Primary Secondary Tertiary

Conventional Wisdom states that at least one candidate will drop out after today’s Super Seven Primaries. However, in a Primary campaign, Conventional Wisdom is often found drunk at the bottom of a deserted alleyway, beaten up by teenage kids brought up on a diet of that rap and hip-hop filth that torments today’s youth (™ & © Bill O’Reilly). Two months ago, John Kerry was a Loser, destined to slink back to Massachusetts and become Ted Kennedy’s shadow once more. Now, he has a seven percent lead over President Bush in the polls. But what happened to Dean?

It always was a high-risk strategy. Dean, being seen as a hard-line left choice, was going to find it very difficult to pick up anything from today's elections. The plan was to have resounding wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and thus get them over the hump. The wheels came off a week before the Iowa caucus, and it's been a bad ride ever since. Due to the new method of proportional representational selection of delegates, Dean's failure to win any contest so far doesn't rule him out of the running, and failure to win any of today's won't remove him from the race either. The key state is the Wisconsin primary two weeks from now. In December, he had a 20% lead over all his rivals; if he can't capture the majority of the 87 delegates there, the Money Men will step in and demand their Menaces.

But who shall stand and who will fall today? If Edwards doesn't win South Carolina, he's promised that he'll drop out. And, being the sort of person who wants to believe, I think he will, although if he loses by a few hundred votes he may decide to reconsider. I don't think anybody else will drop out after today; Kucinich and Sharpton are both nuts enough to carry on without any semblance of support, Clark might do better in some of the upcoming contests, and Lieberman, well, he's like the Zombie Candidate: no matter what you do to him, he keeps coming. Hated by most of his party! ZING! Saddled with the taint of defeat from four years ago! BOING! Even his running mate from last time would rather have a crazed left-wing lunatic who'll nationalise the all American industry and rip up NAFTA rather than support him! PING! Comes a woeful fifth in the New Hampshire primary, despite being a high-profile contender! NOTHING STOPS ZOMBIE LIEBERMAN! ZRRR!

currently playing: Primal Scream — Swastika Eyes

The Chair of Power

Okay, I’m now convinced. The chair of the Home Secretary is some Evil force, that corrupts anyone who sits in it for any length of time. How else can you explain this? I mean, why does he even want trials? Given the lack of chance for an accused to defend themselves, Blunkett might as well go for the jugular and re-introduce the witch tests. If he sinks, he’s innocent! If he floats, he’s a dirty terrorist!

MAN 1: I'll just need to see some ID.

MAN 2: I'm sorry?

MAN 1: Your police ID.

MAN 2: But I'm not a cop?

MAN 1: Really? Well, then you've been misleading me. £1,500, and not a penny less.

MAN 2: Curses!

MAN 1: Aha! You've behind hoist by your own petard!

MAN 2 (checks his person): I don't have any Elizabethan explosives on me, I'm afraid. Shall we call it £1,000?

MAN 1: Oh, go on, then.

currently playing: The Flaming Lips - Can’t Get You Out of My Head

We Control The Wibbly Dial On The Left

February, then. A new month, and hopefully a return to normal service. Unless I get called out to Austria in the next few weeks. Leap year as well, so that’s another day to fill with nonsense and gibberish. I think I’m up to it.

MAN 1: That’ll be £1,250 for the car, then. You can’t say fairer than that.

MAN 2: Surely I can.

MAN 1: No, I don’t think you can.

MAN 2: Really?

MAN 1: Really.

MAN 2: “Fairer than that.”

MAN 1: It’s a fair cop. Shall I take £150 off?

MAN 2: That would be splendid, thank you.

currently playing: Garbage — Breaking Up The Girl

Two Hearts In 3/4 Time

Two songs for the weekend, one old, one new. Oooh.

  • RadioheadPolyethylene (Parts 1 & 2)

    This is a b-side from "Paranoid Android", and harkens back to The Bends, rather than OK Computer; i.e. lots of guitars and less wailing. I know that some of my readers have stated a preference for this type of Radiohead song, so this one's for all of you.

  • Divine ComedyCome Home Billy Bird

    Neil Hannon is back with a new album! Yay! This is rumoured to be the first single, to be released sometime in March. I like songs that tell a story, and I like songs that tell a story with a twist in the tale even more. And it has Lauren Laverne on backing vocals. I really can't ask for anything else, can I?

currently playing: Saint Etienne - Burnt Out Car

Oh dear. Oh dear.

Hi, I’m Michael Eisner. I’m in a lot of trouble.

currently playing: Bob Dylan - Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

The Madness Has Me

My MP3 player is on random play, and Metal Machine Music has just come on. Do I skip over it? No. I’m actually enjoying it…

currently playing: Lou Reed — Metal Machine Music (Side 4) (as if it matters —Ed.)

SNOW!

currently playing: New Order — Bizarre Love Triangle

Dispatches

A fun week, all told. A Newsweek poll indicates that Kerry has a 49-46 lead against Bush, some people discover that the Daley Machine is alive and well in Chicago, and Dean begins to claw some of his momentum back, while Lieberman starts lashing out at all comers, decrying violent video games and laying claim to the ghost of Kennedy. Kerry, of course, trumps this by providing a live Kennedy; nine times out of ten, the voters prefer a living breathing body to a corpse (poor, poor John Ashcroft).

As the primaries are proportional (anybody who gets over 15% of the vote in a primary will gain some delegates), the lion's share of the nut will go to Kerry, with Dean coming in a distant second, and the others fighting for the leftovers. With hope, this will be the night that Joe Lieberman is chased out of the contest like the failure he is, but doubtless he'll hang on until South Carolina sends him packing. That will leave Kerry with 42 delegates, over double his closest rival (Edwards). But…the Democrat Convention selects the nominee from a vote of 4,321 delegates, so a win in NH means little except for the momentum. Next week is where things get really interesting, as there's over 100 delegates at stake, including Missouri which was a Gephardt lock until last week, to the extent that only one candidate (Dean) has even bothered campaigning there…

currently playing: Bran Van 3000 — Speed

The More Things Change

The argument was familiar. I had even made it myself, here and there, but I was beginning to sense something very depressing about it. How many more of these goddamned elections are we going to to have to write off as lame but ‘regrettably necessary’ holding actions? And how many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between two evils?

— Hunter S. Thompson, January, 1972

currently playing: Belle & Sebastian — If She Wants Me

It's Cold Out But Why Should We Care

The ultimate evolution of the British shoegazing and jangly pop genres of the 1980s. Disco Inferno’s work was so far ahead of its time that it ripped a vortex in the space-time continuum, sucking the band out of our time-line and propelling them to the far reaches of the 21st century. They wait for us there, composing compressed pop master pieces for our arrival. Their abrupt removal from our history has left us with the briefest echoes of what was and what could have been, of adventurous pop backed with MIDI triggers and sonic collage, of complex lyrics and the tune of an engaged phone, of life and hope itself. From their final album, Technicolour, this is “I’m Still In Love”, possibly the only love song in history to be sung to the backing of fireworks.

Disco InfernoI'm Still In Love

(If you like the track, and want to hear more, let me know. Technicolour is stuffed full of quality items, and everybody on the planet needs to hear the Summer's Last Sound/Love's Stepping Out 12")

currently playing: Sleater-Kinney — The Hot Rock