Saturday, September 28, 2013

Toby Young, Wikipedia and the 583 entry edits!

Toby Young
One of the tiresome chores of life is maintaining the polish on one's public profile. Don't I know it, poppets! If anyone doubts this, check out Toby Young's impressively anal attention to detail in his Wikipedia entry. Since January 2012 to the present (alone), he has made about 60 corrections, amendments and emendations. 

Some are perfectly understandable. On 28 August 2013, for instance, he added an apostrophe to Earl's Court. And on 27 April 2012, he deleted the word "stint" to avoid repetition. I like this. Editing is a much neglected art. Other edits suggest a dynamic growth in minor celebrity selfie-dom. On 2 August of this year he writes: "I deleted the ref to my father cos it implies I was the beneficiary of nepotism which I wasn't. The admissions tutor later told me that Brasenose were legally obliged to honour the mistaken offer. Nowt to do with my dad."

My favourite, of 25 March 2013, reads: "I deleted the last line as it was clearly inserted by a political enemy. I write six or seven pieces a week. Why single this one out?"

One or two may be of interest to any future biographer of this titan of bloggers, commentators and things called free schools: "I corrected 'brief time at Cambridge' to 'two years at Cambridge' and deleted 'early stages' since, in fact, I abandoned my doctorate after two years."

The entries go back quite some way. 14 July 2009 offers a glimpse of a fast-changing journalistic life: "I've updated a few career details. I no longer write a column for the Standard and now write a restaurant column for the Independent on Sunday. How do I change the summary at the top?" In November 2009, he excelled himself with 19 revisions.

Not all the interventions are Toby's by any means. But here are some fascinating stats:

Total number of revisions: 583 (since 2004)

Average number of edits per year: 64.11

Number of edits in last year: 98

Number of users: 215 (!)

This last figure is testament to Toby's interest value to embryonic biographers - some among these "users" will have probably inserted a few of the "facts" he has had to correct. However the top user is... Toby Young! He has made 194 edits since 2007. The average time between his edits is: 1 week, 5 days, 4 hours, 44 minutes, 32 seconds.

Frankly, I'm impressed. How does this delightful Libran find the time?

Toby's Wikipedia entry, click here. Stats obtained via the "view history" link

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Roger Lewis: 'What do you think of my son Oscar's movie?'

I love this highly original, dreamy short film by Oscar Lewis - son of Seasonal Suicide Notes author and Daily Mail book reviewer Roger Lewis. Titled "John and Iris", it brings to life, in animated line drawings, the reminiscences of his grandparents (John and Iris Dickens) on 65-plus years together. Roger tells me: "Oscar has been working as Tom Hollander's production assistant on a film about Dylan Thomas, A Poet in New York, which is being shot on location in Cardiff. Now one of the reasons why I left South Wales for good as a youngster is that it wasn't in any shape or form Manhattan."

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Cops seize Putin/Obama cock painting ahead of G20 summit

Vera Donskaya-Khilko's Wrestling
Russia's descent into homophobic fantasy finds many different forms, the latest being the police seizure of this painting from an erotic museum in St Petersburg. Artist Vera Donskaya-Khilko's Wrestling depicts Putin and Obama engaged in a manly preening battle of exaggerated phalli - actually, just about everything in the work boasts an oversized cock or is an oversized cock. According to The Art Newspaper (click link for full story), the police raid occurred ahead of the recent G20 summit - which sounds a good excuse to remove from sight anything that does not meet with the approval of the ludicrous muscle Mary presently running Russia.

On the other hand, Blogger, run by Google, does not like depictions of cock either. So, choose your favourite censor.

Duncan Fallowell and his Platinum Peepshow movie

Which reminds me, I must make some videos to promote moi. Meanwhile, Libran Arcatiste Duncan Fallowell (or Lad F, as I may start to call him) has posted this self-advertisement on YouTube for his upcoming Platinum Peepshow - described in his Wikipedia entry as "a second collection of profiles and commentaries...on the subject of art, fashion and entertainment."

The Peepshow vid washes the brain with images galore pertinent to Lad F's slebby career encounters and cultural interests. Gilbert & George, Lulu (I think), Bowie, royalty, bloody-nosed Jay Kay and all sorts of other whatsname detrital meme resonances. Warhol would have loved it - especially the monotonous electronic drum beat.

I really do think it's time BBC4 commissioned a special fly-on-the-wall portrait of Duncan - of two hours duration at least! It would have to involve some sort of journey - Brecqhou perhaps or a return to Gozo (actually, Venice would be perfection - a major assault on brochure dreams by a jealous lover, Lad F himself). In his youthful dotage, DF finally has proper, grown-up recognition (having won the prestigious, literary PEN/Ackerley Prize last year for How to Disappear: A Memoir for Misfits - now out in paperback, Kindle and other formats) and his worldly drawl would snap up new fans in an instant. 

Anyway, watch the video - it's just a minute or two long.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

PayPal - still stuck in the Diamond Jubilee

Paypal invites me to learn about attracting more customers from Europe - the link takes me to an article which begins, bang on the moment: "2012 is a huge year for the UK with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place over the next few months. Both events are expected to bring millions of visitors to the UK, along with billions more TV viewers." 

How could I have missed it all?

Monday, September 02, 2013

Will US strike Syria? I look at the astrology

A number of you have emailed me about the astrology of the US/Syria situation. Will the US attack? Astrology is not about inevitabilities but trends and likelihoods. So here’s my analysis in plain English – with footnotes for fellow astrologers.

In the week of September 9, the US Congress will be asked to back President Obama’s proposed military action against Syria. I have chosen September 9th for this forecast because this marks the first day of the US government’s debate. I looked at three natal-transits charts: Syria’s, the US’s and Obama’s. All three charts suggest a likelihood of US military action against Syria.

Syria (1 January 1944, midnight, Damascus)
On the 9th, violent and disruptive energies are present.[1] Actions decided on between September 9 and 11[2] will have the quality of violence with a transformative effect – whether this happens days or weeks or months later. The action is aimed squarely at the governing power[3]. At the same time, there is a major indication that power is exerted over the governing authority in some shape or form – and this indicator remains valid to October 29[4]: it therefore may be the case that Syria is subjected to external attack by a foreign state – this is one of a number of possible scenarios. The Syrian government is nonetheless confident, even smug – this could be because of perceived successes or misjudgement – or a miscalculation.[5]

US (4 July 1776, 5:10 pm, Philadelphia)
On and around the 9th, the US chart reflects an instinct to act on high principle[6]. There’s a sense of ‘social duty’ and of public/media debate involving government.[7] And there’s a high likelihood of a decision to take military action.[8] The focus of this action is another country (or ‘abroad’).[9] From September 16, the risk of military action increases.[10] However the legality or constitutional justification appears confused.[11] If the congressional debate is not finalised before September 13 (Friday), there’s a chance the US will decide against war.[12] So, Obama is less likely to win support the later in the week a congressional decision is made.

Obama (4 August 1961, 7:24 pm, Honolulu)
On or around the 9th, Obama is under tremendous strain and possible criticism. Actions can be thwarted or questioned – some sort of deception cannot be ruled out.[13] But by the next week, the 16th onwards, Obama appears to be in much more energised form – the planets support a war-like identity in this time.[14] The weekend of September 14-15 also could be crucial for decisions related to military action.[15]

For Obama the challenge is to make real a principle or ‘dream’.[16] At worst, there is likely to be confusion between fact and fantasy and the challenge to make clear what is murky or concealed. At best, law and clarity can be applied to an area of chaos – the area identified as foreign by house position.[17] However, the triggering of a chaotic indicator in the chart is an unfortunate development, suggesting a debilitating period ahead for Obama, especially if he’s acting on misinformation or against government wishes.[18]

What can't be ruled out is that Obama launches a military strike against Syria without Congress' approval.

[1] Tr Mars conjunct natal Pluto in Leo in 10th
[2] Above conjunction in orb
[3] 10th house
[4] Tr Pluto conjunct natal Sun in Capricorn in 3rd
[5] Tr Jupiter conjunct natal MC in 10th
[6] Tr Mars in Leo on natal True Node in Leo
[7] Tr Mercury conjunct Midheaven
[8] Tr Mars sextile natal Uranus
[9] Natal Uranus on descendant
[10] Tr Mars ingresses 9th house (Equal House)
[11] Tr Saturn inconjunct natal Uranus
[12] Tr Sun conjunct Neptune in 10th (Sept 14-16)
[13] Tr Mars square natal Neptune
[14] Tr Mars conjunct Sun
[15] Tr Sun conjunct natal Mars
[16] Tr Saturn conjunct Neptune in 9th
[17] 9th
[18] Natal Neptune in 9th

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Liz Jones 'airbrushed' out of Marie Claire's history: tsk

Liz Jones
Now that Liz Jones is my fiancee - this may be news to her, but that's none of her business - I have to communicate my distress over Marie Claire's treatment of its former editor. Today, in the Mail on Sunday, she tells her followers that the magazine has 'airbrushed' her 'into oblivion... Stalin fashion'. Its UK quarter-century birthday issue fails to make any mention of her in a piece about its 'powerhouse' past editors, starting with Glenda Bailey, who once helped raise sales with a supplement featuring hundreds of disembodied penises. 

Liz writes:
'Makes you wonder what other hard facts of life have been erased in this strange celebration of the magazine’s championing of ‘real women’... I despair that the current incumbent as editor, Trish Halpin, didn’t have the balls to explain her decision to airbrush her magazine’s history. Can we ever believe a word she says again.' 
Apparently, Liz had been booked to do an interview for the celebratory piece. But then she blew it with the serialisation of her memoir in the Mail which made claims of Marie Claire's less than admirable commitment to staffers who take maternity leave, among other things. On the day the serialisation appeared, Liz received an email from the magazine: the editor and art 'director' had 'rethought' the feature and wouldn't be going ahead - but any travel expenses would be reimbursed.

This is no way to treat a high profile former editor who was always going to amplify a slight via the good offices of Britain's leading Middle England newspaper. What was Trish thinking? Trish, I see, is on Twitter but has yet to tweet anything to her 1500+ followers. I really don't see the point of tweetless Twitter accounts. Do you? Such silence is the media equivalent of celibacy and should not be encouraged. Look what celibacy turned Catholic priests into.

I know from bitter experience that glossy magazines find it hard to cope with contention. But a magazine that can deify cock should surely be able to embrace Liz.