How Brexit may affect Calais. The beginning of Europe’s schadenfreude.


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)


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

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.

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.


It would be heartbreaking if it wasn’t so funny. Obama slow Jams the news.

The Western world has never had it so good having an American President as dedicated, in touch and committed to US economic recovery, healthcare and international relations.  God knows what faces us but Hilary is surely the lesser of two evils.

In this news slow jam on the peerless Jimmy Fallon show he underlines his achievements but, importantly, cites his party colleagues as brothers in arms.  Let’s hope they keep that work up under Hilary.

But this 7 minute sequence takes it all to a new level.  A hilarious blaxpoitation of his two terms in office.

Can you see Donald Trump doing this.

Can you fuck.

Can you see Hilary doing this?


Could you have seen the Bush’s?

No siree.

Jimmy Carter possibly.  Reagan at a push but not with an ounce of this utter coolness.

He even raps.  (Badly).

And the killer gag.  Orange is NOT the new Black.

Everybody Wants Some!! – Movie Review


In advertising among my design friends we call exclamation marks Dogs’ cocks I think because they just look rotten.

I like that Richard Linklater uses two of them in the title of his Jock movie.

It’s appropriate as the central focus of it is 16 baseball players looking to put that part of their human anatomy to good and frequent use.

As in Boyhood Richard Linklater is light on narrative, big on meaning, and the meaning of this rocking great movie is the three days before term starts when partying on campus for Freshmen, Sophomores, in fact right up to thirty year old ball players, is the actual meaning of life.

And partying means pulling.

But this is no Animal House or American Pie.  Sure it’s hilarious in parts, but naturalistically so, not slapstick and not gross out.

Just real guys being real funny.

Jake, our hero, is the quiet sensitive type, but plays great ball and has joined the fictional University of South Eastern Texas to do just that.  The Baseball team is the star sports team of the College and is feted for this.  Free drinks in bars is common. Sure, Jake has a degree to see to (history as it happens) but this is incidental.

The Jocks he houses with in two, eight-bed, suburban family homes are brutal.  Well, they’re Jocks.  (but actually, scratch the surface and they’re all big softies underneath looking out for each other).  Nevertheless, no taboo is off limit and any weakness at all is clinically punished amongst the laddish, highly competitive banter.

They drink, they blow, they get laid, they drink, they chat up girls, they get laid, they dance (pathetically), they fight (pathetically) and they ride around in cars.

Linklater has a documentary style and this is continued in this movie.

Here’s how it opens pitch perfectly as Jake cruises into town with his gear.

Ooh, my little pretty one, my pretty one
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona
Ooh, you make my motor run, my motor run
Got it coming off o’ the line, Sharona

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up, for the touch of the younger kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Sharona

The soundtrack is chock full of late 70’s/80’s classics and their word perfect singing along to Rappers Delight by The SugarHill Gang is a highlight.

For my money this is a better movie than Boyhood, despite the epicness of his achievement.  It’s an utter delight from start to finish.  Covers every teen cliche in history but believably and engagingly.

The ensemble cast (led by Blake Jenner from Glee) is outstanding.  The period styling impeccable.  The script taught and witty.

It’s near perfect actually.

I expect it to win prizes.


Stuart Maconie’s Freaky Tracks to hear before you die.


I like Stuart Maconie.  I really do.

His weekly radio show on 6 Music is called Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone.  It’s a ridiculously eclectic celebration of music that is often far from freaky just down right beautiful.  Take a look at the 59 songs he has published on his Freak Zone playlist that you can access via Deezer, Spotify and Youtube. (Here’s the Spotify link seeing as it’s my music sharing platform of choice.)

In it you’ll find music that is thrillingly beautiful like Hana by Asa-Chang &Junray, 1969 by Boards of Canada, Final Day by Young Marble Giants, O Superman by Laurie Anderson and Jesus’ Blood Never failed me Yet by Gavin Bryars but it is sat beside songs that most might call ‘challenging’ like the outstanding Nag, Nag, Nag by Cabaret Voltaire or My Pagan Ass by Brain Donor or N/Jz?Bm by derek Bailey.

Frank Zappa adds yet another dimension, as does William Shatner.

It’s this very contrast that sets Maconie up as a custodian and curator of music based only on its artistic merit.  It’s this that makes Maconie the very distillation of not only 6 Music but of British radio itself.  He has the rare distinction of contributing at various tines to Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 as well as NME and Q.  Both, in their time, his time, the vanguards of music publishing in the UK.  Sadly both have now fallen on fallow fields; most notably the NME.

But in The Freak Zone we have a musical treasure trove to protect, cherish and celebrate.

Bravo Mr Maconie.  Keep up the great work.

The passing of the world’s greatest event maker


I’ve only read one book on boxing.  “The Fight” by Norman Mailer.

I’ve only been to the cinema to see one Boxing Documentary “When We were Kings” by Leon Gast.

There’s a reason for both of these.

Muhammad Ali.

When Muhammad Ali stepped into a boxing ring it was an Event.  With a capital E.  The nation was transfixed.

There was only one world heavyweight Champion in those days.  Or so it seemed.

And although Scotland claimed a World Champion on the night of my Brother in Law’s stag not many years later in the form of Jim Watt, and even though Scotland’s Ken Buchanan, another Scottish World Champion, ran a hotel barely 200 yards from my house neither came close to the greatness of the greatest.

Why is that?

Because Muhammad Ali was much more than a boxer.

He was a poet, of sorts.  He was a politician.  He was a comedian, an athlete, an entertainer, a human rights activist.

He was the real deal.

A man who refused to fight in Vietnam because “No Vietcong ever called me a nigger.”

A man who electrified the British public in Michael Parkinson interviews, time and again.

And a man who turned pugilism into theatre.

“If you want entertainment go to the theatre” once said a shit Hibs manager, Bobby Williamson (Mr Bobby).

Ali was’t just theatre.

He was Broadway.

We loved you Ali, Bumaye!


When National Socialism got found out.

After the Nazi’s had put 1,000 people, mostly Jews, into living quarters this size.  And there are over 90 of them at Birkenau. And worked tens of thousands of them to death…


In living conditions like this. (6 – 8 people would have shared each of those ‘beds’  in three levels of ‘bunk’)…


Or gassed them by the million in places like this…


They didn’t even have the courage of their convictions to face up to it.  They were shamed into doing this to the gas chambers of Birkenau…


In one fell swoop they essentially admitted that everything they did and believed in was a lie – not a cleansing of the earth for the promulgation of a pure bred race, but evil and cold blooded murder of over 6 million innocent human beings.