The End.

Not quite how I'd chose to spend the last two days of the year - vomiting, diareaha, and feeling too weak to stand up. I suppose I could think of it as the purging of an old life to make way for the new.

Anyway, happy new year and all that, and here's to new experiences and new starts.

Give a Little Love

“There are very honest people who do not think that they have had a bargain unless they have cheated a merchant”
- Anatole France

Christmas messages sent to my mobile:

* A very Merry Christmas and a smashing New year!

* Happy Christmas everyone from Bangladesh.

* Happy Christmas Buddy.

* Merry Christmas!

* I would like to fuck your mouth and give you a good rimming.

Under the heading of "Why didn't I think of that?", it turns out there's an easy way for me to be an english teacher without leaving the country. Or indeed teaching any english.

It seems anyone has the legal right to stay in the UK if they're a student for at least three hours a day, officially enrolled at a school. All the school has to do is rent some space, employ someone as "teacher", charge the "students" a nominal fee for enrollment, and keep fake records of attendance.

The school turns a profit, the immigrants are free to stay and work (and incidentally pick up some english), their employers get rich off them, and the state turns a blind eye because they need cheap labour.

Oh, and the immigrants are forced to keep a low profile, because at any time they could be "discovered" and repatriated to an even worse country.

Maybe that's why there are five language schools around here, but only two of them seem to have students.

Still, at least I know the school in Moscow is kosher. It's too badly organised to be suspect.

Six teachers fly out in January...but the school doesn't get its licence till April. In the interim there will be setting up of classrooms, library and (sigh) computer room - and training courses. Some of which the company runs in Turkey, or places dotted around Europe, but not in Russia.

I'm quite happy to get flown around for extra training, or hump tables up and down stairs, for the same wages and benefits as a qualified teacher. I generally like being in at the start of things - it means the operation has a chance of being designed from the ground up by people with brains and experience, instead of management consultants with neither.

A few more seasonal text messages:

* Hope you're having a lovely holiday season.

* How's your crimbo going mate? Overindulgence and festive fun I trust.

* Do you spit or swallow? I would love to fill your mouth with cum right after I've given you a good knobbing.

I should probably point out that I have no idea who sent the final message. Or several like it.

Kapitano at Kristmas

“Christmas is the Disneyfication of Christianity”
- Don Cupitt

"Christmas is forced upon a reluctant and disgusted nation by the shopkeepers and the press; on its own merits it would wither and shrivel in the fiery breath of universal hatred."
- George Bernard Shaw

"Christmas is the one time of year when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ."
- Bart Simpson

Tis the season to be slobby
Tra la la la laa, la la la la
Take a break from drunken nobbing
Tra la la la laa, la la la la

Gorge the goose and stuff the turkey
Do do do do doo, do do do do
Sit for hours, feel ill and burpy
Do do do do doo, do do do do

Give crap presents then feel guilty
Me me me me mee, me me me me
Drink and drive to Casualty
Me me me me mee, me me me meeeee....

Ah, christmas.

Office parties where you spend all evening with the same people you see all day, but pretend to like them. TV film channels showing wall to wall Jimmy Stewart and Julie Andrews. Scoffing chocolates till you're nauseous.

Seasonal music that absolutely no one in the universe likes, piped out from supermarkets manned by pissed off staff in santa hats. Having to tolerate members of distant family who say "Oh haven't you grown!" and "Have you got a girlfriend yet?". Morons who think the words "Bah humbug" are an immensely witty rebuttal.

Tuneless kids knocking on your door and singing half a verse of something devotional, expecting to be paid for it. Moralisers who wag their fingers at commercialisation and think they're getting in god's good books by giving a plastic cup of soup to a homeless man once a year. Spending money you don't have buying things no one wants for people you don't like.

Plus, having a stinking cold through the whole thing.

Last christmas I decided I wanted to (a) write murder mysteries (b) leave the country and (c) stop being bankrupt. I've still got a detailed outline for "The Christmas Murders".

The year before that was a red christmas - spent getting splendidly drunk with comrades. The year before that, I was fixing up computers. Before that I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing songs, and avoiding the emotional entanglements that gave me stuff to write about. Before that I joined a gym and became briefly slim and desirable.

Ten years ago I was finally out of debt. One year earlier I was getting into nightly punchups with my alcoholic boyfriend. Another year earlier I was hoping he'd give up the drink. And another...I was moving in with someone who loved me.

Twenty years ago I spent christmas with my grandmother, who fed me enormous amounts of red jelly and ice cream, and wouldn't let me read books about anthropology. Twenty five years ago...I was frantic with excitement and couldn't wait to open my presents.

Oh well. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, enjoy your festival of Saturn, have a nice holiday season...and don't eat too many chocolates.

Siberia, the Place to Be

"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."
- Ed Furgol

I'm cold, ill and depressed - and I'm going to Moscow in a few weeks. Which is unlikely to change things. The famous Russian weather and equally famous Russian soul.

The Polish school couldn't offer much in the way of perks, the Bulgarian school isn't actually finished yet, and the other Moscow school has a five page contract consisting mostly of threats. The Czech school is impossibly slow to communicate, the Hungarian school want someone better qualified, and the other Czech school refuse to give any information.

On the plus side, My near future employers arrange visa, accommodation, insurance etc, and pay well. On the minus side, it's in a paranoid, freezing city and the school's dull and corporate. On the plus side it's useful experience, it'll look good on my CV and I'm finally getting to see the world. On the minus side...well, paranoid, freezing and corporate.

Yesterday, a woman in a white coat stood over me, sticking needles into my flesh. Yes, inoculations - against measles, rubella, tuberculosis, two kind of hepatitis and polio. With rabies to come.

After that, window installation. No, not the operating system - an actual window. With hammers, chisels, nails, pliers and putty. And some glass. Lots easing into position, pushing into crevices, smoothing gently with hands, leverage, and banging.

On the front page of the local rag, a mother pleading for a police crackdown on marijuana. Why? Because she's convinced it made her son kill himself. Oh, and it also caused his schizophrenia.

What has this woman been smoking?

Years ago, my hobby was collecting language textbooks. I must have hundreds of them, stacked away in boxes - Croatian, Mandarin, Icelandic, even some Hopi. But they've come in useful because...there's five books on Russian there.

How many weddings have you been to where you just knew the marriage wouldn't last? Where it was just painfully obvious that the groom had been pressured into it, or the bride was trying to persuade herself she was it was what she wanted, or the two of them were just hoping they'd regain their fading love over the honeymoon.

After the dull bit in church, after the eating of bad catered food and the disco (and the punch up, if you go to that kind of wedding), you maybe compared predictions with a close friend in a quiet corner. You give the happy couple eighteen months, possibly a year; Your friend says a year at the outside. You nod sagely to yourselves and drink some more cheap red wine.

Of course, you might be wrong. I've known couples who were perfectly suited but barely lasted six months. Actually I've been one half of several couples that were amazingly well matched - but only by moonlight. And more importantly there's been some odd couples who grew old happily together.

Well, now there's an online version of that conversation in the corner. Wedding Betting dot com. Is it a bit of hard-bitten cynical fun, one more indicator of a sick and dying civilisation, a hoax...or all three?

While you're pondering, add Rate My Cock and Marry Our Daughter (which is a hoax) to the list.

Moss Cow

"Moskau, fremd und geheimnisvoll"
("Moscow, foreign and mysterious")
- "Moskau" by Dschinghis Khan

"Diese Stadt ist eine Dirne"
(="This city is a prostitute")
- "Moskau" by Rammstein

I have a fairly simple philosophy of life. It consists of things like:

* In an argument, both sides are probably wrong.

* Respecting someone is not the same as liking them.

* The conventional wisdom is long disproven. So are the alternatives - except one.

* People are mostly silly, but not bad - except when they're organised in their sillyness.

* Competition produces improvement only when cheating is impossible. Cheating is always possible.

* There's no point in talking to someone who won't listen.

* If something needs doing, and you know roughly how, and no one else seems inclined, do it.

* If there's no good and clear reason to do something, don't do it.

All quite uncontroversial, yes?

Well, no. As regards the last one, I've had to deal with some bureaucracy lately, and it's been conspicuously absent. Instead, I've found some alternative maxims:

* If it's a stupid idea, but it's in the rulebook, do it. But exonerate yourself by saying you know it's stupid. Because that makes it all right.

* If your situation doesn't fit into a neat box, you're being deliberately awkward just to annoy me. And you probably eat babies too.

* Every other department in this organisation follows procedure because they're too dumb not to. We follow procedure because we couldn't work with the others if we didn't.

So yes. I am now officially restarting again on a government scheme on January 7th. I've done the course before and it gave me a miniature nervous breakdown with two months convalescence.

Immediately after which they tried to get me to restart the course - but I disappeared and got myself got trained as a teacher instead.

Now, I've also been offered a teaching job in Moscow, and if I accept it I'll be leaving...guess when? Go on, I bet you can't guess the date.

And yes, I did tell them. It didn't stop them filling out for forms for an hour.

I could go to Moscow, or the opportunity's still open in Bulgaria...and there's two more interviews tomorrow.

It's nice to be in demand.

I just may end up as the only socialist in Moscow.

Nose Poison

“Living is abnormal.”
“The universe seems to me infinitely strange and foreign."
“Banality is a symptom of non-communication. Men hide behind their cliches.”
- Eugene Ionesco

I think "Rhinovirus" would be a great name for a techno band. The conjunction of the charging horned pachyderm of "Rhino" with the Latin word for "poison" with it's connections to computer technology, sabotage and chaos. Even though all it means is a cold in the nose.

Anyway, I've got one. No not a pachyderm, or a technoband - a headcold. Rhinoviruses (rhinovires? rhinovirii?) are indeed caused by viruses, not cold weather. My next-door neighbour - who happens to be a GP - tells me it's much more common to get colds when it's hot, so it should be called a "hot" instead of a "cold".

But having cold air in your nasal passages makes the symptoms (not the infection) worse.

So yes, I've got a hot.

How do people find me? I don't mean "what do they think of me?". I mean "By what mechanism do people locate me?". Answer: by these search terms.

poisoned toothbrush

sleeping on the phone

London Bomb Scare Oxford Circus December 4 2007

octave voice changer sing -karaoke, -spy

vinyl shop´s deutchland


beethoven mum and dad


"Joy Bang" actress

what rhymes with bugger

respect split

word rhyming with ignored

rhyme with pan

global variable in drool

"stop the cavalry" blogspot

Grey pride

Shit Blast out

repair tascam 4-track cassette

the world i want by kingone

Meghalt a szeretet

"henry VIII had two wives"

blogspot damon blows america

lemski noam

door +latch closed from outside mysterious death

pit and the pendulum gifs

"open channel d" +wav

what rhymes with relaxed

i'm just apoor boy

who invented the sandwich

professor Branestawm burglar catching machine

what rhymes with tedious

"humans have four nostrils"

shit blast

blow-up tommy gun

proteus cabinet illusion

But better than all that - someone had a compelling urge to have me computer translated into french. Mon dieu!

And as an extra added supplemental bonus:

kapitano - saw

El KaPiTaNo GuErNo is nineteen, German, and makes instrumental music for rappers to rap over. With the singer on YouTube, that makes three musicians called Kapitano on the net. And both the others make more music than I've been able to recently. Which isn't annoying at all - no not one bit.

Lingvo estas Viruso

“The ideal place for me is the one in which it is most natural to live as a foreigner.”
- Italo Calvino

The good news: A school in Indonesia have offered me a job.

The bad news: I didn't contact them - they contacted me. And they don't want an interview - they just saw my online CV and offered me the job with no questions asked. And their "contract" is a mindmangling sludge of pseudo-legalese.

So far as I can tell from the website, it is a real school, just one that's at the bottom of the pile.

Nevermind - I've got telephone interviews on Saturday (with an endearingly shambolic operation in Bulgaria) and Monday (with a hyperefficient outfit in Moscow).

There are two concepts the British civil service can't cope with. That people are different from each other, and that people change.

Faced with someone who teaches English and won't be around in a month, they've decided their only option is to put him on a training course. For three months. To teach him how to look for jobs. In engineering.

I'm much too busy to go along with their silly schemes.

Today's fascinating fact: The unit of currency in Korea is the "Won", with an exchange rate of roughly 930 won to the American dollar, or 1880 to the British pound.

If I worked there, I'd get about GBP1000 (USD2000) per year. Or two million won. I wonder how many suitcases you'd need for a year's wages?

Kapitano's current musical squeeze: Icehouse. The Cure with more synths, Duran Duran with mellower vocals, Alphaville with, erm, what Alphaville had.Yeah okay - it's more 80s synthpop with new-wavey post-punky new-romantiky guitars.

I knew someone at college whose musical soul was firmly in American stage songs from the 1920s and 30s. At a different college (I managed to go to three) there was a fellow from India who was very much into Cliff Richard and 70s soft rock. Another thought everything written for the past four hundred years was rubbish. Mine is only from three or four years before I switched on the radio.

Chiu tago estas Zamenhof-tago!

(Today is Zamenhof day!)

Mi nur eksciis acidente.

(I only found out by accident.)

Ludoviko Zamenhof estis la viro kiu komencis Esperanton. Li publikighis la "unua libro" en 1887, donata nekompleta gramatikon kaj malgrandan vokabularion, kiu estis malgrau suficha ke homoj povis komencu paroli.

(Ludovik Zamenhof was the man who intiated Esperanto. He published the "first book" in 1887, giving an incomplete grammar and a small vocabulary, which nevertheless was sufficient for people to begin speaking.)

La lingvo kreskis dum la unua duono da la dudeka jarcento, sed char politikaj kauzoj ghi kontrauighis per registaroj, kaj atakita per konservativistoj.

(The language grew during the first half of the twentieth century, but for political reasons was opposed by governments, and attacked by conservatives.)

Certe ghi ne estis la perfekta ponta lingvon - kio ajn tio vere signifas - sed estis (kaj restas) bona ideo, kaj ghi funkscias. Eble vi ne kredas min? Mi estas skribanta tiuj vortoj esperante, sekve tradukanta mi mem al la angla.

(Certainly it wasn't the perfect bridge language - whatever that may really mean - but it was (and is) a good idea, and it works. Perhaps you don't believe me? I am writing these words in Esperanto, then translating myself into English.)

Philip Glass Buys a Load of Cred

"There's something magical about a room full of strangers, sitting in the dark, eating."
- Laurie Anderson (on cinema)

Here's an impromptu competition. It's called "Spot the Bollocks". Just read the text below, and as soon as you find a sentence which is complete bollocks, shout "Bollocks!". The first one to shout gets a...chocolate bollock. Or something.

Ready? Here we go:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to apply for the post of English Language Teacher, as advertised with

I am a native speaker of British English, newly qualified with a Cambridge CELTA, plus an MA. I have an approachable manner and a love of learning new things.

My CV is enclosed in Word format. I can take up the post immediately. If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to ask.

Did you spot the Bollocks? Well done. I've just emailed it to twelve schools in Eastern Europe.

Oh, and got a response from a tiny school that wants a teacher but what they really want is a computer technician. Gah.

An easier quiz: what was Kapitano doing last night?

Answer: Getting drunk and shagging in the back yard.

Seeing as I was pissed out of my head, he was stoned out of his, and the air was cold enough to freeze the cliches off a brass monkey, there wasn't much hope of "completion". but I thought it was great fun and didn't want to stop.

Have you ever taken an encyclopedia, opened it at random, and started reading? I did that all the time at school and university - with the result that instead of the completely useless education those places tried to give me, I have a different completely useless education. I discovered Heidegger because he came alphabetically after Hegel.

Nowadays we have a giant worldwide machine for doing the same thing - the articles contradict each other just as much, and half are written by people who shouldn't write anything at all - but "surfing" isn't so different.

Keeping your music in mp3s on a few hundred badly catalogued discs works in the same way. You get to discover (or rediscover) stuff from years ago, just by sticking your hand into the box at random, and seeing what comes out.

Today, it's Philip Glass' "Quatsi" trilogy. And some Laurie Anderson. Erm, and some Prodigy remixes.

A school in the Czech Republic have got back to me. This is their supereffecient system for hiring teachers:

(1) Applicant sends CV by email
(2) School sends application form by email
(3) Applicant prints out form, and copies the CV they've already sent onto it by hand
(4) Applicant posts the form, plus a photocopy of their certificate, by snailmail to the school
(5) A week or so later, the school get it, and contact the referees by snailmail
(6) When the referees get back from Christmas holidays, they send a letter back
(7) A week or so later, the school gets the confirmations, and emails the applicant to arrange a telephone interview
(8) Applicant does the telephone interview
(9) School contacts the Czech embassy in London to arrange a travel visa
(10) Applicant travels to London to confirm that they want a visa
(11) Three weeks later, Applicant travels to London to collect the fucking visa

Unless, of course, the applicant finds a school which doesn't take two months to do what the others do in two weeks.

By the way, have you noticed how to job of designing questionnaires and application forms is given to those who have the design skills, but not to those who know what makes a good design?

It's like employing a chef who can operate the oven beautifully, but has no idea what ingredients go together.

Now I've got to wade through headings like "Education School + Major", "Subjects I have worked for" and "Internet Y/N?" - trying to work out what the hell it is they're asking.

Incidentally, these examples are from a school which prides itself on helping businessmen communicate effectively.

Cold Feet

"If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.
- George Porter

Ah, there's nothing quite like slipping into a freshly formatted computer, with a crisp, clean, unfragmented drive structure, and the unmistakable waft of a neat registry.

It almost seems a shame to mess things up by using it.

I am now eating, on average, one packet of dry cheese biscuits per day. Which is not quite what I had in mind. They're not especially appetising or moreish, they just...there. As in "there to be eaten".

Drat. There's always something I forget to back up. And that something tends to be notes on possible stories and songs. Like it was this time.


I spent most of Saturday riding in a coach up to a demo in London, trudging through rain, puddles and cold holding a soggy placard, and riding on the same coach back.

The demo was the (now annual) broad environmentalist protest called by the Campaign Ag inst Climate Change. There were about ten thousand of us - meriting a small sidebar mention on the evening news - trying to build a mass movement capable of, well, saving the world actually.

The route was a little strange, roughly from Hyde Park to Grosvenor Square - near the American embassy, which the anarchists decided to picket for some reason - where we stopped for a miniature rally and live musical interlude...before looping around to Hyde Park again for another rally. A plan presumably designed by committee.

A few things I noticed:

* 10K people - down from the last two years.

* Almost no chanting. A distinct lack of rhythmic or rhyming slogans from the marching crowd. In fact, the event was mostly silent.

* Most of the single issue campaigners didn't turn up this year - "save the seals", "save the fox", "ban nuclear power", "build wind turbines"...all these conspicuous by absence. There was a small showing for "end cheap flights" and "no to the expansion of Stansted airport".

* A token smattering of antiwar banners, and also of the small political sects I'm so fond of - including a damp squib showing from George Galloway's new "mass" party.

* It was nearly all white. The national UK average for "non-caucasian" population is reckoned to be 6-7%, and in London you'd never walk down the street without seeing afro-caribbean, asiatic and middle eastern faces. So who was marching for the planet? Middle class white folks, and no one else.

So, as you may guess, it wasn't the best demo I've ever been on. But maybe I'm a little biased, seeing as both my shoes had holes in them, and I've spent the last twelve hours with sopping socks and frozen feet.


It's that time again, when I have to backup my data, reinstall Windows, and spend a day putting all the software back on the laptop.

So, as has become tradition, here's a selection of pictures that I've stumbled across, uploaded for your pleasure before I consign them to oblivion.

My how things change over the years. For instance...the 70s:

...the 80s:

...and the 90s:


...and Reality:

Seeing things in new ways:

...while respecting to old ways:

Protecting the forests:

...and sealife:

...and endangered species:

...especially the cute ones:

Always be prepared to meet new people:

...and make friends, even if it's a bit awkward at first: patient with their faults:

...even if they're a bit creepy:

Crackers Don't Matter

"Great liars are also great magicians."
- Adolf Hitler

When I qualified as a teacher, I was told schools all over the world would be desperate to have me. And to an extent they are. But in the wrong way.

Some schools in the far east are so desperate for teachers, they're sending me unsolicited emails and even phoning me up. Of course, the reason they're so desperate is no one wants to work for them. And the reasons no one wants to work for them...

(1) The pay sucks
(2) The resources suck
(3) The contract sucks
(4) The hours suck
(5) The perks...aren't.

And that's why the majority (80% or more) of EFL teachers in Southeast Asia are backpackers with no teaching qualifications. And although regulations about qualifications in the EFL world are being tightened up worldwide, I don't imagine they'll be tightened much there. Not unless they want to close down most of the schools.

I'm a snacker. When I'm bored, or depressed, or too tired to think but too awake to sleep, my first instinct is the head for the kitchen. That, combined with a fondness for large conventional meals, is not good for my general health.

The thing is, the presence of something abundant and munchable seems to be more important than the actual flavour or experience of eating. So I'm trying an experiment.

If it doesn't really matter what I nibble, why don't I try having some packets of cheese crackers handy instead of biscuits and cake? And no cheese on them. Or anything else.

Well, aren't you supposed to have crackers at christmas?

There are seven kinds of move in slight-of-hand manipulation:

(1) Palm - to hold an object in your hand, shaped and positioned to make it look empty.
(2) Ditch - to dispose of or store an object, disguising the action as a natural but functionless gesture, or as a different gesture.
(3) Steal - to retrieve an object from its hiding place, likewise disguised.
(4) Load - to move an object from one place to another, similarly disguised.
(5) Simulation - to pretend to perform an action, while actually not.
(6) Misdirection - any action which distracts attention away from another.
(7) Switch - to transpose two objects.

Any given trick will probably use more than one of these simultaneously. For instance, in a "vanish take" the magician appears to take a small object from between the thumb and forefinger of one hand with the other hand, which is then shown to be empty. This involves pretending to grab the object (simulation), while dropping the object from the fingers into the hand (load) and concealing that it's there (palm).

Yes, I'm reading about magic. There's a number of professions that involve deception as an integral part of themselves - politician, prostitute, police officer, door-to-door seller - but magicians are probably the only people who have to lie openly to do their job.

However, there's also those magicians who do pretty much the same tricks, but claim they're doing it for real, with supernatural assistance. Victorian spiritualist mediums, witchdoctors and shamans in Africa and India, Edgar Cayce, Sylvia Browne and Helena Blavatski.

To my knowledge, Uri Geller is unique in having been both kinds of magician - he made the transition from stage magician ("honest liar") to huckster thirty five years ago, and maybe his career hangs on people not knowing that. I think there's a good reason why debunkers of these people are often stage magicians - Harry Houdini, James Randi, Penn and Teller.

Anyway, my current reading matter is "The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading" by Ian Rowland - possibly the world's foremost authority on how to get people to tell you things by pretending you already know. He lists thirty eight ways to do it, thirteen ways to avoid getting caught out, and ten ways to cover up when you do.

The People's Popular Front

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.”
- Tony Benn

My second conference in a week, this time the "World Against War International Peace Conference". Representatives from anti-war movements all over the world, addressing and debating over a thousand delegates in a dozen languages - with headphone translations.

It was both inspiring and productive, but rather than tell you about all that, I thought I'd tell you about the various little groups who weren't at the conference, but set up stalls outside it.

I spent time between forums asking them about themselves. There was the RCG, the CPGB-ML, Socialist Resistance, and the LFI. So who are these people? I'm glad you asked me.

The RCG (Revolutionary Communist Group) are Leninists (or orthodox Trotskyists, depending on who you ask) who split from the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party) after the RCP were expelled from the IS (International Socialists) who later became the SWP (Socialist Workers Party). The RCP later imploded and the remnants became the Institute for Ideas. Meanwhile the RCG expelled three of its members, who became the CF (Communist Forum).

The CPGB-ML (Communist Party of Great Britain - Marxist-Leninist) were a faction - formerly members of the ACW (Association of Communist Workers) - expelled from the SLP (Socialist Labour Party) who were a breakaway group from the Labour Party.

SR (Socialist Resistance) is an ecosocialist group formed mainly from the SSN (Socialist Solidarity Network) and the ISG (International Socialist Group). They joined the Respect coalition - together with the SWP, the IMG (International Marxist Group), the CPGB (Communist Party of Great Britain) and others, but not the SP (Socialist Party) or HOPI (Hands Off the People of Iraq, who are the CPGB in disguise). Then late this year a faction within Respect split away, calling itself Respect-Renewal.

Still with me? Well nevermind. Now, SR refuses to acknowledge the split has occurred, and is therefore part of both parties, which hate each other, have separate premises, finances and publications. Though only Respect-Renewal recognises SR, and seems to be under the impression that SR has dissolved itself.

The LFI? Oh, they're the League for the Fifth International, a coalition around the MSF (Movement for a Socialist Future) which believes all the existing socialist groups are too weighed down with ideological baggage and mutual enmity, so advocates starting a new grassroots group from scratch.

They recently expelled several members, who became the PRT (Permanent Revolution Tendency).

Update: Videos of all the speakers are on YouTube, linked to here.