for clues. RIM, unsurprisingly, are less than keen, and as Boing Boing report, a bunch of hackers calling themselves Team Poison hacked into the company website and left threatening messages.

Squawks of outrage at the use of technology during the unrest were quashed as Twitter and Facebook users united to clean up the streets on Tuesday morning. This picture summed up the attitude, and the intent to keep the streets clean and safe.

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That effort, of course, continues. The best one-stop shop for info on how you can help is riotcleanup.co.uk.

Technology is also helping to spot and stop the miscreants, and the Met have set up a Flickr group to help users identify looters. Photoshoppers have also entered the fray, and the Photoshop Looters Tumblr is doing a great job of making the fools look more foolish. My personal favourite:

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Homes, families and businesses have all suffered as a result of the unrest. But the riots have been potentially disastrous for small UK independent record labels and DVD distributors. Their stock was mostly held in one central warehouse, the Sony DADC distribution centre in Enfield, which was burnt to the ground on Monday night. Labels like Sub Pop, Matador, and Domino, and DVD labels like Artificial Eye, Dogwoof and Guerrilla, have all lost their entire stock catalogue. This is a horrible situation for small, dedicated businesses trying to bring a little bit of art and independent thought to the music and film scene.

There are ways in which we can help. Brendon Connelly of Bleeding Cool has compiled a comprehensive list of sites where you buy downloads of films from the stricken distributors. Meanwhile Boomkat has an easy-to-navigate list of MP3 or FLAC purchases you can make from the labels of the PIAS catalogue affected by the fire. It’s worth spending a little time and money helping these guys out.

In fact, now more than ever, community is the keyword. Whatever we think of the riots, the rioters, their root causes and their likely after-effects, we are all in this together. It’s a platitude, I know, but I don’t have any easy answers. In fact, I’m not even sure what questions to ask. Like I said at the beginning, all I can reasonably add to the discussion is a bit of context, and a little help. You don’t need my liberal hand-wringing, or my reactionary howls for justice. I’m with David Allen Green, to whom I will give the last word:

…the realization came that people with political opinions tend to find exactly what they want in any civil disturbance.

Radicals and leftists find underlying socio-economic causes for certain riots, and mass vulgar prejudice for others. In turn, conservatives from Burke onwards tend to see any civil disturbance as being a failure of “law and order”.

The actual riots are rarely predicted; but when they happen, people with political opinions tend to immediately know why they happened – what really caused them.

…In fact, civil disturbances are invariably used to validate political opinions which people already hold; no conservative or radical will ever say, “Gosh, that riot changes the way I think about society. Perhaps my principles or my policies are wrong?”.

In this respect, civil disturbances are profoundly reactionary: they tend to reinforce rather than challenge views which already exist.

Six Thousand Days

To be accurate, six thousand, two hundred and six. There’s probably some flexibility in there to allow for leap years and other temporal shenanigans. Let’s stick to my back-of-an-envelope calculations for simplicity’s sake, then do a little division to come up with a rounder figure.

Seventeen years and a day ago, I stood up in front of a friendly looking registrar and a bunch of friends and family, and made a promise. I’ve broken many pledges since that day, whether by accident, spite or sheer laziness, but this one has been kept.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have someone beside me to help do that, and I would no more let her down than I would choose to stick my right arm into a wood chipper.

It all seems so mind-bogglingly simple to me that I find it hard to write it down without relying on mush and platitudes. I made a pledge. I kept and continue to keep it. in that simple act, I have found contentment.

I won’t dispute that I have been lucky, that I married my best friend, muse and lover. I do not consider the alternatives, all the choices and decisions that had to fall the right way to lead us to a bright room in the West Midlands six thousand and some days ago. I simply remain grateful that they happened in the way they did.

Seventeen years can seem like a long time. A lot of things have happened. A lot of things have changed. But the promise, and everything we have built using it as a foundation, remains unbroken. I intend to keep that promise, in the same way I always have. Day by day.