Genetics are not a reason Scotland doesn’t qualify for football tournaments

Scotland failed yet again to qualify for a major international tournament. Manager Gordon Strachan has said something utterly extraordinary.

“Genetically, we are behind,”

Strachan’s idea is that we Scots are too small and we need big blokes to make ourselves effective on the world stage of football. This is bollocks.This is that Scottish habit of failing to accept your own faults and failures so rather than working with what you have, Strachan comes up with bullshit.

This is what’s known as the ‘it’s shite being Scottish’ meme. It’s easy to do, and I’ve even done it myself. It is however a mortifying piece of pathetic self-pitying that solves nothing. I like Strachan, he’s funny but for most of this campaign he’s failed to pick players playing in Scotland who are in form with Leigh Griffiths being the best example. It isn’t unrelated that when Strachan starts picking him regularly we start doing well.

That though is not really the point. Wallowing in a ‘och, we can’t do this. we’re Scottish.’ really is crap and what’s worse we nurture this idea, this concept, of glorious failure and take some perverse joy in it. We’ve went from the nation that invented much of the 20th century to whining miseries in a century and you know what? I’m tired of it. We can do better, not because we’re entitled to it but because we’re capable of doing more than we think we can if we work out ways to do just that. Part of achieving that is dropping this attitude of people like Strachan or quite I few people I’ve met since coming back to Scotland.

We shouldn’t be scared of failure but we should learn from it.It seems too many have learned to take failure for granted and accept it as the natural way of things and that isn’t good enough. So Scotland, get up off your knees and do better!

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The strangeness of Alex Jones

Recently John Oliver had this fantastic bit on right wing conspiracy nut Alex Jones.

Jones is a fascinating character not because of his lunacy but because his lunacy draws people in. Here’s Jones interviewing director David Lynch.

I mean, Lynch isn’t an idiot. He must realise Jones is at best, a xenophobic lunatic, at worst a far-right conspiracy theorist that helps neo-fascists like Donald Trump? And make no doubt about it, Jones is way, way, way out there but back in the early days of the internet Jones was just a conspiracy theorist who attracted the attention of Jon Ronson for his 2000 series, Secret Rulers of the World.

For most of us in the UK this was our first look at Jones and hey, he was someone to point and laugh at because there was no way a nut like Jones could get anywhere near influencing power?

Fuck.

Jones big break was 911. He was one of those who carved himself a niche after that day (and there’s a lot of folk who tried) and used the attacks to vindicate not only his strangeness, but help build up his business which as Oliver points out in his video, is pretty substantive and worth millions to him.

Jones mined the early days of the internet when people would come online and look at weird stuff. UFO, JFK stuff, but also Jones’s libertarianism cut across right and left, yet it is perfectly clear what Jones is; a far right demagogue who has undue, undemocratic influence upon the American president. It’s only right Jones should be scrutinised because people like him were the vanguard of the alt-right, and indeed, all the online extremists from all political persuasions. He’s a danger to democracy and I find it extraordinary that people like Lynch and other somewhat sensible seeming people give him the time of day.

Don’t share anything from Jones. Don’t give him the clicks. Most of all don’t believe that he’s actually Bill Hicks!

Mickey Mouse in Vietnam

One of the sad things about the 21st century is there’s not really a political underground movement or even much of an underground scene anymore. Sure there’s bits and bobs online but most of it is bollocks with the odd exception here and there which makes a point. Part of the problem though is that there’s little in terms of the establishment to take down these days.

Back in the 1960’s the Underground scene was hugely influential in tearing down icons, especially during the Vietnam War where America and its imperialism was brought into question. One such piece of Underground media was Whitney Lee Savage and Milton Glaser’s Mickey Mouse in Vietnam. A film long lost lost if anything sums up the Underground ethics of the peace and love era it’s probably this so enjoy all 66 seconds worth of it.

The return of Protect and Survive

Back in March 2017 the Imperial War Museum announced it was going to reissue the pamphlet from 1980 outlining how to survive a nuclear war. Of course it was utter bollocks because there’s no way to survive such a war, but the UK government of the time couldn’t, or to be exact, wouldn’t tell people that nuclear war would mean their likely death either quickly in the blast and firestorm, or slowly and painfully thanks to the fallout.

Except what should have been a reprint to remind us of the years when we seriously thought the Russians or Americans would start a nuclear war ends up being something that reminds us the threat has returned. True, it isn’t anything as severe as the 50’s to the end of the Cold War in the late 80’s, but thanks to Donald Trump, North Korea and insane politicians who think a nuclear war can be limited, we’re on the verge of entering a dangerous phase.

Hopefully sanity prevails but with lunatics and demagogues in power we can’t be too sure, so make sure you’ve got loads of white paint, some potato sacks and a screwdriver…

Twin Peaks explained?

Over a week since Twin Peaks finished and people are still trying to make sense of it. Even I’ve tried to garble some sort of theory that I’ve pulled out of my arse, but two theories stand out with one providing some hints and the other being the best explanation I’ve read so far as to just what on earth Twin Peaks was about.

This long, and fascinating theory by David Auerbach is essential reading for fans, and indeed any viewers of the programme as it is without doubt the clearest, most convincing theory out there. Revealing the series has a symmetrical structure isn’t a massive revelation, but a lot of what Auerbach theorises isn’t just convincing, it seems too good not to dismiss as what Twin Peaks was about.

Next is this video that shows that the 2017 series isn’t just wrapped round the original series, but something on the road map to where we got to at the quite chilling ending.

I love the fact that we’ll be talking about this for years, even decades because Lynch never reveals what his films are about so we’ll have to rely upon people to come up with their own interpretations and so far, these two are ahead of everyone else.

Trying to understand the Twin Peaks finale

The return of Twin Peaks came to a conclusion this week and to say people are polarised is, well, a massive fucking understatement. Trawl the internet and you’ll find people praising it or decrying it in around equal numbers, but the agreement is that nobody actually knows what the series actually meant, but watching the final two episodes something clicked in my brain: A DC Comics series from 1985 has a hint as to how to understand what David Lynch and Mark Frost have done here.

From here on in lies spoilers. Be warned.

Crisis on Infinite Earths was a DC Comics mini-series designed to tidy up DC’s convoluted continuity that had built up over the decades, and to destroy all the multiple Earths into one. Central at the core is the idea of parallel Earths separated only by ”vibrational frequency”. These different realities all had an Earth where something is different, or history developed differently, or even history moved at a slower, or faster, rate than ‘our’ Earth. Basically the idea of parallel worlds is a tried and familiar concept in science fiction and Lynch and Frost are playing with these concepts so remember that what we’re seeing is a story being told. Sounds obvious but there’s a point where certain characters in season three become aware they’re in a story and I’ll get to that point in a minute.

In the Twin Peaks finale, Dale Cooper travelled back in time to the point where Laura Palmer was murdered and stopped it and in doing so created a parallel world where Laura never died.

Cooper creates a doppleganger Earth by his actions and remember, we’ve been told all series this is about doubles and duplicates, and not just that. From the opening shot it becomes clear we’re watching something that isn’t just not in chronological order, as this scene could easily slot into any of the final two episodes.

The series has always played with dopplegangers and played scenes that could be from any time in the character’s lives.

However the opening scene of season three sets out the road map. Whether one can interpret it to give us a clear road map is a matter of some debate, but the story of the finale shows Cooper saving Laura Palmer ensuring she’s never murdered and everything that comes after that event changes.

But ‘Judy’ is still around even though BOB is destroyed so Cooper’s job isn’t over so he and Diane travel to another world where they become Richard and Linda. Cooper changes to become a strange hybrid of himself, Dark Coop and Dougie Jones even though he’s still doing his mission which is to find Laura, something he eventually does except she’s not Laura, she’s ‘Carrie Page’, but even in this reality she’s corrupted (Laura was created in Episode 8 to be the opposite of BOB) by violence but she’s still alive.

By the time we get to the final shot it’s clear the evil of ‘Judy’ can never be escaped as ‘Carrie Page’ remembers who she is and what was done to her.

The reality Cooper and ‘Carrie’ are in could well be ours, or it could be a dream within a dream as alternate realities open up where Laura is brutally murdered, only to be saved by Cooper who is then thwarted by the ultimate evil, ‘Judy’ in an never ending cycle of evil defeating good as they move from one Earth through the frequencies forever. Cooper can never win. Laura will always die. Evil will always win but good (in the shape of Cooper) will always fight it.  The End.

Of course this is one theory and anyone with half a brain can work out a way for this to carry into a season 4, but if Lynch and Frost want to end on a grim, scary but oddly positive note (good will never give up fighting) then this is it. If they want to carry on there’s enough for them to come back and carry on telling their story, but part of me would like it to end now with the mysteries (and there’s enough to fill dozens of blogs) continued. Twin Peaks season 3 is a unique piece of television that challenged the very act of watching television and as such making more of it challenges the point of it so I’d like it to end with all these loose threads dangling forever.

Avoiding Twin Peaks spoilers…

The return of Twin Peaks has been a disturbing joy and the last two episodes are broadcast tonight in the US, which means a day tomorrow of avoiding spoilers before being able to sit down in the evening and soak in two hours of whatever David Lynch has in store for us. It can’t however beat this moment from Episode 16 can it?

Or realising that he’d turned David Bowie’s character into someone/thing floating in a tin can.

Then there’s Episode 8 which is the single greatest bit of telly in the 21st century.

Or the music which has been superb.

And how Lynch and writing partner Mark Frost have strung together the original series, the film, Fire Walk With Me, and strung them all together  for an 18 hour film that may, or may not, come to a satisfying end, assuming of course it does end. There’s no guarantee it will end or even whether it’ll come back if it doesn’t.

But whatever, this has been extraordinary telly at a time when that phrase is overused. What Lynch has done is challenge the viewer to actually watch what’s going on and if they don’t get it, I don’t think he gives a single fuck and in an age where the audience is spoon fed answers, and people demand art is exactly as they want Twin Peaks has been a fantastic surprise.

Now there’s only two hours of it left and I’m now going to avoid spoilers by avoiding the internet til tomorrow night when I’ll have the chance to finish off something unexpected and glorious…

Silence is golden.