May 10, 2015

Fractions 12: Clouds

Every now and then, I make little videos for a series of fictional fragments called Fractions. Here's the latest one. This edition is 'Clouds' and it's about clouds.

The text is taken from the Jusbin Bebber Twitter account (something I also write as a kind of sandbox for stupid ideas). See those tweets below the video.


May 9, 2015

Five ways to survive the next five years of Tory government

The Tories won the election and this can only be bad news for the vulnerable and the poor. Many people won't know what living under a Tory majority is like: the last time they won an election, Right Said Fred and Altern-8 were in the top ten.

It's okay though because I have sure-fire methods so we all survive the next five years.

1. Dig a hole

It doesn't matter where you are - in your garden, in front of the toaster, in the shower - start digging. Make it a good and deep hole. Climb into the hole on regular occasions.

Make friends with the worms. The hole is your home.

2. Make a Baked Alaska

Is it hot? Is it cold? It's both, but how can that be? Baked Alaska is the most demonic of all the desserts and its contradictions can never be understood. Make a Baked Alaska.

Then bury it in the hole for it must never be mentioned ever again.

3. Rant on social media

Rant on social media about how awful the government is. Your followers in your part of the echo chamber will love you for this, because they agree with you and deserve to be castigated for that. Whatever you do, don't write letters or contact those in power.

Install broadband in your hole.

4. Arm yourself

When the hospitals get sold off to casinos and every third child is converted into Tesco shares, you'll need a high profile and shocking strategy. Have several dozen extra arms grafted onto your body. Run down the street flapping your new limbs like an octopus on Free Scallop Tuesday.

Be careful not to fall down a hole. There will be a lot of holes by now.

5. Rent out your chin

Rent your chin to campers and caravanners. Offer cheap toilets and good drainage. Show them the view from your forehead. Tell them this is as good as anywhere on Anglesey, although the crazy golf is shut for the summer. When they ask you about your ill-advised goatee, change the subject. Perhaps suggest they move their tent into the hole. It has Baked Alaska in.

Mmm, Baked Alaska, they'll say as they lick their CamperGaz stove with longing in their eyes.

In summary...

Many will suffer under this government. Ranting on social media will not be enough. Choose your campaigns, whether it's 38 Degrees or Liberty or Quaker Social Action. Whatever. But choose something and start small, for you will need your energy.

Be active, be kind, be focussed.

You didn't expect this to suddenly get serious, did you? I'm thinking through how I can become more socially active over the next five years: when I do this, my imagination throws out a load of junk. Hence the arm/chin nonsense above.

Sorry about that. There is no such thing as an octopus-human. And Baked Alaska is kind of disgusting.

We need to protest as much as we did back in the 1990s. You are not in a hole. You can stand tall, and you can speak to power. In the words of Right Said Fred, it's time to Activ-8.


Wrong band, dammit.

May 4, 2015

Letting music decide the 2015 UK general election, obviously

This year's UK general election has left me wavering like never before. I don't have television, so the leaders' debates were lost on me. We have a couple of days before the polls open, and I am truly undecided.

So I decided to ask music. If I was to judge the party leaders, it would be through the filter of a gramophone, my head jammed into its horn while they dribbled on about immigrants and deficits and tax credits.

In reality, it's down to the red and the green. But let's take all five main parties into account...


David Cameron is firm and unwavering. A bit plain, as if he's just come out of the packaging. He is minimal techno. He is Robert Hood. If you like Robert Hood, vote Conservative.


Ed Miliband is inaccessible and awkward. Spend enough time with him and you may begin to understand him.  He is Autechre. If you like Autechre, vote Labour.

Liberal Democrat

Nick Clegg is someone you drifted from a long time ago. You wonder how you were ever into him because he seems so, meh. He is Zero 7. If you like Zero 7, vote Liberal Democrat.


Natalie Bennett is different from the others. In some way this is good. In some ways this is bad. Listening to her is not always the most pleasant experience. She is the hardcore gabba band Neophyte. If you like Neophyte, vote Green.

The other one

Nigel Farage is awful, like something on the bottom of your shoe that could be a slug or someone's excrement, you're not sure. And yet, he's so listenable. Catchy, even. He is LMFAO (pictured). If you like LMFAO and think women should "shut the f*** up" (Redfoo, 2014), vote Ukip.

I don't have a Plaid Cymru or an SNP near me, but obviously they'd be Boards of Canada and Scooter respectively.

That's decided it then. I think.

Did Emily Davison throw herself under those hooves just so I could ooze this kind of nonsense all over my blog? Has Simon Cowell bought the copyright on the X we have to place in the box on Thursday? Am I going to have that LMFAO track in my head for much longer?

All will be decided in the 2015 UK general election. Whoever wins, we're going to have to listen to them for five years.

The Chemical Brothers - Sometimes I Feel So Deserted

This track (see below) feels like all build-up, but that's no bad thing considering it's the opener to the Chemical Brothers' new album. Sometimes I Feel So Deserted could have done with a pneumatic drop at that three-minute mark. Still, it's acidy and deep and bodes well for their first studio album for five years.

I recently wrote up a review of Leftfield's first album in 16 years. You'll have to wait for the next Electronic Sound for thoughts on that one.

May 3, 2015

Curating your life with Toast

I did a ten minute performance on the theme of 'curating your life' at the closure of the Toast art space in central Manchester. At least, I think that's what was happening. I went into the gig knowing pretty much nothing.

Sometimes, going into a gig blind isn't a good idea. What I found was a makeshift, friendly, scrappy, laughy affair in a place that was clearly in the advance stages of being junked.

My fellow performers included Tales Of Whatever's Mark Powell and my longtime pretend twin brother Lee Moore. The set-up was a bit, um, minimal, so we put a load of chairs out and nipped to the Co-op to buy beers for everyone. We took donations, and there is a special place in hell for the people who dumped foreign coins on us.

I read an updated version of my tweets from David Cameron, a couple of short stories and, in what has turned out to be a live favourite, an untitled piece about an attractive stranger told through web searches.

We left when people started wrecking stuff. Went to a bar. High-fived a DJ. Sorted.