In a meeting at the mau5trap today I used the phrase “I didn’t get where I am today…” and then had to explain the humor and it immediately struck me that it was an obvious precursor to The Office. Given Ricky Gervais is only 4-years younger than me he’d have definately been influenced by the original 1970’s The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin tv series and the follow-ons.
I went looking for a YouTube clip and came across this one. Yes, it’s dated. But the content couldn’t be more relevant. The clip, from a program originally aired in October 1976. Not only does it contain some great examples of Reggies acerbic wit, which was a hallmark of the series but he also makes fun of the mediocre, pompous, ex-Army styles that were common in the workplace in the UK still in the 1970’s when I started.
The speech though touches a number of key issues that didn’t come to the fore for a number of years; he talks about growth, chemicals, pollution, destruction of the natural environment, societal approach to weight, food, war and more. I didn’t get where I am today by continuing to work in that environment, CJ.
When I used “humour[British Spelling] without consequence” in my earlier blog post, I that thought it was quite a snappy summary of the long drawn out discussion about the differences between British and American humor, apart from the spelling of the word, obviously.
Ricky Gervais has a useful blog entry on the subject, here. I just googled for “Humour without consequence” to see if it was an original phrase, and it appears to be. One search result though leapt out at me, Sex without Consequence, in a blog post on the Daily Kos by Dave Robbins. It totally sums up my discomfort with the current US non-debate about contraception and abortion, that I’d felt uncomfortable about but hadn’t worked out why.
The way the current debate is framed, typically by the right, and mostly by the religious right, is against abortion, against contraception, etc. etc. One small victory recently was the push back that happened against the Susan G. Komen Foundation when it announced it was cutting ties with Planned Parenthood. They tried and tried to position and rationalize it, but when you looked back at the time line, it ultimately seemed it was a religiously and politically motivated attack on an organization for whom abortion is a tiny percentage of what they do for women. And that’s the point, it’s not a for or against abortion post, it’s how comes this always comes down to an attack on women?
Dave’s post nicely calls out the fact that Men have to take at least 50% of the responsibility, and often much more. Nothing is without consequence.
It’s always good to catch up with people from the “old country”, time to relax and do humour without consequence, and last night I got to go to dinner with Carol Morley, Director of Dreams of a Life, as well as the Cairo, the producer and Andy Whittaker, the CEO of UK distributor Dogwoof. I saw in Dreams of a Life in Stratford down by the Olympic Stadium in December with Lauren and Jamie.
Carol blogged about dinner here in the last paragraph on the Film-4 blog, and for the record, the Football re-union is something we’d like to do, we have not done it yet.
It’s a strange old world though. I first heard about Dreams of a Life when Carol was interviewed on the BBC Radio London Robert Elms show; Robert Elms and I share a love of a all things Flying Dutchman records, and it’s even possible I sold Elmsy one or two; Lonnie Liston Smiths iconic, Expansions was on Flying Dutchman and importantly, Gil Scott Heron had his first album recorded by Flying Dutchman owner and producer, Bob Thiele; Joyce Vincent, the subject of Dreams of a Life met Gil Scott Heron, and the film includes this qoute from Gil: “A pessimist is someone in possession of the full facts.” – I’m guessing neither Robert or Carol realized how square the circle is.
Here are the dates for the remaining screenings of Dreams of a Life at SXSW in Austin. I’m getting a small group together to go Saturday afternoon, please add your name to my facebook link if you’d like to come, complimentary.
ps. Badass? It came from this text I got from Lauren “how lovely! check you out! hanging out with the uk film elite! what a badass!” – ha!
I admit it, I parked next this selfish bad parker deliberately today. I’m going to have to find who it is…. I’m betting it will be someone shorter than 5’8″…
ps. I’m not picking on short people, its just my observation that they don’t have the same spatial awareness as us larger/taller people because they don’t grow up having to duck under things, turn sideways to get through things etc.
I’m so over paying fees for events, it’s such a rip-off. I just bought a ticket for my first ever visit to the One World Theatre here in Austin[the home of star’s from the 1970’s and 1980’s], I’m going to see Ramsey Lewis do Sungoddess Revisited. It was this track and the album, Sungoddess that introduced me to Earth Wind and Fire and a life long love of their music and harmonies, heck I even got the tattoo in 1976. So I wanted to get a decent seat and went for a “prime seat”, price $75. Yeah, I know.
Then came the sticker shock, for an entirely computerized print at home system, I paid an additional $14.50 in fees. One of the fees was listed as simply a transaction fee, maybe this is the fee they are paying to the credit card company so I could use my card, well I’ll get some of that back as I used a cashback card. Which still leaves an $11 fee for someone sitting down and typing the name of the event, a description, posting a picture and setting up the web page. Alright, maybe I could pay a small amount, say 20c towards the license of the software, and another $1 max. for the system time on the server, but at best thats’ $4.50. Since they actually use seatadvisor.com for bookings, the fees should be even lower.
I had thought about going their to see the Average White Band in October, but not $14.50 worth of fees. For the record, it’s not that I can’t afford it, it’s that it’s a ripoff and a barrier to entry to those who can’t. Enjoy Sungoddess…
Excellent news if it comes to pass. I’ve made some comments on the original paidconnet comments page, including describing why you wouldn’t put the content on iTunes; why the UK License payers are not paying for the content twice; and why the only thing radical about this, is that they have not done it before.
Tomorrow starts the annual rush and crush better known as South by South West (SXSW). Most of the official events don’t actually start in zipcode 78704, but it’s one where it is possibly most noticeable. With South Congress, Auditorium shores, the “Mexican mile” on South First, and lots of new restaurants and alternative destinations in the ‘hood, like Slackerville and plenty of retro and vintage shops hustling for attention, there are bound to be many official and more unofficial events [End of an Ear has 8-bands alone]. Threadgills[South] also in the ’04 has a massive lineup of musicians running from Wednesday through Saturday.
Someone missing from the scene will be Austins’ close held but now passed Leslie, My neighborhood was certainly made special as he regularly hung out on the front porch of La Mexicana bakery and Flashback vintage. There’s already been an outpouring on Facebook of people saying Austin won’t be the same without him, and it sure won’t. He was found on Feb 16th, unconscious in a parking lot across the street from my house. I wasn’t involved in his rescue this time. I did sit with him once though when he’d collapsed for some unknown reason in the Twin Oaks library parking lot, while I waited for the South Austin Medical center to dispatch a free ride to come collect him. Then there was the Sunday morning when I jogged past him at the bus stop on South 5th and W Mary, again apparently passed out, legs akimbo, wearing a short skirt with his less vital organs in clear display. I ran 3-blocks south before deciding to come back and check on him, yep he was “asleep” and after a few minutes it was clear an ambulance wasn’t required.
Yep, it’s a shame he’s gone, no one deserved to be treated like he was when he was beaten up, and Leslie was afforded some great friends like Debbie Russell and many others. Lesie was though much more than a cross dresser to entertain people on S. Congress and Sixth St. and people should remember that when mourning his passing.
And Austin will be just the same without him, there are lots of other people keeping Austin and the ’04 weird. Just take a trip down to Eeyore’s Birthday Party and you’ll see the spirit in full flow, and that doesn’t include some of the more esoteric and fantasy characters like The Bandit Queen of Lady Bird Lake.
Welcome to the ’04 to all the SXSW visitors, we are all here, because we are not all there.
The clear difference between the two is not just the number of deaths, the illness, the treatment etc. but the nature of the society that allowed both to exist. In the 1880’s the Bryant and May Matchwomen had the ability to incite change and the ability to start a union like organization. In China, it’s not at all clear this is even remotely possible.
If you can catch todays Robert Elms show on the BBC iPlayer, it’s well worth a listen. It should be posted by 1pm Central time, and will be available only for the next 7-days. Unless I get time to rip that section of the show and post to soundcloud.
Yesterday I wrote about This American Lifes “What Kind of Country do you want?” at which as was surprised at how much disdain and distrust there was of the US Government. As if by magic, when I got home I had missed a certified mail delivery from the IRS. I collected the letter this morning, it was a demand for $2434.04 with no explanation.
After 18-minutes on the phone, I spoke to one operator who could tell me only that it was late fees and interest. I asked for a statement that I could file with my tax attorney ans she said she couldn’t provide that, she’d have to put me through to some advanced dept. After another 20-mins on hold, a man answered, was polite, asked if it was ok to hold, came back 6-mins later, said his software was slow, and then said “oh there you go it’s come back now I’m talking about it”. He asked if he could put me back on hold, came back eventually and said he’d have to submit a paper request and it would take 30-days.
Note, the fact that I’d only been given another 9-days to pay before the US Government would exercise their intent to seize my property, meant I should just pay it. I submitted the payment via a 3rd party for the $3.49 fee and gave the guy on the phone a payment confirmation number.
I told him I was the Director for Software engineering at Dell; I’d be happy to hang up my boots and come fix their software, my fees were a very reasonable $1,000 per day. He said they have lots of software but his computer was an HP, I passed on the chance to make fun of that. Total call time 58-minutes, 38-seconds.
I’m starting to see that if you grow up and these are the sorts of tales, inefficiencies and hopeless situations, you do indeed become skeptical about big government. I’m going to see the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) tomorrow for my permanent immigration application. Wish me luck.