You Loo Lay Shun

My latest SongFight effort:

Kapitano - Circle

There's some audio glitches in the vocals, but there was no time to re-record, so this is more a 'proof of concept' than a finished song.

Ah but proof of what concept? Well, here's the lyrics:

Verse 1:
udu mbu adu (muza zimba)
uwa ungi iba (mudu ngu)
ngu ndu uzi (hawa yami)
wadinga wa ma (buwamu mbu)

Chorus 1:
ba nu du (duma iha mi)
la ni (bimbi azu da)
ba hu lu (nili uwa hi)
lu hi (zihi gayu na)

Verse 2:
ala nda uza (dangu zimbi)
unda mba ngu (wawi nima)
ungi aha ugi (diwi wiyu)
wihanda mi zu (zabagu duwa)

Chorus 2:
zi du gu (zingu ilu ya)
ba ni (yangu azi gu)
hu gi da (giyu umu mi)
zi ngi (yandi mbu yu)

Vowels from (more or less) Arabic, Consonants and morphophonemics (rules about which sounds can follow each other) from (more or less) Swahili, and a little program to generate 'words' in a language which doesn't exist.

The way I see it, if you've got nothing to say, why have lyrics that say anything? It's much more interesting to play with sound than to write rhyming couplets that work better when you don't know the language.

Organ Donor

I used to think I was disorganised. Then I took to spending most of my life with academics and socialists. Both groups tend to be highly intelligent and committed, both are kind and generous people, and neither could organise raindrops to fall downwards.

If a socialist party tried make a cup of tea, they'd design a leaflet featuring a graphic of a raised fist to announce the event, reschedule it at least twice, and redesign the leaflet with three days to go because someone noticed a spelling mistake.

There'd be a deep philosophical debate about how water transforms into steam when it boils - in spite of the fact that no one in the room knows basic physics. Someone will insist on crowdsourcing the kettle, someone else will call the others reactionary bourgeois crypto-idealists because they put the milk in first...

And a small group will resign on principle because that's not how Lenin made tea in 1914.

Academics would draft a funding proposal, stare at a cup of warm water for a month, then hurriedly draw a graph, fudge the figures to make them fit a curve, and publish in the Journal of Applied Infusionomics - on why the kettle exploded.

I'm not joking about the philosophical debate, by the way. Engels, Trotsky and lesser figures like Ted Grant all used boiling water as a both a metaphor for social change and an example of something bourgeois ideology can't explain - and badly mangled their highschool thermodynamics.

Terms like convection and latent heat weren't even mentioned - which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't insist that they understood 'real' science better than the scientists.

Anyway, a week ago I got a call from a (non-socialist, actual scientist) academic, to the effect that they were being booted out of their flat, and needed short term accommodation - and did I know anyone who wanted a tennant?

So I found someone with a spare bedroom. The proposed date of moving changed three times, and the offered rent kept going down - and suddenly the bedroom wasn't spare anymore. Meanwhile my friend with the PhD had had offers from three family members to stay with them - which he turned down on the grounds that dear old Kapitano was fixing him up with something better. He told everyone Kapitano is good at fixing things.

I phoned around for an alternative - unfortunately my phone is full of socialists, who all want to do the right thing, but have something in their makeup which means they can't do it soon. Ah, the number of meetings I've sat through ponderously debating how to organise a, erm, rapid response to something.

So, four days before eviction, my friend took me and others out for an extremely nice (and embarrassingly expensive) meal, where I got to talk philosophy and politics with professors of fields I can barely spell. But as we were all drunk on expensive vodka, no one minded.

The tab was picked up by a very responsible fourteen year old boy, who'd been authorised by his father to entertain us on his (the father's) credit card. Somehow it made perfect sense at the time - though I hear the father is now being extremely frugal.

With three days to go, my friend said he could use some help packing...but first we could go out for a quiet drink, with optional hookah smoking and comparative religion discussion. About 1am the drink ended, and we were too tired to do any packing.

The same thing happened with two days to go, and I started to get the suspicion that maybe, just maybe, I had become the excuse for someone else's displacement activity. But I did get to do something useful, because he realised it would be a good idea, if he's moving all his stuff, to have some cardboard boxes to move it in.

So I scrounged some empty cardboard boxes from a friendly publican and a helpful shop owner. Forward planning is a useful skill, but not so useful as finding quick fixes when no one's done any forward planning.

With one day (actually nine hours) to go, we did all the packing. I'm not sure why one man needs thirty pairs of shoes (including a pair of rollerblades), four duvets and three large teddy bears...but I've got 50 teeshirts and every episode of Dr Who made since 1970, so I'm not going to judge.

There's the minor issue that the last-minute savior who said he'd provide accommodation isn't answering his phone, but as I haven't been called in a panic, that's presumably been sorted.

I did get something out of all this. Specifically, I got twenty pairs of castoff shoes, about ten kilograms of 'mixed spices', Two jars of 'Jordanian style coffee', a toasted-sandwich maker, some evil-smelling hair tonic (for my shaven head), a spare phone with a charger for a different phone...and quite a lot of green tea, which I'm about to try.

So this socialist is now going to make a cup of tea. Cheers.

Godwin was Wrong

Today I saw some nazis.

Some of them were boys in their late teens running away from anti-nazi protesters. The others were boys in their late teens being led away by police. Not so much brown shirts as brown trousers.

The EDL (English Defence League) had been planning for months to bus 15,000 into my home town, and march through it intimidating all the non-white people.

They kept changing their mind about the date and venue, but today managed 150, meeting in a park to listen to speeches about how muslims caused the recession, then march out of the park, around the corner and back into the park by the other entrance.

Meanwhile I was among 300 local anti-nazi protesters, in the pouring rain, holding a counter-rally in the town square the EDL had planned to march through.

It was a wide range of ages, nationalities and political persuasions, and I didn't know most of them. But we did have a clutch of hip young things who'd brought their own chants. I'm used to chants like:

Caller: Whose street?
Response: Our street!
Caller: Whose world?
Response: Our world!


Caller: Auschwitz?
Response: Never again!
Caller: Belsen?
Response: Never again!
Caller: Treblinka?
Response: Never again!

But they had a slew of new lyrics to old songs, like:

(To She'll be Coming Round the Mountain)
We are black, white and asian.
And we're jews.
(And we're gay)
We are black, white and asian.
And we're jews.
(And we're gay)
We are black, white and asian.
Black, white and asian.
Black, white and asian.
And we're jews.
(And we're gay)

There are many more of us than
There are you.
(Nazi scum) etc.

I got to practice this and some more vitriolic numbers whenever small knots of EDLers appeared and tried to charge into us. Some tried to swagger, most looked a bit lost and didn't resist as the police guided them back to the flock. One or two tried to fight the police - never a good idea.

We did this from midday for three hours - after which the EDL disappeared to watch a football match. There's a long tradition linking far right politics and soccer, and they'd obviously thought they could get higher attendance if the day trip included a soccer match. Perhaps they did.

I turned for home, passing an officer. Our eyes met briefly.

"That was relatively painless."
"Yeah, more or less."

Not the Next Generation

I has done a hip hop. Let me show you it.

Kapitano - Generation eXit

I did it for SongFight under the title "Ruthless Lately", though I think my title is better, so there. This is an alternative version I decided not to submit - which means dear readers, this is an exclusive mix just for you :-).

Here's the lyrics. Spot the Leonard Cohen reference.

The words mean nothing, just a
Way to fill the empty space, a
Way of marking time, like it
Needed marking anyway.

Fashion's what you do when you
Don't know what you want to be
Style's what they promise when you
Give them all your money.

Verse 1
The words mean nothing, just a
Way to fill an empty song, the
Space between the bass and the
Air with nothing going on.

Fashion's a disguise when you
Don't know who you want to seem
Style's what you buy that's why it's
Called the music industry

They can package everything
Anything you throw at them
Everything you hate about them
Sell it back to you again, your

Childhood in mp3, your
paranoid conspiracy, you
own sexuality, your
personal reality

This is Generation eXit
Calling home
That was Generation eXit
Calling home

Verse 2
They used to tell me I was living truthless
I turn around and start to make it ruthless

Ideas mean nothing just a
Way to fill an empty head
Faker man is cooking books 'cos
Baker man is baking bread.

First we take Manhattan
Then we take a spin, used to
Love me as a loser now you're
Looking for a hotter sin

Any clever man won't understand
What's what if their
Happiness depends upon them

It doesn't matter what the answers are if
They can make the questions wrong, the
Lyrics mean nothing just a
Noise to fill an empty song

Gone Soft

I haven't been a computer programmer since the early 90s. But I still dabble occasionally, and now I've written an amazingly useful program - which you can download and use as much as you want.

My program...waggles the mouse pointer every few minutes. Possibly not the most called-for bit of software, but it solves a problem I've been having with Windows 7 - it goes into standby mode after a few hours, even when I've told it not to.

I've set it to make me a few hundred audiobooks with a text-to-speech reader, which means leaving it to run unattended for a few days while it ploughs through them. Sometimes it's really useful to have a spare laptop for doing things like that.

Anyway, when you run my little program it asks how many minutes to leave between wagglings, then proceeds to waggle forever - or until you press the 'Break' key to stop it. Hibernation, sleep mode, standby and screensavers are avoided, and the laptop does its work uninterrupted.

You can get my program here. Unfortunately you'll have to rename it from "MouseNudge.txt" to "MouseNudge.exe", because GoogleSites won't let me store .exe files.

There's also KeyNudge, which does exactly the same thing, but presses the entirely unused Right-Win key instead.

Happy waggling.