May 12th, 2006


Friday stuff

I just don't seem to be posting at present, partly because of various pre-publication things - I am on Night Waves at 9.30 on Radio Three discussing 'Brick' - and partly because I am engaged in a 'tidying the flat' exercise. Workmen are coming in on the 12th of next month, and I will need to live in rather fewer rooms for a month, which means now is the time for disposing of all those crappy VHS tapes of opera off the TV, and taking Interzone stacks down to the BSFA, and throwing out all clothes now too small for me to wear ever again...

Oh, and Tauris and I have signed contracts for 'Hobbits, Androids and Dinosaurs', the second Reading SF Film book, and have said yes to me and jennyo doing the Nip/Tuck As Queer Reading Of Heterosexuality book. So if anyone wants to contribute to that, just let me know.

I seem to have pulled my piece from Stacey Abbott's Alias book, which is mutually embarrassing, but we have irreconcilable attitudes to rewriting, style and allied issues. Sometimes bullets have to be bitten and in due course I will post it here, after rewriting it to take account of everything that happens in the runup to season end.

I've finished a draft of my Barnesville paper, which is the Whedon chapter from the Superheroes! book.


The Afghan hijackers affair reveals precisely why Tony Blair is now too tired to go on being PM. I don't like his policies, and I don't like his style, but the important issue is that Prime Ministers have to remember that they are part of a constitutional arrangement which has rules. They can't just change those rules because they are not happy with outcomes.

The hijackers were arrested and duely tried and convicted on their arrival in this country; it was decided to allow their families to settle here, and not be charged with complicity, on the grounds that they could not be proved to have known what was planned. The Appeal Court decided that under law as it stood at the time, and with the Taliban in power, hijacking a plane to get your families out from under was the act of a reasonable person, and set them free.

The only reason this is still an issue is that successive Home Secretaries did not like this decision. It is, of course, always open to Home Secretaries and Prime Ministers to propose new legislation that makes hijacking an offense in any circumstances and one whose perpetrators should not be able to circumvent immigration or refugee processes for them or their families. There is a good case for doing this to deter hijacking, though not a good one for doing it to placate the Daily Mail.

However, law is not made retrospectively. They were acquitted and reunited with their families and as far as that group goes, that should be the end of it. It is cheap and tacky for Blair to court popularity with the Sun and the Mail by going after them now.

While the Taliban are no longer in control in Afghanistan, it is hardly a place to which people now settled in this country for some years should be sent back.

Hard cases make bad law is a rule that cuts both ways. Given the Home Office's over-preparedness to send people back to intolerable situations - to face the private vengeance of divorced husbands now allied by marriage to corrupt but not actually tyrannical regimes, for example -, any time they lose is probably a good thing.

And if homophobia in Poland gets much worse, they may have to deal with refugees who are actually white.


Oh, and another review.

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Night Waves was fun and I am impossibly wired. I want to spend the rest of my life being someone that goes on the radio and talks about things I enjoy in a room full of other vaguely poncey intellectuals some of whom I know a bit.

I thought you could download it and play it, but I may have misunderstood. If someone understands the technology of the BBC Radio Three website better than I do, it would be a mitzvah for them to place the URL in comments and tell me how to hear myself.

Also, Susannah Clapp and the presenter Matthew were discussing 'Coriolanus' in terms of homoeroticism between Coriolanus and Aufidius. And I wanted to jump up and down shouting 'slashiness! you're talking slashiness!' It was sad to realize that they had the concept, but not the word.

Earlier, 'Sixteen Blocks'...Bruce Willis can be so good in quite mediocre films and Mos Def was wonderful. Is there going to be slash for this, do you think?