The Neon Demon: review


This is a marmite number I would say.

In Drive, Nicola Wynding Refn made a stonewall classic that was so cool, so violent it just oozed class.  No real reference points although I think some people found it reminiscent of Heat.

In this latest outing however Refn is wearing his influences on his sleeve and most obvious of them all is David Lynch (in his Twin Peaks/Mullholland Drive era).

Again it oozes class thanks to the superb cinematography by Natasha Braier and this astonishing electronic soundtrack (following up his Drive opus) by Cliff Martinez.

It’s achingly slow partly so that Braier can seduce the film’s lead ( a very young looking Elle Fanning) with her camera,  and boy can she look stunningly beautiful (albeit verging on Lolitaesque).

The violence is slow in coming but eventually it does with an ending that smacks a little of Heathers.

The story is slight.  The theme is around natural beauty that only Fanning possesses. Her rivals on the catwalk world, that she breezes into in LA, have been nipped and cut to blazes in a vain attempt to preserve their once natural beauty.

Needless to say, they hate her; the new Queen Bitch.

Overall it feels  a little voyeuristic.  The treatment of Fanning verges on the uncomfortable and the plot is pretty weak.

But it’s a thing of beauty.  An artifice.  But so what?

Sometimes art survives on artifice alone.

This does.

Corbyn. Where now?
July 7, 2016, 1:16 pm
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Jeremy Corbyn sidestepped the opportunity to carve Tony Blair into pieces yesterday.  What he didn’t say was as damning as what he did.

He described the outcome of Blair’s misleading of parliament as;

“an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext”.

He went on to annihilate the decision made by the House on the basis of fabricated evidence that Blair used to make his case and this further ripped asunder the already flimsy bonds that are holding the Labour Party together.

I deeply admire Jeremy Corbyn but I fear he is unelectable now and his days must be counted as leader of the party as it currently stands.

Certainly the PLP despise him.  But the membership do not because the membership, that core of what Labour stands for, are not really Neoliberals, they are socialists and so the outcome is inevitable.

The Labour party will split.

This, then, it seems to me, is the greatest ever opportunity for the regenerating Liberal Party.

I saw Vince Cable speak on a news debate a couple of days ago.  He ungloatingly predicted the return to relevance of a proper Liberal (not Neoliberal) party as the two ‘new’ Labour parties; one unashamedly Old Labour, under Corbyn, and one unashamedly New, New Labour, under whom I care not, split their already diminished vote.

The disaffected , who are neither, will HAVE to vote Liberal and if the Liberals can assume a proper Liberal centrist stance they could attract the non right wing Tories in droves.

A hope, I think,  rather than a confident prediction.

I’ll be there if this happens.

Tony Blair. Post Chilcot. The shame.
July 7, 2016, 1:02 pm
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Tony Blair spoke to the cameras yesterday.

As he did so he shed voice tears.  Broken speech.

Declaring shame.

But not for what he did.

Not for unilaterally declaring a war that lost at least 150,000 innocent people their lives.

No, for what the others did. (Under his jurisdiction.)

The others that killed 150,000 innocent human beings.

He was unrepentant about what set this horrendous set of dominoes into motion, because he said;

“I believe we made the right decision and the world is better and safer.”  

How can he honestly believe the world is a safer and better place when we witness almost daily ISIS attacks on innocent human beings?  From Bangladesh to Baghdad.

He took responsibility for the decision, yes, but not the implications, or the outcomes.

“Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein, I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country.”  

The words of a megalomaniac.

A Sociopath.

Instead he blamed others for the outcomes when he said

“I will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse.”

i.e. military mistakes, not his calamitous strategic, sociopathic decision.

Chilcot concluded that the UK (Tony Blair) chose to attack Iraq;

“…before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted.  Military action at that time was NOT a last resort.’

One mother called Blair “the world’s biggest terrorist”.

I think this is a step too far.

Yes, terrorists may be sociopaths, but sociopaths are not necessarily terrorists.

I believe Blair wanted to go down in history, like many of the great leaders of this country for defeating an enemy: winning a war.

But to win a war he had to start one first.

Oh by God he did that, did he not?

And like many great sociopaths he has a place in history.

A significant one.

Shame on you Tony Blair.



How Brexit may affect Calais. The beginning of Europe’s schadenfreude.
June 25, 2016, 11:38 am
Filed under: independence, life, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,


The mayor of Calais wants to change a deal (the 2003 Touquet deal), in which it was agreed Britain can carry out checks in Calais to stop migrants trying to get to Britain.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell.

The Touquet deal protects our borders in Calais from illegal immigrants (I prefer the term refugees mind you) allowing the UK to vet them in France not in Britain.

That’s why there’s thousands of Africans going totally radge and risking their own and the lives of our long distance lorry drivers as they desperately try to get through the Chunnel.

But we’ve decided to leave Europe mainly so that we can reduce the number of ‘immigrants’.  Or at least that’s what I’ve been hearing from England over the last couple of days.

Here’s the rub.

As the Calais mayor says “The British must take the consequences of their choice.”

What she means by that is… “Fuck you.  It’s your problem now.  We’ll let them through.”

And guess where they’ll end up?

See that big blue bit on the coast? About 400 miles south of the huge yellow bit?  I’ve pointed it out with a red arrow for you.


That worked out well then, eh?

Incidentally, I think a lot of old people live there and they voted to muck their own pensions up too.



Putin on Brexit. Wise words. (Sadly)
June 17, 2016, 11:38 pm
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Vladimir Putin is an idiot, but not a fool.

His observation that David Cameron’s ridiculous referendum on Europe, that he never even wanted, and never had to grant, was an act of utter folly.

He thought he could use it as a way of leveraging UK power in Europe.

Instead he looks like a cunt.

Cameron.  The cunt of the country.

Possibly the greatest ever.

He was so arrogant about Britain’s power in the EU that he thought he could gain something from this.

Instead, he looks feeble.

A derisable bastard.

And Europe sneers.

As Putin says:  “There is a great problem with Brexit. Why did he initiate this vote in the first place?   Why did he do that?  So he wanted to blackmail Europe or to scare someone. What was the goal if he was against?”


The Fleet’s Lit up
June 15, 2016, 7:22 pm
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I am grateful to David Grieg for bringing this classic to my attention.

in 1937, after generous liquid refreshment in the Officers’ Mess of HMS Nelson, Lt.-Commander Woodrooffe attempted to describe the spectacle of the Illuminated fleet at the Royal Review, Spithead. The accompanying pictures were taken at Portland, also the scene of reviews of the great inter-war Royal Navy.

My personal fears for The UK if we leave the European Union.
June 15, 2016, 6:01 pm
Filed under: business, politics, Rants, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

The European Union was inspired by the vision of bringing peace, unity and prosperity to Europe in the wake of The first and second world wars.  We have these 11 men to thank for that. Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 17.01.40.pngThe first tangible manifestation of that vision was the European Coal and Steel Community with Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands leading the way.  Note that two are former fascist regimes.  This was followed by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 that established the EEC this abolished customs duties between member states and resulted in economic growth: Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom saw the benefits of this and joined the Common market in 1973 shortly after decimalisation in the UK.  A curious imperial notion that had 240 pence as the makeup of a pound.  Perhaps the Brexiteers fancy a return to that quaint notion (maybe they’ll lobby to bring back farthings, shillings, threepence and florins while they’re renegotiating every single trade deal in Europe post exit.)

In 1986 the economic vision is further strengthened with the creation of the Single European Act. and Spain and Portugal sign up.   This provides the basis for a vast six-year programme aimed at sorting out the problems with the free flow of trade across EU borders and thus creates the ‘Single Market’.

So far, so positive.

Austria, Finland and Sweden join us in 1995. The Shengen agreement allows us to travel freely across Europe to exploit opportunity and share cultures.

Ten new countries join the EU in 2004, followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 and Croatia in 2013..

In 56 years Europe has seen war between nations shrivel and die.  Sure terrorism is rife and internal conflicts remain but the Union has become a peace zone.

To my knowledge not one single country has even thought about leaving.

28 countries are joined in free trade, a bid to reduce pollution, economic development, fairness of law.

These are the rules for membership which cannot be met by Turkey. (One of the crazy fear mongering cards being played by Brexiteers)

  • stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;
  • a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces in the EU;
  • the ability to take on and implement effectively the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.

And here’s where Turkey stands in terms of negotiations to meet the 35 ‘chapters” that will allow member states to consider entry to the Union.  (Not looking promising, is it? )

Note that the Chapter entitled “Freedom of movement of workers” hasn’t even been opened yet and financial control has been on the table since 2007.
Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 17.24.10.png
Please then, can we move on from the Turkey question?

So, we have peace, we have prosperity, albeit in a climate where the richer nations help the poorer ones – and we’re rich, and we have free trade with no real barriers.

Sounds kind of positive doesn’t it?

What’s more, everything the EU does is founded on treaties, voluntarily and democratically agreed by its member countries.  Not, and I repeat not, crazy rules imposed on us from Brussels that Brexiteers so love to imply

We help agree/ratify these rules for the common good.

Some help us greatly, some are more challenging, but if the whole represents more than the sum of its parts, which is a fundamental rationale for the EU’s existence, then this is a price we simply have to accept and pay.  We don’t all agree with every Scottish or UK law do we?

So.  Brexit?

Nine out ten economists think Brexit is preposterous.

The Americans think it is preposterous.

Member states think it is preposterous.

The stock market, down over 5% in the last few days, as the realisation that Brexit is no longer a silly extremist Tory fantasy, begin to realise that it’s a distinct possibility starts, frankly, to shit itself.

Here’s a headline from this week.

The Bank of England has allocated almost £2.5bn of cash to City firms to help them handle any Brexit-related panic.

Here’s another…

London’s stock market is plumbing new lows as traders continue to quake in the shadow of the EU vote.

And the copy that went with it?

The Footsie has now shed 378 points since the start of trading on Thursday, when Brexit fears began to mount. 

That means a staggering £98bn has been wiped off the value of Britain’s biggest companies in four trading days.

Now, the Brexit vote is most commonly supported by pensioners.

What does a falling stock market do to pensions?

It’s like turkeys (but not Turkey) voting for Christmas.

It’s actually insane.

And Obama tells us openly and categorically that Brexit would put the UK “at the back of the queue ” for a trade deal with the US.

Mark Carney says “leaving the EU ids the biggest domestic risk to financial stability”.

Forget the numbers.  Leave quotes “facts” that are every bit as misleading as Remain’s are.

The debate has been a shambles.

Just look at the fundamentals here and the direction of traffic since 1951.

Peace, prosperity and proliferation of membership.  No need to be ‘forced’ into the Euro.

Leaving this would be a national disgrace.

The Scottish question

Now the eagle-eyed amongst you will note that I was a solid advocate of a “Scexit” in 2014. None of the arguments above applied.

We would have remained in Europe or would have negotiated our readmittance.

Our economy, based on the evidence at the time, and I accept the fall in the oil price hasn’t helped that p[articular argument, would, I believe, have benefitted.

And peace would have been guaranteed.

Should a Brexit vote manifest itself you bet Independence would rear its head again and the appeal of renegotiating re-entry to the EU would be the biggest single factor influencing the Scots.

But let’s not go there.

Come on Britain.  It’s time to smell the coffee.



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