Unreliable and possibly off-topic


Thursday, July 14, 2005


The factory has slowed production to facilitate a thorough flat-cleaning, the first proper such exercise in probably two years. Advice to pass on is that ornaments unless valued only collect dust, that a white element in a bold carpet pattern is *always* a bad choice, and that all clothes unworn for 6 months should be ruthlessly dispatched to the charity shop. Degreasing products are a must for encrusted ovens, and 'Flash', (a Proctor & Gamble product), while doubtless reprehensible is delightfully effective in washing glosswork. Bleach is your friend, but wear your bikini during use to prevent clothing splashes.

Maneki Neko has already brought me good fortune. During my clean-up, Lucky Cat has delivered-
1. A silver earring, willed from Aunt Louise
2. 'Alien Empire' video (entomology)
3. Eighth of hash from under the sofa
4. Approx 10 pens
5. Long-lost kiddo photos, perfect for framing
6. Approx 10 pounds in coins
7. Lighters galore
8. Manicure set
9. Tool kit of screwdrivers, drill bits and pliers
10. Missing binoculars
11. 20 pounds in book tokens
12. 2 cans Strongbow cider


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Lucky cat

In a Japanese supermarket earlier this month, I purchased a Maneki Neko- a traditional Japanese figurine of lucky cat auspices and symbols, and designed to bless an establishment with good luck. She's sitting up high on a tall fridge, looking down on the kitchen. The same position Her Catness, the original, prefers.

The iconic lucky cat is classically a tri-colour tortie like my companion Noushka, so I was pre-sold.

On the internet I learn that a raised left paw invites in good fortune, while the right paw welcomes money and wealth. Although the raised paw(s) are often construed as a greeting, the older texts have the cat's gesture to be washing, instead of beckoning. In several cultures, washing behaviour from cats augers a change in the wind or weather, or (as for Maneki Neko) a change in fortune. And cats as fortune-tellers or familiars are also cross-culturally prevalent, despite their comparatively late (vs canines) domestication and dispersal.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

A slanted view

Sophisticated intellectual analyses of the London bombings are available elsewhere- POV, Medialens, xymphora, Lenin's Tomb and ManyAngryGerbils etc.

But that's not what you get at yer Auntie's. Here's an excerpt from my stunned Murrcan Dad's email at the news, referring to our planned 3G meet-up in London next month- me, my kids, my dad, stepmum BL and their 16 yr old grand-daughter on BL's side, L.

Hi Dear,

I've no idea what the fallout is going to be, but the bombings in
London are not good news. Just about the first thing BL & I
thought of is whether [L's parents] will withdraw permission for L to go to London.

It might be of no use to point out that if history is any guide, this
will be the safest time to travel, not the most dangerous.

Those bombers sure took the spotlight off the G8, didn't they?

If the trip is still on, one thing's for sure: there's no way BL will
go on the tube. She's never liked the tube to begin with. On our last
trip, I think we got around on buses exclusively....

I shall now get on with the major cleaning task- 6 months of crud and detritus to sweep up and out in 6 days. So far, I've found a war's worth of leaflets, a summer's worth of tri-colour cat hair moult and a 100 DM note. This would've been worth 35 quid, had it still been legal tender (frowning smiley)- dammit.

G8 news-
Stirling eco-campers are arrested for possession of weapons like axes and petrol. Kind of necessary when camping. Lonhg telephone report from friend N, who was trapped with his wife in Canning St on Monday and again at the Mound on Weds, when Gleneagles buses from Edinburgh were cancelled. It was Manchester Police forces, many with obscured ID no.s, who weighed in on Wednesday. They had a deliberate policy, like the Monday riot police, of preventing a popular amassing by blocking incomers and sectioning off areas.

When a crowd has managed to amass, the policy is to break down critical masses by driving riot cop wedges into the crowd to bisect it. They isolate ever smaller masses by sequential bifurcation and containment of halves of the popular mass. This is deliberate, tactical policy, before any retaliation has even started- the other prong of their tactics. N's wife was batonned on the shoulder by riot cops on Weds when she had nowhere to retreat to. Both have been S60'd multiple times over this week, making them scared for their jobs despite merely expressing their rights to peaceful protest.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

A psychologist writes...

Pissed off with London bombings, the ratchetting up of fear, the sneakiness in distracting from the G8 negotiations, and the handling of protests against G8 existence itself.

Guess what? Bliar has to leave the G8 conference to assuage London's pain at the terrorist assault.

Fear ratchets up, sorrow is expressed (with hand-wringing), resistance to G8 is undermined. Anti-capitalists and Al-Qaeda are smeared into the one turrst mass. How very bloody handy.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

G8 Update

The local feedback from acquaintances, friends and family from Monday. The police have had a deliberate policy of picking out and coralling at all costs 'anti-capitalist anarchists' (anyone dressed in red or black, with hoodies and/or bandannaed faces, clowns and fairies), provoking violence and thus perpetuating their power and the myth of the good state and the bad people.

This viewpoint, of deliberate riot police provokation (sp?), was even covered in some depth by Newsnight Scotland last night, to their credit. See also the Herald's letters today. Needless to say Scotshit declined to publish my letter. Even Newsnight's pro-policing advocate (a lawyer called Ogg) admitted that there was little legal basis for detaining people in an indiscriminate mass, as the Met and now G8 police are adopting. Firstly, demonstrators have individual rights to non-violent protest that can't be subsumed to 'crowd control'. Secondly, riot police had little evidence of any 'violence' before they've taken offensive action.

Amongst the witness accounts that inform this are:
  • A taxi driver who told of merely wearing black on Monday and being stopped, searched and photographed by cops desperate for 'action'.
  • A talk with the manager of the Human Be-in on Tuesday, who confirmed there had been little trouble on Saturday (as reported below) - just some Black Bloc walking through the outside tables. He showed me the card of the Scotshit reporter who interviewed him- Scotshit's wine correspondant (ironic smiley. Riot cops stormed across before you could say Bob was your uncle. My friend Nick has promised shots he took of the cops in vans on South Clerk St at this time, stripping down to their underwear to get into riot gear. I'll post these if I can get'em.
  • SW and my mum were in Princes St Gdns on Monday when the 'Battle of Princes' St' ©Scotshit occurred. They were just off-shot in the Herald's photographs, which show cops violently arresting a bloke who was sitting with friends doing nothing when attacked from behind. His friends then started using turf clods and flower clumps to try to free him, which apparently succeeded. Then things got much nastier.
  • The cops asked all the shops of Princes St to close-up and have lock-ins by mid-afternoon, after they'd corralled off Canning St Lane and Princes St Gdns, entrapping both protesters and members of the public. R took some pictures from Jenners, where she was locked in, and reports running baton charges by phalanxed riot cops telling corralled crowd to 'move it' when they had little room to shrink back, being boxed in on the other side. She felt the policing was heavy-handed, to say the least.

    View from one side, advancing to the east

There's now much worse reports of pro-active provokation by cops and violence from the Weds Auchterauder protest, and battles at the Stirling eco-campsite both today (Thurs)and yesterday. I hope some legal cases come out of these events at G8. More injuries and arrests both days. See Herald letters for last 2 days too.

One of my colleagues who was active in MPH through her church is outraged, upset and betrayed by people protesting G8. I commented that some of the trouble might have been provoked by police, and received a quite personal tirade about troublemakers undermining MPH, her hiked taxes to police anarchists and replace flowerbeds in Edinburgh, her fear of violence (she felt menaced when surrounded by protestors driven by riot cops from the Sheraton hotel, Weds morning). Mostly that if she got her hands on violent protesters, she'd beat them black & blue. Her retort also included that she disagreed with my possible interpretation because 'she hadn't seen that on the news'. Ironic smiley.

DoDo had been booked to go with a friend and friend's Dad to Climate Change demo on Fri, but for once I and DoDo's Dad agree this is no longer a good idea.
Meanwhile we just hear of multiple explosions in London, but the Met force is busy up in Scotland, kicking in the heads of peaceful protesters. Radio Scotland is reporting that officers seconded to Scotland from London are being sent home. Too fvcking late.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

STW march

Let's say the STW march was small, select and perfectly formed- maybe 500? Almost as poignant as the naming of the dead, both Iraqis (many children) and coalition soldiers, including a naming from Rose Gentle, the mother of one such.

My ex-mother-in-law expressed vox populus when she said she didn't attend for STW (although she showed up yesterday for MPH) because the war was a done deed. As if turning up for MPH will make a difference... don't people learn from experience and observation? I was with my mum, kids and friends. Here's Nini right at the back of the march with one of our friends. Are there enough cops there to contain one child, a woman and a bike?

The biggest policing event- the S60-ing of a solitary black-hoodied youth in the small crowd- will probably be reported by Scotshit tomorrow as an anarcho riot. The massive overkill police presence (including riot cops in vans and on horseback) for a raggle-taggle demo were desperate to do their job, as they understood it. The poor bloke was wearing a Burberry cap beneath this hoodie (smiley). I snapped the cops snapping him, and the hooded druid who didn't get S60-ed, although his hoodie was also black. He said they already had him on file...

The marchers were 'monitored' again at the top of Calton Hill by police cameras:

Naming of the dead ceremony. These people are potential terrorists:

Two of three generations:

Latest lying media whore update from yer BBC:

'Firm' plan for anarchists' rally


Letter to Scotshit

To: Editor, Scotland on Sunday

Dear Mr. Martin,

I am concerned to read your article "Anarchists riot, but peace wins the day" ( on Saturday's Make Poverty History/G8 demonstration.

The circumstance which I witnessed, attending the march with my young children, were peaceful young protesters, many dressed as clowns, being harassed and cordoned-off by riot police, seemingly with nothing better to do with their time. Our route home was blocked by obstruction by the police who outnumbered and intimidated a small and good-humoured group.

Your headline and textual content are inconsistent and misleading about the scale and origin of 'the violence'. Your own article states that only one arrest was made that day, among 225,000 demonstrators, and that the statement of the manager of the Human Be-In, the alleged site of your 'riot', also implicates the police as instigators of any trouble that occurred. ("A few of the protesters came into the bar and tried using it as some sort of soapbox for their views but they quickly ran out when the riot police charged them.")

Thus your reporting is not in keeping with the facts, to the point of overt bias.

Yours sincerely,


Saturday, July 02, 2005

G8 march

Nini and I are just back, leaving SW and Joe uptown dancing to the women drummers. We had to wait 3 hrs in a packed cattle herd to march. The stewards let sections of the crowd out at timed intervals. There were a lot of hot, crying and thirsty children in the crowd, but the cops wouldn't let people out the easy way (north). Instead people had to try to move south through an enormous seething crowd. But waited our turn and joined the march, which was enormous. I'm looking forward to hearing the estimates, which I'd put at about 200,000.

The cops were following the anarchist bloc, including Rebel Clown Army (aka CIRCA), round the Meadows while we waited to march. Walking home just now, Nini and I came across maybe 50 CIRCAs hemmed in by cops on Buccleuch St. More cops than clowns, and it was the cops who wouldn't let us through, not the clowns. Unfortunately the camera was full by then, so I have no photo. Talk about obstruction. And round the corner we found a phalanx of 12 riot horsecops, and a long line of 12 police vans filled with riot cops. One of them made a thumbs-up to Nini, and she slunk back.

Nice to have the BBC confirm the unanticipatedly high turnout and little trouble. Wish I'd been at the head of the march to see the performers reported.


Usual bollocks from Scotsshit this morning:

Anarchists riot, but peace wins the day

As 225,000 marchers paraded peacefully around the capital, a splinter group of protesters, clad in black and wearing black bandanas, attacked a bar and then set on riot police who had rushed to the scene. Waste bins were pushed over and chairs and bottles were hurled during the disturbance, which could herald several days of running battles involving anarchists and anti-globalisation protesters.

Police unleashed a swift counterattack, hemming in the anarchists before detaining them. The protesters were questioned by police and photographed before being released last night. Many other members are believed to be still at large.

If there had been a riot as described, why was the attacked bar open for business and filled with customers at 3.30 pm when I passed it?


Friday, July 01, 2005

Guess what?

The half-nautilus shell, sagitally-sectioned, procured for Nini was initially considered poor.

Like I say, she's a Tartar (and we call her the Ayatollah in private), but articulately so. First, the nautilus wasn't whole, and second it wasn't red'n'white spotted or tentacled like the living specimens on Attenborough's Blue Planet DVD.

Further additions of a mathematical explanation of the Golden Mean and arithmetic series, and a Japanese orchid-painted paper parasol seemed to serve as an emollient. But she's a tough cookie, just the way I like them.


My dream

The bitch is back from her US trip. The conference was fine, especially because I flew thousands of miles for a mere 2 hours work. I stood on my hindlegs and played my appointed role (sceptic of certain placebo techniques). And then went straight to the airport where I found the oasis of a smoking bar, there to burn gaspers, sink margueritas and write in my journal. The Somalian taxidriver who took me into Denver was wearing a Burberry cap. I politely declined his altruistic offer to show me the town that night, pleading tiredness, but really it was because he asked whether Scotland was part of England. I hate that. On the other hand Jim, my taxidriver to the conference, was a gem. Realising he was the only non-work person I'd speak to that day, I started asking him about Denver and politics, and he turned out to be the most interesting and well-informed person I spoke to. I booked him to take me to the airport too.

Just had one of those horrible nightmares which keep starting and stopping and repeating themselves. I was at a weekend house party with R at the house of the couple who sat next to me on the plane, to whom I barely spoke. Like some twisty reality show, we were to be scored for manners, courtesy, gentility and being good guests. First we would be scored by the named people, then there'd also be a anonymous scoring. The rather brittle wife had mentioned that her only problem is with messiness, then given me of all people her immaculate bedroom. The dream's fragmented and repeated, but amongst my houseguest crimes were to break her bed and an electric baby bottle (don't ask me), unintentionally strew rubbish everywhere, and to fart in her face by accident. In the dream I keep trying to do better on the tidying up but can only move at tortoise pace and keep forgetting what I'm doing before I finish the task. It was real enough that in my dream I'm considering differential self-diagnoses of catatonic depression, Parkinson's or myaesthenia gravis for these symptoms. I woke in one of my more horrid perimenopausal nightsweats with the sheets wringing.

The odd thing is that the man of the couple on the plane had spoken to me about my dreaming as we 'deplaned' in Glasgow. He'd asked me about the book I was reading, and whether it had given me bad dreams because I was 'panic-breathing' as I slept. The book was about Amazonian hallucinogenic brews that induce serpentine images and ubiquitous serpents in creation myths, and whether these might be speaking directly to the universal brain about the double helix, DNA. He said he hadn't been sure whether to wake me up, but had been concerned I was distressed. And then curiously he came back tonight in a distressful dream.

That's about all I can write here.

It's nice to be home and awake despite the hour, and tomorrow I get the kids back for the G8 weekend. Nini had written me an illustrated note before I left with a list of pointers. 'Get up, get on plane, give talk, get on plane to San Diego, get catsitter. Bring back books, a nautilus shell.' I'd reassured her the cat was taken care of before I left, and am relieved I even tracked down the nautilus shell she requested. Now she may not kick my butt as hard as usual. For an 8 year old, she's a tough cookie.