Anger Management

It all started twenty years ago. I remember it clearly like it was yesterday. It was a Sunday. Usually that meant a lie-in. Yet on the morning of the 31st August 1997 it was different, on that date Sunday mornings changed forever. The usual sequence of events was violated.  On that day my mother abruptly roused me from my slumber, earlier than usual, something bad had happened. I registered anguish, pain and sorrow. Someone I knew had obviously died.

It was the day Princess Diana died. I didn’t know Diana personally and, looking back, I recall not caring that much – I was only thirteen after all. Will cricket on the park be cancelled, I wondered? Then the memories fade. I only mention this, because in my mind, that’s the definite date that these mass orchestrated displays of public empathy started. Of course it’s now a common breakfast routine – an English tradition along with bacon butties, beans on toast and suicide bombing.

That was August 1997, but this is 2017. Empathy is one thing, but now increasingly public reaction, opinion and indeed anger to serious society-changing events is being managed. We’ve moved on from empathy management – it’s now the era of anger management.

Take the horrific events of the past three months. In every case public reaction has been closely monitored and managed. We are told to hope not hate, to carry on, to sing ‘don’t look back in anger’, to be passive spectators, a hash tag on twitter, a face in a crowd of mourners. Then the game changed, the Grenfell tower burnt to the ground – and everything was exposed in the ugly charred mess. Islamic terror has a predictable routine and that’s fine, get used to it – but not this time. A poorly maintained matchstick masquerading as a block of flats was not part and parcel of living in a modern global city, and surely not one which imports cheap labour and masquerades it all in the name of diversity, no matter how horrendous the living conditions.

Read the rest here at Country Squire Magazine

Unite Against Hate – Go out, protest, be angry if it makes you feel better

It has now become clear: the politicians and perpetually outraged ‘liberals’ have no idea what they’re for or against or even what they’re protesting about – they’re starting to sound like a broken record, not a very good record mind, more like a Engelbert Humperdinck B-side or something along those lines. You’ll rattle their music box now and again and out they pop whipped up into a frenzy of faux outrage and endless nuggets of non-sequiturs and banality. “Join our protest against Islamophobia and racism’, said one tweet. ‘LGBT & Muslims solidarity, unite against all hate’ and ‘Fight both homophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice’, bannered Peter Thatchell. You can’t help but think they’re missing the point – but this is the point: don’t be angry, be passive and shut up.

So on Sunday, Unite Against Hate, organised by Gays Against Sharia, Tommy Robinson and others took the unfathomable view that ‘carrying on’ and shutting up really wasn’t going to cut it in the face of mass murder and Islamic terror anymore, so they had a protest to “honour the victims” of hate following the suicide attack by Salman Abedi; the march also marked the death of 49 gay people who lost their lives in Orlando, Florida.

Sure enough even the suggestion of such a protest released the hounds of angry leftists and their lap dogs in the media decrying it all as racist, Islamophobic and far right.

Business as usual, but then our new elected spokesperson for Islamic issues and community cohesion, Andy Burnham had this to tweet:

To those saying they weren’t EDL – I honestly don’t care. They still need to take a long, hard look at themselves. @gmpolice deserve better.

But if taking a long hard look at yourself wasn’t enough to shut you up, Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester central said:

These people are so wrong. Wrong to cause such division in Manchester at this time of unity… They disgust me and bring shame on us all.”

You’d think that protesting against terror would bring unity and solidarity – apparently not, only teddy bears and Justin Beiber can do that; Manchester council Leader Sir Richard Leese agrees:

“The last thing they or this city needed was a bunch of racists descending on us from outside our city bringing their messages of hate and division.

When people come from far and wide to protest mass murder you can be sure that hate and division will follow in its stead.

Here’s city centre councillor Pat Karney, with his wise words on hate and division:

“Given recent events in this city, it’s disgusting that these people come to Manchester to peddle their hate and division.”

Pat Karney gets it though; telling people to shut up about Islamic extremism might not be enough, best to make democratic protest punishable by law:

The Home Secretary should urgently review all the regulations around holding these events

Go out, protest, and be angry if it makes you feel better, challenge the status quo – do the opposite of what they say. The politicians and anti-protestors are Great Danes, the Scooby Doos of political debate, confident in their own security, protected by the halo of political correctness, afraid of anything outside the echo chambers of Facebook and banal meaningless slogans, you have a right to protest and demand answers – don’t let them stop you.

Repost: The Jihadis Next Door

(Update) This is a repost of an old TV review: The Jihadis Next Door (Channel 4). Despite the police and security services believing that brandishing the Islamic State flag, chanting that Sharia is coming to the UK – and all the other usual non-threatening rants on your average jihadi day out –  was nothing more than just a bit of banter and the chap exercising his right to free-speech. It turns out that one of the London Bridge attackers was serious and really did mean it after all, and if that wasn’t enough the guy gave us some pretty good clues on prime time TV. A known wolf we’re used to, but a known wolf given a starring role in a Channel 4 documentary is a whole other level of ridiculousness. If you arrest them on suspicion waging jihad you’re Islamophobic and targeting a particular community, if you don’t there’s a good chance your citizens might get their throat slit or at the very least stabbed. Here’s the original review:

Don’t we live in such a vibrant multicultural country? Don’t we? We do, don’t we? I’m sure, like me, it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling – a sense of stability and security, that we’re all basically human beings underneath the facade, pulling in the same direction. What can one say about Channel 4’s new documentary The Jihadis Next Door, other than: how did we allow our country to sleepwalk into such a terrible mess?

The kind of footage aired in the documentary, is pretty much the usual stuff we’ve grown accustomed to in our perpetual state of 24/7 Islam: radical hate preachers subsidised by the tax payer, roaming at will through inner city London; blokes with beautifully moisturised beards; footage of the odd Muslim condemning it – never a mass rally mind or even a moderately attended street protest, just the odd one (I’ll guarantee this will be the focus of most of this week’s reviews, along with something about the programme dividing communities); the odd infidel beheading and, obviously, how we’re all going to burn in hell fire. So, pretty much your average weekday in the religion of peace (you should see what they do for New Year’s, crikey).

Having said all that, it doesn’t make it less shocking to watch – we’re not completely desensitised, yet. The range of emotions you go through watching the documentary is quite remarkable, I counted: fear, concern, sadness, helplessness and anger; I laughed twice, nearly cried once, and vaporised about 20ml of my super strength blackjack e-liquid. The most interesting bit however, is how articulate and goal orientated these people are and, of course, how stupid we are.

Clearly, your average bog-standard jihadi isn’t stupid; they know how to manipulate the law and exploit the weakness, as they see it, of our democracy; they understand how decadent our culture has become (through political correctness) and how to use it to their advantage.

“The people in this country are living in ignorance, their country is involved in war,” says, Siddhartha Dhar (aka Abu Rumaysah), a bouncy castle salesman and the man now suspected of being the new jihadi John in the latest Islamic State execution video. He continues: “If they continue to have this indifferent approach, it is not going to help them.” Check! I totally agree, albeit in a different way, but you get the idea. Another radical, YouTube sensation Abu Haleema tells a group of reporters outside of court that Islam will eventually dominate the UK and the flag of Islam will fly above Downing Street. A reporter shouts out “You’re joking?” “No, I’m not,” Haleema replies. — Probably best to take them at their word next time…


The Jihadis Next Door, Channel 4, 9pm, Tuesday 19 January


The Manchester attack aftermath: 7 things we’ve learnt

Since we’ve finally hopped, skipped and jumped through the five acts of post Islamic terror – namely, the horrific event; the nothing to do with Islam phase; the bromide hash tags, vigils and meaningless platitudes; the real concern: racism and Islamophobia; and finally the brain fade until the next and so on and on like some particularly prescient episode of the Twilight Zone. We should now turn our attention to what if anything we’ve learnt from last week’s events.

Western foreign policy is no big deal – Remember, pretty much everything pisses these guys off in the same hate filled, blood curdling way – so whether you’re busy invading a Muslim country; drawing a cartoon; writing a novel (Salman Rushdie); wagging your butt in a mini skirt; adopting a kitten, you name it, they hate it. Far from being ‘incomprehensible’ and mind boggling, the enemy is very clear in their stated aims of what they don’t like: our entire civilisation and everything it represents. They go for the Jews (Brussels, Toulouse and Copenhagen); the gays (Orlando); the infidel religion or Christianity as we prefer to call it (decapitating a French priest at mass, the Berlin Christmas market); symbols of national identity (Bastille day and Westminster in London); consumerism (Stockholm) and now young girls at a pop concert in Manchester. So Jeremy, I think it’s fair to say that foreign policy is quite far down the list (check out the official ISIS hate list here).

Media narrative – In the immediate aftermath, the rolling news curiously imprints the same effect on your mind as binge watching the Real Housewives of Cheshire – first there’s spittle, then resentment, and finally a numbed passivity. Following the BBC coverage you’d be forgiven for thinking an accident had happened – perhaps a crash on the M60 or a collapsed concert hall brought on by shoddy workmanship – certainly not a politically inspired suicide attack brought on by a medieval religious text. Cue the desperation to portray Muslims in a good light even if it’s a woman in a Burhka with the words love spelled out in various forms of ammunition (link here) – in retrospect, quite funny.

Andy Burnham – Our new Major of Manchester and Koranic expert Andy Burnham said ‘this man was a terrorist, not a Muslim’. Essentially, Burnham had ex-communicated Salman Abedi – a practice known as takfiri and widely practiced by ISIS and other Islamic extremists (In a bizarre twist, Burham has put his own personal fatwa on Abedi!).  Furthermore, Andy has been cosying up to Manchester’s Muslim communities in order to get himself elected. One of the ways he did this was to call for the government’s one and only counter extremism ‘Prevent’ strategy to be scrapped. He’s also appeared at a mayoral hustings organised by the ‘anti-Islamophobia’ pressure group Muslim Engagement and development (MEND). The group is led by Azadi Ali who previously lost a libel battle with newspapers who said he was a “hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq by fellow Muslims as justified”. (You can read more about this here)

Twitter hates Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson more than Abedi – Rather than direct all their hate and anger to the real problem – the twitterati, the liberal left and the rest of the lynch mob decided to unleash it on Katie Hopkins or whoever else. Simply nothing more than an exercise in virtue signalling and an indication of how political correctness has taken over every facet of life in this country. It seems they’d rather let us all die than be politically incorrect.

‘Don’t look back in anger’ is an incredibly stupid choice of song – The 90’s Oasis song was the message of ‘defiance and unity’ the crowd of mourners sent to the dead victims and presumably to ISIS and other forms of Islamic extremism (though I have no evidence of this at present) here’s a snapshot of some of the lyrics:

 Slip inside the eye of your mindDon’t you know you might find, A better place to play?    

 So I’ll start a revolution from my bed, Cause you said the brains I had went to my head

Please don’t put your life in the hands, Of a Rock ‘n’ Roll band, Who’ll throw it all away          

(That part is, I believe, directed at those who flee to Syria to join the renegade rock band ISIS)

Why are we united and what are we united against? – Mass murder and terrorism unites us. We’re encouraged to feel love, empathy, hope not hate and to ‘carry on’. Our reaction to these events are strange. The politicians clearly feel that if we the public release our inner anger and start asking questions then we’d surely become a mob of torch wielding angry villagers – set on a path of rampant destruction.

Weeping for our fellow citizens is, I suppose to a certain degree, a natural reaction but we need to move past that and start getting angry and asking questions – many of them uncomfortable. Let’s start with the official state sanctioned response of ‘carry on’ and ‘unity’ – unity about what? Around what? A pop song? What values should we be united around? Diversity? Carry on until what? The next time? Carry on camping? In other words, ‘carry on’ and ‘unity’ are the new buzz words for shut up and don’t ask questions.

Getting a Manchester bee tattoo makes total sense – The bee emblem represents Manchester. Manchester got a terrorist attack. Therefore I’ll emblazon a bee on my skin. Ludicrous, of course, but this wasn’t primarily an attack on Manchester in the sense of the city itself – rather, as the attacker saw it, on whole on western civilization – and in this case young girls enjoying themselves at a pop concert. Yet for a country that doesn’t know what its values are and what we should rally behind – apart from some vague musings about diversity, tolerance, multiculture and the like. Getting a bee tattoo makes total sense.

It’s time to forget Manchester’s ‘culinary revolution’ – and head to Wetherspoons

Big butch gay Oscar said there are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it – he probably forgot to mention missing kids, yachting tragedies, nasty hangovers and WH smiths; but to be fair he has a point. So, I can’t decide which was the better morning of – Brexit or Trump’s victory. Now the initial excitement is waning a little – I’d have to go with Brexit. Brexit was a plus-plus-plus, whereas Trump’s victory was a plus to Brexit – sort of like stumbling on a suitcase full of cash and then a few months later a long lost relative leaving you their entire heritance – including an abandoned castle in the outer Hebrides.

I mention all this not because Wetherspoons was pro-Brexit (I’d never eat anywhere for political reasons that would be hugely idiotic), but only because a certain tribe of snobs roundly despise the discount chain pub – preferring to flitter away their cash on overpriced pompous morsels of floating excrescence shat out of the backsides of giant gastronomic monsters and massaged into conceptual poo shapes by Manchester’s so-called food and culture scene. I dare you. Dance with the devil. Read any ‘review’ on the plethora of online food and drink magazines – (on the one hand, on the other, overall it was) go and you’ll be baffled as to how stupid you and apparently everyone else is.

These tiresome mouth trumpets of top ten lists, launching parades and ultimate countdowns are in essence just favours for favours and cock-sucking advertorials, but even the once mighty Manchester Evening News seems to have given up on journalism all together and is now content with blowing the city’s mediocre food and drink scene. So, it’s time to set the record straight – you heard it here first – the only place worth eating in Manchester is Wetherspoons (second to home, naturally) – and no, I’m not kidding or taking a back hander.

The reason why Spoons evades your culinary kaffeeklatsch is nothing other than good old-fashioned metropolitan snobbery. Curry Thursday, how ghastly, the snobs shriek, I bet the place is full of bloody bricklayers as well, best spend £50 at Vernacular across the street with the civilised educated people who voted remain.

But wait! Is that £6.65 for an 8oz Aberdeen Angus steak with chips and a glass of quaffable plonk? £1.99 for extras? Yes, and a perfectly acceptable steak it is too. You could double and probably triple that everywhere else, add another three quid for chips and £6.50 for a glass of red – if you’re lucky. Is it the best steak ever? No, but neither are those fancy places. Are the walls graced with local dulux encrusted art? No, but a lot of them are in grade-II listed buildings. Will anyone be voting Labour? Probably not, but you can always keep your comments down to a dull whisper – to avoid getting a good beating.

Food, sadly, has become political – and now denotes nothing more than the sad segregated society we now live in. The hotpot and all those other congregations of beautiful stodge are dead and buried, now head to a gourmet burger joint in the Northern Quarter, shout you voted leave and watch the blood sap from their insipid humourless faces. What you stuff in your mouth has always denoted social status, but when once the clients ate gruel and the patrons prime beef, now we’re all eating the same – just some are desperate, nay demanding to pay more for it – oh and make it gluten free, my stomach is pouting in a serene grimace of self-importance. They’re basically saying: I pay more, so I’m better than you.

The liberal worldview is well and truly kaput, now – the cherry on the cake – these ghastly eateries must vanish into the ether and begone – but then again, what on earth would I whine about. Let’s make 2017 even more rebellious and head to Wetherspoons.

Booze is fantastic; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

It has now been roughly 23 days since I last had a drink or, more precisely, 552 hours or 33120 minutes or 1987200 seconds and counting; I said roughly remember, I can’t recall the exact moment when I quit, I’m not an addict for gods sake – just dedicated, to booze that is – I’m a dedicated drinker. Like most of the population (I suspect, if we’re honest) I’ve dedicated more of my life to the heady elixir of fermented yeast than perhaps anything else – admit it, you probably have to0. Of course there’s nicotine, caffeine, uppers, downers, inners and outers – but they don’t have a scratch on booze: the pièce de résistance.

Is there anything good about being pissed? Or is its sole purpose to make our lives a misery? The scraps and confrontations, the pregnancies and STDs, the weight gain, the cold blue dawn light of clarity followed by regret and apprehension concluding in anxiety and paranoia, the vomit, the divorces, the heartbreak and fallings out, the indigestion and acidity, bloated tummies and empty wallets; a Mephistopheles of the soul: a scatterer, a disperser, a plasterer of lies, seeking to corrupt men, a foot soldier of Lucifer.

Or does it come as a saviour? A diligent and efficient waiter – French perhaps – to serve and ultimately collect the half bitten empty morsels of those already damned. Not a temptress or siren but a masseuse of the soul for those in danger of being damned – a vanguard to the portal of our ever present private hell.

God knows. And who cares? All I know is that everyone, everywhere, loves booze, all the time, throughout the ages – without exception. The Chinese, Babylonians, Sumerians, all of them loved a tipple – the religious and spiritual especially, they even had gods devoted to wine – imagine such a thing. Then there are the Romans who believed wine a democratic necessity – available to all, whether slave, peasant, patron or squire and what else can you say that about? The Greeks loved their symposiums and the Macedonians, devoted followers of Dionysius (God of wine), gained a reputation for loutish behaviour and believed the stuff made you more masculine – no arguing with that.

Even the bible loves booze: Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more (proverbs 31: 6-7). And so immediately after the flood Noah had his own private vineyard installed and Jesus (that’s Jesus Christ) was so desperate to revive a flagging party that he used special powers to turn water into wine – I think that’s what you call the miracle of miracles.

It turns out that inebriation is the one thing – perhaps the only thing – that has united the sorry pit of humanity throughout the ages. That and porn; and like smut it seems to be everywhere. Whether you’re sacrificing to the gods, celebrating a victory, getting married, attending a funeral, going into battle, pledging allegiance, departing and returning, or evening abstaining; booze will turn up, always, waving its hands, dolled up like a tart to bow to its legion of followers cheering as they beckon him in. (Ok, maybe porn wasn’t a good example, but you get the idea.)

The late great legendary boozer Christopher Hitchens was right: “It has been said that alcohol is a good servant and a bad master. Nice try. The plain fact is that it makes other people, and indeed life itself, a good deal less boring.” Indeed can you imagine life without it? – The agreeable nods, the smug self satisfied grimaces of the perpetually healthy as they torture you with their latest body mass index, the health food restaurants and the gluten free freaks (naturally), taut skin and shiny cheek bones, grimaces masquerading as content, the tee-total dating sites (Margery, 27, enjoys horse-riding, the Green Party, quinoa, herbal tea and being tied up and have someone wee wee on her – strictly no DSS or Tories, thanks).

Apparently the old are drinking more and the young a lot less – and by less I mean total abstinence. The number of under-25s opting for a booze free existence has increased by 40 per in the last 9 years, with more than quarter not drinking at all. This probably has something to do with the current Mohammed name fad and the rising Muslim demographic (in ‘ultra diverse’ London 1 in 3 people are now teetotal) but also to do with the fact that generation safe-space are the most censorious, whining, narcissistic and irksome generation ever. And who wants to end up like that? So good riddance, let them wallow in their boredom.

As I said I’ve have been a loyal and faithful follower for over 17 years and never missed a weekend – until now, that is. Time to reassess, take stock, sort ones life out, as they love to say. I’ve done a month and that’s long enough. Just another 68 hours and 32 minutes left to the end of my temperance. I can’t wait. I’ve a bone to pick. So here’s to alcohol the greatest and most unifying contrivance or connivance mankind has ever discovered or invented. Cheers.

Bored of Islamic terror? – You’re not the only one

Ah, remember when Islamic terror used to have a sort of long drawn out tiresome spunky excitement to it – the bromide hash tags and slogans; the pathetic shows of unity; the facebooks and the tricolor; the self flagellation; the candle lit vigils; the celebrities; the Beatles songs and the pianos; the Katie Hopkins rants; we’re all in it together, this is a difficult time and so on.

Remember the predictable sequence of events and denials of reality in the aftermath:

First, you see bodies littered over some street or other, usually in France – no mention of the I word or the M word just yet: after all it could’ve been a pissed off Anglican priest or a crazy Buddhist off his meds. Then everyone takes to Facebook and social media to promote whatever silly slogan or avatar the moronic inferno has decided to adopt as its sentimental rallying cry. By now the politicians are out of bed and condemning the attack as ‘shocking and appalling’.

Then, no longer able to conceal the truth from the public despite their best efforts, the BBC et al. confirm the perpetrator was indeed a bloke called Mohammed. No use of the I word or M word yet. Next, more gory details start to filter through. Eyewitness accounts. Then ISIS claims the attack as a victory – good for Hollande so he now can say: “We’re going to hit ISIS where it hurts” – anything to sell the atrocity as a foreign rather than a domestic issue. Other world leaders condemn the attack.

Then we move to Act 2. Yes the psycho was indeed a Mohammed, as usual, but this doesn’t mean a jot. Because the BBC have found someone – possibly a cousin or some other acquaintance who tells them that he ate pork pies and never even went to church, sorry the Mosque. His family know fuck all as do the local community who say he was a quiet loner addicted to sex with himself. No mention of the I or M word yet. Breaking News: Mohammed had accomplices – probably also called Mohammed but possibly even Ahmed or Iqual (in any case immigrant names). No mention of the I or M word yet.

Next, the really boring bit Act 3 – the nothing to do with Islam phase. By now it is no longer possible to conceal the words Islam and Muslim from the public (at least when debating it – C4 News and the BBC will try to avoid it at all costs in headlines). Everyone will debate radicalisation as though you just somehow catch it like gonorrhoea – and will offer no clear answers. Vacuous news presenters ask ‘experts’ why it keeps happening in France – no clear answers, but foreign policy will raise its head and possibly Israel and Palestine. No one remembers the dead victims anymore. Politicians inform us that this has nothing to do with you know what and they don’t represent you know what. Mass marches through the streets about peace, love, unity, open borders and all the rest of it. A massive prick sings a song.

Finally, act 4 – Islamophobia. Having now established that none of this has anything to do with you know what – focus will now be turned on the real problem facing us all: racism. Politicians may even apologise on behalf of the Muslim community for how they must feel; news footage shows an angry mob of EDL supporters; the rise of the far right is discussed; concern about Islamophobic attacks: a women in a headscarf was called a bimbo or whatever; ‘you ain’t no Muslim bruv’ or ‘Islam is peace’ or something similar trending on twitter.

Well, those were the good old days (a few months ago) when we at least made an effort, there used to be a formula, a method to the madness. After the Nice attack we hopped, skipped and jumped through each act in a matter of hours rather than days. As Douglas Murray writes, ‘everything barely worth saying will be said endlessly. And the only things worth saying won’t be said.’ Let’s hope the Islamists take our lead and succumb to ennui – I doubt it though.

The liberal left are screeching like babies over Brexit – and it’s hilarious

There is truly no greater pleasure – not picking dead skin, nor popping a whitehead, or even messy sex with an industrial keg of Nutella (imagine not even that!) – that can sate the sheer palpable delight of hearing the distant tantrums of remain cry-babies; tears welling, hands to ears, screeching NO NO NO, rattles slammed, as froth foams from their smug mouths and drips deliciously into their meat free cappuccinos or whatever it is these spoilt babies assault their digestive tracts with.

I am of course referring to the metropolitan liberals in the capital and the provinces (in Manchester we call brain dead central the Northern Quarter and Chorlton, you’ll have your own areas) that seem intent on being perpetually stupid all of the time – and these last few days they’ve been screeching louder than ever. Hilarious. And please don’t stop, I’m begging, you’re a continual source of amusement, a renaissance of British comedy.

And then we have the cultural establishment and wealthy celebrities. JK Rowling cried, “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted magic more” and “Goodbye, UK”. Singer Lily Allen tweeted: “Well millennials. We’re really really fucked”. Marrianne Faithful: “We’re back to where we used to be, the right-wing racist Little England, those dreadful people, they’ve always been there.” Presumably she’s addressing the majority that voted out. Third-rate rock star Johnny Marr was particularly elitist: “No one ever said that the majority knew what they were doing”. And watching smug prat Will Self throw a hissy fit on Channel 4 news with ‘a person of colour’ and leaver Dreda was deliciously satisfying. Expect the media in the coming weeks to be churning out reports about racist abuse to immigrants, when the reality is clearly much different.

The ultimate irony is, of course, that the educated liberal left – those on the side of ‘people of colour’, immigrants, the ordinary folk, the working class or whatever you prefer to call them; are actually trying to bully and cajole the peasants into voting for the expressed wishes of most of the Conservative party and indeed all established political parties, including the House of Commons and Lords and the entirety of big business and banks.  Funny that.

Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool review

Rating: 5/5

If I recall correctly critics hated Radiohead for a good few years after the sparse – and if we’re honest – a bit naff Kid A. The problem as they saw it, myself included, was the band had decided they no longer could be bothered playing their guitars – a problem for sure because there’s three of them and The bends and OK Computer are two of the best rock albums ever produced.

It’s as though Led Zeppelin decided to jack it all in and move to a annoying hippy complex in the outlying foothills of California to play the bongos and shake the maracas or – developing the theme – Pink Floyd shouted fuck you somewhere in Cambridge and produced a follow up to Dark Side of the Moon based on nothing but kitchen utensils (which I believe they contemplated). The other problem is that OK Computer is just too good. It really is. Received too much critical acclaim – with the inevitable backlash. Nothing is as good as OK Computer, we get that now, finally, and so we can all move on.

A Moon Shaped Pool it turns out is perhaps Radiohead’s best album in the last 19 years – and yes, you really are that old.

I’d even go as far to call it a collection of love songs or more apt is a collection of the end of love songs. The melodies swoon and crash in an ethereal nightmare leaving the listener with that bizarre sense of falling and then waking before you plunge to your death.

It’s relaxing but only ever in the most sinister sense. A bit like chilling out in a rackety cabin in the woods knowing full well, yet ignoring, the baying lunatic stalking you outside. Satisfied with a mere peep behind the torn curtains now and again – you’re safe, but only just. Like Tom Wait’s Alice, this is 3 a.m. music at its very best.

Consider the threatening ambience of the brilliant choir thumping Decks Dark a nod to Subterranean Homesick Alien sure, but stuttered in the smudge of a half remembered dream – And in your life, there comes a darkness/There’s a spacecraft blocking out the sky/And there’s nowhere to hide/You run to the back and you cover your ears/But it’s the loudest sound you’ve ever heard/Are we trapped?  And then to finish: Have you had enough of me?/Sweet darling/Have you had enough of me? – Now, the band having matured, older and wiser, we humans are ‘alien’.

I suppose the point should be made of Thom Yorke’s split from his wife of 23 years. It’s none of our business but not entirely irrelevant. On the wonderful mood setting Daydreaming in which we’re tantalised by ever so subtle hints of Johnny Greenwood’s guitar: a wave here and there but always restrained forever shackled – Prometheus bound – while his orchestral abilities are put to use; Thom sings ‘Half my life’ in reverse vocals which sound like some grunt from hell – angry, muffled and distant.

There’s hope, but not for long on Desert Island Disk – a sort of folksy rendition that would sit comfortably on any Nick Drake album – Now as I go upon my way/So let me go upon my way/Born of a light – again the track title gives you a clue as to the outcome.

The songs are to be listened to patiently, the rich textures, haunting lyrics and orchestral arrangements reveal themselves to the listener with confidence and ease, oozing new hidden depths on every listen. In many ways it’s the older wiser brother of In Rainbows.

One of my personal favourites is the samba and bossanova inspired Present Tense a sort of dance track for the perpetually exhausted or the groovy beat laden Identikit which reconstructs the faces of past loves for us only to be left feeling resentful and heart broken, Sweet faced ones with nothing left inside and Broken hearts make it rain.

In the normal course of events Radiohead ballads such as Fake Plastic Trees, How to Disappear Completely and Exit Music offer respite, but in this case they guide, bloom and flourish to the album’s ultimate conclusion the 20-year-old True Love Waits, a spine tingling masterpiece that’s been waiting patiently for the right moment, it’s resurrection in a sense. The album outros with: And true love waits/In haunted attics/And true love lives/On lollipops and crisps/Just don’t leave/Don’t leave. How fitting.

Everything I’ve written could and probably is bollocks. But it’s good; it’s very good, and seems to get better on every listen – I’d say about as close to perfect as you can get.

Restaurant Review: Solita, Manchester

Food 2/5  Atmosphere 3/5

Nobody will like it, but it has to be said. I’d have said this earlier, but I hoped, nay feared, that I might be wrong. I’m not. I’m right. In fact, there are two things that must be said – because most of us have reached the point of no return and so it’s absolutely necessary to say it. No, wait, three things that must be said – I’ve just remembered. There’s probably more things that could be said, but don’t necessarily have to be said, I might mention them later depending on certain conditions and word count.

Needs must, so first things first. Firstly, ‘the restaurant scene’ or whatever you call it in Manchester is, with a few exceptions, universally ghastly. You’ve heard it here first. It truly is. On the scale of ghastliness, we’re fluctuating somewhere between pompous rubbish and over priced mediocrity with not a few diversions into bland, bewildering and raw. Nobody seems to realise it and that’s because, as I’ve said before, no matter how many trendy places they frequent and flutter with peacock like intent and determination Mancunians, almost without exception, no nothing about food.

So, unless you absolutely know for certain (and this does not include the opinions of your palate numb work colleagues, hipster friends, trip advisor, online sites etc.) – by which I mean you’ve physically gone and stuffed food in your mouth and swallowed it, don’t take the risk – just stay in; you’ll save yourself an awful amount of embarrassment, money and maybe even your soul.

Secondly, contrary to popular belief, Manchester is not the ‘best city in the UK’ or the ‘coolest place ever’ as those ubiquitous advertorial Manchester based ‘culture’ websites are continually informing us. And here’s why: the entire city has been raped and pillaged by humourless faux-liberals and hipsters, who, I’m guessing, spend their free time rimming empty hummus cartons, nodding in agreement over daft art installations, and calling each other white supremacists on the Façadebook.

If these idiots left, well that would be another matter – but we’re stuck with them for now. And so, over the past 10 years Manchester has exclusively been designed and billeted to cater for the whims of this tiresome sub section of society – who seem intent on dragging the rest of us down to hell with them. If, for example, the Northern Quarter were in South Park, it’d probably be called NoMoreNorth or Thereunto or something along those lines. The third point, I’ve concluded, word count and all, is a could be said rather than a must be said; but, being just too crude and nasty – although undoubtedly true – to put down in print, I’ll give it a miss. So, we’ll move on.

Moving on, as you can imagine, when the gourmet burger restaurant Solita opened up a third branch in one of the least trendy areas of Manchester: Prestwich – where I live – I was a little apprehensive that north Manchester would soon be over-run with iron clad morons and my rent would sky rocket and that’ll I’ll have to move to Oldham or possibly even Bolton – thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet; but we’ll see. It turns out that Solita make decent, if a little expensive, burgers. I’ve been three times to the joint in Prestwich, which has this odd exclusivity feel – a sort of, are you one of us moment hits you as soon as you enter the place, exemplified by the blacked out windows which has the effect of a memory wipe, making you forget that you’re in the north of Manchester.

The first two times were deja vu: initial confusion over whether I wanted a starter or not – I didn’t bother; followed by delight and stupefaction when they placed the thing in front of me; then the daunting realisation that I’ll never be able to eat it without a knife and fork; then the nauseating gasp for breath two thirds in – that second long-island tea, a terrible idea; and finally the emotional shameful walk home as you conclude that it’s just way too expensive for a burger; no matter what you slap on it to add ‘value’, a burger is a burger is a burger. A burger is mincemeat, squashed, patted, fried and stuck between two slices of bread – a sandwich.

Blondie came the third time, this time – and possibly the final time.  Blondie and myself have been on a quest to find a decent eatery in Manchester that doesn’t make us angry or regret we were ever born. I should also note that Blondie hates everything other than: pies, fish and chips, fresh southern Italian antipasti, gravy, rare-bit, and cheese. So when her burger came with only a shaving of cheese he wasn’t too pleased.

Blondie ordered the Jack Daddy (£10.90) it was dry, a few mouthfuls short of satisfaction and covered, I mean totally coated, it this awful, sickly reduced sauce, which gave the impression post-eating that she had just quaffed a huge sticky toffee pudding and then smudged her hand over the plate to make some sort of pretty pattern to amuse the other customers. It came topped with two cold and congealed onion rings. I, in no mood for unnecessary condiments, went for the bacon double cheese (£10.90) which also had barely any cheese, was a little on the small side, but not as dry as the Jack Daddy. The whole experience lasted about 40 minutes. On the plus side, the cocktails were superb – even though we only had one each. The place was heaving, noisy, covered in local art and undoubtedly the place to be on a Saturday night. The service was occasional, casual and unfussy – at one point I was almost expected the waiter to interrupt and apologise for not asking if I had any allergies. She didn’t, which was a relief.

I really wanted to enjoy my third time at Solita; I didn’t, which is a shame – because it was a decent way to flitter money and time on a good burger. Those days are over; it’s time to move on. What exactly happened, I’m not sure; maybe it was a Saturday? Is that even an excuse? Probably it’s just become too popular with all the inevitable consequences that follow. And so, the quest continues; I haven’t given up yet.

Solita (Prestwich), 401 Bury New Road, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 1AA (0161 710 2884)