Friday, 30 January 2009

Porn Bot Addendum - Please Welcome on Stage?

Addendum: Just found this on Ask Tom:

The day was overhungof the fog roselike forlorn lovers to the anbaric cables hot black guys sex naked

A quick google reveals it to be from Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. Well not the last bit...I'm guessing that's not in the original. If I could persuade them to use my lyrics, I might shift a few more albums to the one handed typists out there.

A's gota cocainebody B'sgot a benylin brain bulk buy Viagra cheap
...worth a try

P.S I mean one-handed typists as a euphemism, I'm not being manualist. I have nothing against people with one hand. My early gigs seem to have been full of them.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Spam Porn Poetry

My Ask Tom section has become a target for porn spambots. This is resulting in some beautiful and enigmatic virtual haikus. It's become a highlight of my day. Some of them are affecting, some ridiculous - but all are without fail better than ColdPlay lyrics. I may use some of them. Unless Chris gets there first.

whispered, and the angelbird with red wings.monkey."Then look cartoon sex sites for adults"

The words tumbled outexpect answers. She turned heavy gold and the smoothwheels they knew viagra order cheap

he said, stubbornly "Because what wouldwake? She'd runfree mature outdoor sex photos uk

explain it to her and listened she'd believe me?me. She hates me,She despises me

There's probably a reason for this... some way to get round spam filters or something - but I think they're lovely. The ghost in the machine is a poet. And sex obsessed. Or is that tautology?

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Cynicism 101 - Even Easier Than Hope for Beginners

Okay, well I suppose it’s time to confess why I haven’t written about Obama’s inauguration, despite a self-confessed obsession with politics and current affairs.

It’s simply that I feel no one really needs a naysayer at this point, especially as we have Fox News still spreading fear and hate in a way that only they (and many ultra religious types) can.

Am I happy he got elected? You bet. It was exhilarating to be in New York when it happened. A night for hope, naturally. Was I thrilled to watch the inauguration on tv? Of course, even if I knew that the musicians were miming – I have some experience of live cello sounds and that microphone was waaaaaay too far away.

Do I think anything will change? Well, let’s break this answer down. Yes and no. The window dressing in one of humanity’s biggest department stores will look much more appealing for the next 8 years, hopefully. Closing Gitmo is already a fine example of doing the right thing, sending the right message. I applaud it.

Will anything of substance change? Nope. And here’s why. We’ve ceded control of all the mechanisms by which we change society to other powers, namely that of the market and private industry. The same market forces that have failed so dramatically over the last few months.

Will Obama nationalise a bank, or the car industry or transport? Nope. No more than Gordon Brown will. Will he (we) bail them out, continually? Yep. I’d like to pose a question at this point: can anyone name a private finance initiative in the UK that was actually completed successfully with private money? There must be some? One? Here’s an article I read a while ago: … if you don’t have time to read it, here’s the conclusion:

"PFI is an expensive way of financing and delivering public services that may, where public expenditure is constrained, lead to cuts in public services and/or tax rises. In contrast, we suggest that the chief beneficiaries are the providers of finance and some, but not necessarily all of the private sector service providers rather than the public sector."

It happened with Wembley, it happened with the Channel Tunnel, hospitals, the road and rail network, and boy-oh-fucking boy is it going to happen with the disastrous money pit that will be our risible attempt at staging the Olympics.

Put simply, there’s nothing any government can do without private investment, because the war for the middle ground of politics is fought in the everyman’s land of low taxes and small government. No one will raise taxes for the masses or take on the expensive responsibility of actually running anything.

And now is when massive things need changing. Obama couldn’t achieve it in 80 years, let alone 8. Do we need those dramatic changes, yes. Will we vote for them? No. Do we want alternative energy initiatives? Absolutely. Will we have used every last drop of oil before we actually vote for it? Absolutely. Especially now there’s a recession and we’re all watching the pennies. Organic free range chicken anyone?

The recent global financial crisis (which, by the way, they call a “crisis” in America, but in quaint-old–tabloid-moron Britain we insist on calling the “Credit Crunch”…. like it’s a character in a Mr Men book) is firm proof if any were needed, that no one is actually in charge of anything.

This Blair/Brown government made the Bank of England independent, established the Financial Services Authority (a body which makes Myra Hindley look like a good baby sitter), and has quite blithely taken credit for the boom years without knowing what the fuck was going on. The same is true of Bush. They encouraged the system that has failed so drastically. We all know all this. I know I sound like a stuck record (for younger readers, a record was a thing that music came on and meant something to own) but these things have been bugging me amidst the euphoria of the last week.

Will Obama effect a radical re-ordering world affairs? Nope. Because he cannot implement the changes necessary, because there is no functioning alternative to free (and by free I mean wildly out of control) market economics. The steady growth all governments long for is an unsustainable myth (especially when our trade laws don’t allow third world countries to develop into viable competitors - but we still insist on ironically referring to them as “developing nations”). The best any future government can do is to manage a planet in decline. Like a chief executive officer winding up the affairs of a bankrupt company, these are the last days of the world as we knew it. Even now a non-existent god is cashing in his last shares, collecting his bonus for fucking things up spectacularly, and heading towards his next position as consultant for the parallel universe just over the event horizon.

When South Korea – among others - is buying up tracts of land in other countries (Madagascar and Tanzania, as well as parts of South America) with which to feed its own population, you get an idea of how much trouble the world is in. But that doesn’t make the front pages, naturally.

You want to scare yourself? Forget global warming and the countless wars raging round the world… go read about Peak Oil. That’s the thing that will define all government policy for the next 20 years. Think Gazprom only has an issue with Ukraine not paying? Wait a while, we’ve run out of North Sea gas, it’s all coming from the Middle East and Russia. Both fantastic suppliers to be quite literally bent over a barrel by.

Will it be nice to have an intelligent, literate, erudite man in the White House? It’ll be lovely. Will it make me feel better about the state of international affairs, as the world descends into fuel and water wars? Nope. Not one bit. Iran has its own agenda, Israel could give a fuck about world opinion, the UN is the lamest of all lame ducks. More people were listening to my goldfish than to Ban Ki-moon over Gaza. And I don’t even have a goldfish, that’s how fucking impotent the UN is.

This is why I haven’t written about Obama. I will be following his first hundred days with enthusiasm, wishing the best for him and for us. I hope he proves me wrong. I suspect Gordon Brown will be long gone before Obama’s potential second term, probably ousted by moronic voters who think a) that they can play a part in democracy and b) that anything changes when the figureheads of government are shuffled like so many old playing cards, the faces worn thin and indistinguishable. This wouldn’t be me if I didn’t work in playing cards somewhere, right?

I hope I’m wrong. If god existed I would pray to him/her to be so very wrong that when Obama leads us all to the promised land, I will offer myself to be cooked and eaten in a ceremonial meal of contrition, as a sign to all future party-poopers. McRae-fish and rocket sandwiches?

The Italian philosopher, thinker and political theorist Antonio Gramsci (whisper it, a Marxist) called for “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will”, and that is for years how I have chosen to live. It’s how I live now. But alas I was christened Jeremy, a derivation from Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet of doom. I guess you can change your name but not your nature.

And that, in a word, a long, dull, tediously predictable Tompinion… is how I feel not so much about Obama, but the world problems he has inherited, and how much I suspect will actually change. And all this on a weekend when Man Utd beat Tottenham. Imagine how I’d have been if we’d lost.

But it’s Sunday. I hate Sundays. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow. Everyone feels better on Mondays, right?

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

no#1 In an Infinite Series of Admissions of Failure of Manhood (not that manhood)

This Week: Cars.

I know some are red, some are other colours. I know a cello has to go in the front seat, and that all cab drivers like to talk, even when you're wearing headphones.

I know young men like fast cars, and that some people find Jeremy Clarkson amusing. I only find his ridiculous first name funny.

I know that when the Grand Prix is on I have no idea what is going on, or why anyone cares. It's about as much of a sport as ice dance.

I know I would like to pass my test and own a car so I can go fishing more often. I would not have a red one. Nor would I invite Jeremy Clarkson.

I feel not knowing anything about cars does not make me less of a man. Just a less mobile man.

I like travelling by bus. Ones with beds and kitchens and lounges in. Where no one snores.

I can but dream.

Next week: DIY, and how many singer-songwriters does it take to change a lightbulb?

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Experiments in Time Travel #1

Today I turned on my radio, then my digital radio, then my laptop, and had them all playing Radio 4 in different rooms - at fractionally different speeds - while I ran between them.

Running up and down I contrived to arrive in each room a split second before the same sentence was repeated by the corresponding device... like flying to and fro across the international dateline. In my house.

I then tried running with the digital radio REALLY fast towards the laptop, whilst listening to the analogue radio REALLY loud. At one point the stars blurred, I passed through into a parallel universe, and suddenly I was King, and Katy Perry was my Queen. We ruled with generosity and humility and were worshipped by all.

After an hour of this I felt sick and sat down.

I miss being on tour.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Ask Tom #9

Dear Tom, Why are your two Takamines named Derek and Clive (on your setlists)?

Well, I knew one day this would come up. It was a stupid way to mark the difference in guitars for my guitar technician ("roadie" we would have called them in the 70s). Derek was a standard Dreadnought shape, and thus began with a D. Clive was a cutaway shape, and so began with a C. Derek and Clive are alter egos of Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore. Simple.

Now, in my head this all makes sense - so when I shouted at my tech: "Clive's got too sweaty, I need you to put a smooth and dry Derek into my hands NOW"... it was a simple request for a guitar change.

Got it?

P.S This is a picture of me with my Guild, which is a Jumbo Guitar, and begins with a J. Naturally, we call this guitar, THE GUILD.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Religious Intolerance

New Year’s resolutions made 3. New Year’s resolutions broken 3. So we’re back to square one and the year is not even a week old.

I don’t know how many of you vowed to stop throwing toast at Jehovah’s Witnesses this year, maybe it was just me, but I broke that resolution within minutes of making it.

So to the poor gentleman who stood bemused on my Brooklyn stoop staring at the burnt bread that had just bounced off his chest – I apologise. But it was early, I wasn’t feeling well, the toast was ruined and the coffee boiled dry. And it was your fault I had to answer the door and not concentrate on the job in hand. But however deluded you may be, you didn’t deserve a dough-based breakfast snack thrown at you. I’m sorry, I’ll do better next year. Apparently religious intolerance can cause wars. Apparently.

If anyone wants the copy of Watchtower I later found on the steps – it’s available. I keep it next to the Book of Mormon I stole from a hotel in Utah, the Gideon’s bible I have from Korea, and the Dead Sea Scrolls I have in tupperware in my fridge.

And so the year begins. Chaos in the Middle East, Russia threatening gas supplies to Europe, the economy showing no signs of revival and no one seemingly in charge of anything. Honestly, you go away on tour, then have a couple of months off in New York and all hell breaks loose. It’s about time I came back and sorted this lot out.