David Thompson
Blog powered by Typepad

« Keep Calm and Carry On | Main | Friday Ephemera »

September 03, 2014



“My art is about what capitalism does to your heart, and the inner child in you.”

Rob Montgomery's inner child thinks the taxpayer is his mum and dad.


Rob Montgomery’s inner child thinks the taxpayer is his mum and dad.

Well, yes. There is a certain… arrestedness. A comical vanity. But this is someone who, like many of his peers, has chosen a degree of marginal economic value and is consequently kept in comfort in large part by taxpayers, who are billed coercively, regardless of whether or not those taxpayers find his artistic efforts of value. And yet he imagines himself as being against “economic injustice.” When not ‘occupying’ something or other or vandalising other people’s property, Mr Montgomery describes himself as a “poetic and melancholic post-Situationist.”

Just the kind of person we should be heeding, obviously.

Dr Cromarty

Montgomery describes himself as a “poetic and melancholic post-Situationist

Translation: pretentious and gloomy attention-seeker.


It’s strange how the role of artist has shifted from demonstrating what can be done with pigments and form, etc., to a kind of moral or political educator, a leader unto the light. As the “activist and artist” John Jordan put it, “showing us how to live.” And how we’re supposed to live just happens to entail lots of lovely subsidy for artists whose talents are difficult to detect. Sentiments echoed by, among others, the ludicrous Laurie Penny.

The presumption is extraordinary.

Dr Cromarty

Yet when we, the taxpayer show them how to live( "Stop mooching", "Get a fucking job" or "Large cappuccino, full fat milk") somehow we're the bad guys.


Yet when we, the taxpayer, show them how to live (“Stop mooching”, “Get a fucking job” or “Large cappuccino, full fat milk”) somehow we’re the bad guys.

Well, we mustn’t forget the writer Hanif Kureishi and the Guardian’s theatre critic Michael Billington, both of whom want us to believe that artistic “dissent” is being “suppressed” by suggestions that artists might actually consider earning a living. And there are those, like playwright Jonathan Holmes, who decry any cut to arts subsidy as “censorship” and an attack on democracy. They, you see, are the Glorious Ones, the ones who – and I quote – “speak truth to power.”


Montgomery describes himself as a 'wanker'.

As Orwell said, why use a long word (or many) when a short word will do?


Your 'Captcha' system should be on the 'Craptcha' web site. It displays a near impossible one to read, and when you click the 'see an easier one' option it displays...a blank white area. Most amusing.


But its infernal difficulty keeps the riff-raff out.

Well, mostly.


Having said that, it’s now showing me three- or four-digit numbers that are actually legible. Something is terribly wrong.

Nicola Timmerman

Captcha must be done by doctors with illegible handwriting or some of those untalented artists.


Speaking from on high in his sprawling pile in the Welsh countryside, Monbiot is now encouraging Scotland to vote itself into socialist penury, because cohesion, social justice, the defence of the living planet and an end to wars of choice.



because cohesion, social justice, the defence of the living planet and an end to wars of choice.

Oh dear. Given his belief that “wealth causes misery,” I wonder if he means “cohesion” through widened destitution. That being much more fair, in George’s eyes at least.

I quite like Tim’s comment,

With respect to inequality, if Scotland leaves the UK then inequality in both Scotland and UK will fall. Not that actual inequality will change one iota, you understand, but currently we measure Scottish inequality as against the UK. As we measure UK inequality including Scotland. And if a poorer area (which Scotland is) leaves such a system of measurement then inequality will fall in both parts of it.

And given that poor George regards this rainy island as so unjust and morally corrupting, I’m sure he’ll soon be moving somewhere far away, where his wisdom will be more appreciated. Perhaps to one of those Ethiopian shanty towns where, he tells us, the fields “crackle with laughter” and the peasants “smile more often” than we do. Because they’re not being “isolated” by materialistic trappings, like dentistry, double glazing and TV remote controls.


On a practical level, the Artists' Assembly will challenge the government's austerity agenda through online activism, marches and art.

Oh no, they're using art. Head for the hills!


Oh no, they’re using art. Head for the hills!

Yes, people who can’t make a living as artists, due to their inability to create things of discernible value, are threatening to make more art that no bugger wants. It’s a terrifying thought.


Meanwhile, BenSix ponders the New Scolds of “progressive” politics. Among them, Ewan Morrison, who, writing in the Guardian, laments the “Harry Potter cult that [has] been filling children’s heads with right-wing dreams of public schools and supernatural powers.”


In my experience, Captcha on this blog oscillates between trivially easy to read and impossible. Shrug, click again, no big deal.


Progressives love to grab hold of a single word or phrase and exploit it for all it's worth: Diversity, sustainability, rape culture, austerity, greed, equality, and so on.

The purpose of these words is to prevent thought. If you can claim that some policy is for diversity, sustainability, and equality, and against rape culture, austerity, and greed, then good progressives need not know more. The proper magical incantations have been chanted, and support is guaranteed.

But if you asked them what these words meant, you would get an earful of meaningless mush.


Harry Potter cult that [has] been filling children’s heads with right-wing dreams of public schools and supernatural powers

Yes, I remember the days when the younger members of my family went through the Harry Potter craze, and to be fair, it did mess them up pretty badly.

"Uncle DH, Uncle DH, they would cry..We don't want any computer games or chocolate for Christmas, just put the money in a trust fund to pay for us to attend an elitist public school.

I of course caved in, but a few years later, one of my young nephews had a meltdown and started crying on his birthday when he opened his gifts. But what's wrong? Don't you like your new football boots, I asked.

Slamming his fists down into his birthday cake, which his mother had lovingly iced the Eton coat of arms onto, he spat out the words I didn't want football boots. I wanted RIGHT WING SUPERNATURAL POWERS.

It's amazing how a simple children's book can so badly arrest the progress of socialism.



[ Fingers amulet, smiles wickedly. ]


Most 'artists' I have met in my life, and I have met quire a few having been a professional musician for many years ... Are self-centered, lazy twits. All are communists, even the ones who do not realize it.

sackcloth and ashes

'One of the protesting artists, the Occupier and “urban poet” Rob Montgomery'.

'Protesting artist' = unemployable scrounger.


Something tells me that parading, among others, a pompous wannabe Marxist revolutionary and a “poetic and melancholic post-Situationist” won’t be the most effective anti-cuts strategy. Nor will it be helped much by the dismal quality of taxpayer-funded art, or the Arts Council’s casual burning of public money, or the number of talentless leeches attached to that milky teat. By drawing attention to themselves as subsidised artists they’re basically underlining the opposing argument.

Lancastrian Oik

Speaking of being "billed coercively"- here we have Stewart Lee on the moral culpability of Gary Barlow, as compared to that of the late G.G. Allin.

I should warn other readers, who may be of a more sensitive disposition than I, that following just about any link which mentions G.G. Allin is likely to leave one feeling rather soiled; I watched the whole of "Hated", the hour-long rock-documentary on G.G. Allin and the Murder Junkies and afterwards felt like I needed to scrub myself with disinfectant. For that reason, I haven't included any links in this post. They're out there, but follow them at your peril, because his was a dark, dark place.

As with so many of the soi-disant "transgressive" performance artists who have featured on David's blog, "rock 'n roller" Allin ticked all the boxes- self-harm, nudity and faeces: "There is of course a long and tedious tradition of self-harm in performance art…". Well, Allin performed naked, did the self-harming and the defecating and took it to another level when he smeared himself with excrement whilst bleeding from various wounds. It is hardly surprising that he was often hospitalised with blood poisoning; it would not be unusual to find that he had contracted hepatitis B or C, since he was clearly a heavy drug user. Attacking audience members whilst so contaminated just ramped up the transgression in the eyes of the vacuous and jaded who sang Allin's praises in the documentary. Allin's music? Tedious sub-Stooges thrash with titles such as "Bite It You Scum", "Suck My Ass It Smells", "No Room For Nigger" and "Sister Sodomy- Death and Defecation". Allin was obsessed with the serial killer John Wayne Gacy, visiting him in prison, and served a prison sentence for a serious sexual assault. Social satire? Showing the bourgeoisie of America where to get off? No- it looks to me like Allin meant every word and action, and given the way his Hitler-moustache-wearing brother Merle reacts when pressed as to Allin's true intentions, he thought so too.

Gary Barlow- I don't need to explain who he is, do I? Or why Guardianistas revile him?

I'm pretty sure that Lee is being satirical: in his second paragraph he refers to"(T)he furious bile of punk rock'n rollers The Jags…" The Jags were simply a bunch of half-arsed Elvis Costello impersonators.

Later we get: "But compared with Barlow's tax avoidance, Allin's actions seem simple, uncontrived, honest – noble, even" and "Allin aimed to be the ultimate rock'n'roll degenerate, but as an icon of filth, Barlow has surpassed him". He can't be serious, surely.

Needless to say, serious or not, more than a few of the CIFers opted for Gary Barlow as the hate figure here. In the moral hierarchy of certain Guardianistas, being a diseased and insane thug is better than being a tax-avoiding MOR pop singer.


Thanks for the Monbiot link, DH, which set me thinking that the appearance of so many Guardian columnists is rather revealing. Consider Monbiot's angry look.

Or Zoe Williams' aggressive stare here:

Or the fanatical gleam in the eyes of Seamus Milne:

Or the dessicated bitterness in the face of Catherine Bennett:

Now, compare these visages and their expressions with those of commentators in The Times or Telegraph. Danny Finkelstein, Matthew Parris, Peter Oborne et al do on the whole look more at ease with themselves. Or am I deluding myself?

Charlie Suet

Stewart Lee often makes use of the comedian's get-out clause, which runs like this:

"If you agreed with my arguments, then they were intended to be taken seriously while making you smile. castigo ridendo mores."

"If you disagreed with my arguments and want to pick them apart, you are an idiot who hasn't got the joke".

Skipping this I note that Lee, unimaginative as ever in everything except his comedy, exhausts the clichés of left-wing dogma. Reducing your tax burden is always bad, even if you were taking part in a scheme that at least purported to support the arts.

Then there's the fallacy of composition involved in pretending that all tax revenue is spent on schools, hospitals, refuge centres etc. The day that Lee objects to billions wasted on IT projects, quangos and perks for MPs (all of which necessarily diminishes available resources for the stuff most people do want) will be the day I credit him with any intellectual or moral consistency.

Adam d

Why do we even measure "inequality"? Just give it it's proper name, "envy" and move on to the gender gap or the treasures of unassimilated minorities.

Lancastrian Oik

@ Charlie Suet-

Yes, but I'm still not sure what Lee was up to here, unless he was playing both ends against the middle.

The Jags

"Furious punk bile"? No.

I think he might have been looking for material, and being cynical in the process- and I have to say that I like cynicism in comedy. Unless it's coming from Mark Steele, of course.


"It is a question of the honest use of words"

Bingo. This is also true of "misogyny", "hatred", "progressive" and "equality" - misused so regularly by the Guardian it seems like editorial policy to do so




Or Zoe Williams' aggressive stare here

In the graun online commentisFree section's front page, there's usually a set of 4 of these mugshots (there is no other word) on the right, and on a good day you'll get Charlie Brooker, Barbara Ellen, and 2 others variously snarling & smirking - for all the world like gargoyles - out of the page at you.

They all seem to be saying "if you don't hold our opinions, you're stupid"


Never forget Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is crap.



I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Some of the lines in this one are utter drivel and yet completely accurate to this day.


"for all the world like gargoyles"


The comments to this entry are closed.

For Amazon US use this link .

Your filthy consumerism supports this blog.