Finland finally have win the Eurovision song contest with Lordi's Hard Rock Hallelujah (awfully lo-res video of their performance), threatening unbelievers with a day of rockening. After 51 years of really trying. After countless national-inferiority-complex-aggravating zero, more nil-scores than every other competing nation combined (don't quote that last statistic in any context demanding an accurate reference; it is merely a well-educated guess).
But there is other interesting stuff to come out of Finland lately, too.
This is the third week of the Helsingin Sanomat (Helsinki News, Finland's largest circulation broadsheet newspaper) reality videoblog competition: "Sinustako matkaopas - Could you be a travel guide?" (Note the laconic succinctness of the language.)
The premise is as follows: take five couples, send them all for a weekend in a randomly chosen European city, they each produce short videos about the city and post them to the blogit.hs.fi website, people vote by text message to eliminate one couple each week. Please to check some of the videos out; a selection presented below. They stream without delay. Seamless web design. Finnish technology.
The videos, my inside source told me, are done on a Nokia N91 phone, one of which is given to each couple, which not only records video to its internal hard drive, but edits it too, ready for broadcast. Revolutionary. Finnish technology.
Why do we like this so much? The videoblog competition is, for a start, something rather innovative for a traditional print newspaper of record to be doing with their website. Nokia have regained their edge in the mobile phone market. And it's all so very Transmet.
Transmetropolitan has been described here before - one of the most compelling and convincing dark future dystopias, in any medium. How much "speculative" sci-fi has - fuck warp drives or turbolasers - contemplated with any intelligence what the over-saturation of media, information and communications technology, combined with ubiquitous chemical self-programming, is doing to the human mind?
Foucault, Lyotard and their French post-modernist ilk indigestible? Read Transmet instead: hyper-reality and near-future anomie and alienation in glorious technicolour. Links: Warren Ellis (writer) interview, succinct Wired magazine obit for the ended series, plot summaries with disarmingly non-intellectualist commentary, Flash movie demonstrating the main character Spider Jerusalem's icy cool motherfucker-ness.
Selection of videos from the competition
Realising few of you will be conversant in Finnish, here is a selection of videos which may be appreciated nonetheless. These are from the first two weeks, encompassing first Amsterdam and then Berlin.
Vague psychedelia in Amsterdam... this couple's videos have without a doubt been the most creative, but apparently not to the taste of the puritan Finns, as they were just voted out in Oslo this weekend (the third couple to go) [update & correction: they're still in, head to head with my man Ukko from Rovaniemi in the finals]. The girl's face distorted strangely by a multiple reflection is saying "don't smoke wacky-baccy... beware the wacky-baccy... oh, don't touch them jazz cigarettes..."
Another of theirs... A stroke of true genius, this is the talking thumb guide-book (instantly recalling the Hitch-Hiker's Guide). Its Amsterdam entry says: "It is good to remember that you can do other things in Amsterdam apart from hallucinate in a cafe. If you want your own windmill, remember to have at least 4m euros handy. You will also need a license. Your own window on the red-light street will cost you 350 euros per day. More than anything, you should just enjoy this land of strangely speaking funny people. Have a nice day."
In this clip from Berlin, a female contestant does a brilliant impersonation of Inspector Harjunpaa (the two last "a"s are meant to have dots on top), the archetypal Finnish TV cop.
Again in Berlin, watch this if you wish to learn both the Finnish and the German for the following phrases: where are my sausages?, I have a beer in my leather trousers, I'm hungry, let's eat some ice-cream, where is the nearest cock-fight, please?, and vote for the best, vote for #1!
My old friend Ukko (this is a rare and etymologically fascinating name, meaning both "old git", "geezer" or "[old] man", as well as being the thunder-god of the ancient pagan Finns) has taken a hard journalism route; no fucking around with psychedelics in Amsterdam or with 2-litre German beer steins. Here he interviews former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho at the airport (who doesn't say anything interesting, but he has uniquely loveable eyebrows), and here, a possibly boring video which ends on a cheerful bi-lingual double-entendre: the statue they are leaning on is inscribed "Multatuli", Finnish for "I just came! (or should that be cummed, in correct internet porno-speak?) I just jizzed!"
Ukko was a junior sergeant in the military police. Come wartime, it would be his job to round up deserters from the glorious Finnish army like fucking Mikey and shoot him. Unfortunately, he lost his job after giving an interview revealing pacifist, anarchist and dope-smoking tendencies to an alternative Helsinki newspaper. Equally unfortunately, around the same time the Finnish Army lost several valuable super-bright high-pressure arc lights (ideal for growing cannabis indoors) from a firing range which junior sergeant Ukko's detachment was guarding. As it happens, U's old man is a psychiatrist, and when Mikey still had a Finnish passport (he can lay claim to no less than four passports, just like your humble scribe) and he got a letter from the government the other day, opened it and read it and said they were suckers... they wanted me for their army or whatever, picture me giving a damn, I said never... he declared that gutter-trash unfit for service on mental health grounds, right there and then, in a MacDonald's in the underground shopping-centre beneath Helsinki's central railway station.
Largely spurious mental health grounds, and unnecessary, as Mikey did a runner to the safety of the warmer climes he was dragged up in (the story is referenced here, in the book review towards the end of the post, of The Dice Man for "Life-Changing Books"; the first confirmed piece of writing attributed to Ishmael Smith). Once, Mikey was detained at the airport while visiting Hell... sinki for stupidly using the wrong passport to enter the country (this was before Schengen) and almost being arrested for AWOL'ism. Now, those mental health grounds have become quite real... evidenced by the fact that if it happened again, the stupid fucker would actually probably volunteer for service, despite being almost too old by now, provided he got to be a helicopter door-gunner and got sent on active duty, peace-keeping in Kosovo or something.
(The flag; the Monty Python Finland song is available for illegal download here. Do the righ-click "save link as" procedure.)
Here is a page about the swastika (the "I'm not a Nazi swastika gallery"). There are some beautiful variations and interpretations of this ancient and powerful symbol.
Some of the swastikas link to further pages. Under the pro-Nazi swastikas, I hope you took the opportunity to click on the Thule Society symbol which leads to a readable article about the Thule Geselleschaft (with just one or two insignificant historical inaccuracies). This is of interest on realgem due to the way it demonstrates the extent to which occult societies shaped early Nazi and thereby almost the whole world's history. The article mentions the Occult Bureau within war-time MI5 (the Rudolf Hess gig would probably have been one of their projects - it is not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, but his flight to Britain was largely prompted by spurious astrological forecasts fed to him by British intelligence), and notes that the independence of the USA was a Masonic project. This, in turn, takes us to Skull & Bones and Bohemian Grove territory (the latter a link to Alex Jones's site... a bizarre combination of fascinating hard journalism and breathlessly earnest conspiracy nut - obligatory credibility disclaimer and statement of skepticism; I am after all, an academic essayist and journalist of some standing)
- the continuing influence of occult or quasi-occult organisations in the highest corridors of power. While we are on the subject you may wish to poke around the internet (or avail yourself of this link) for the Kay Griggs interview (former wife of an abusive and alcoholic high-up Special Forces and PsyOps officer with dirty secrets). The use of homosexual intimidation / initiation in the military / political elite which she describes relates to our Imperial British project (rum, sodomy and the lash... le vice anglais etc...)
This is a continuing realgem theme, as I gently steer Lazy away from his junkie narcissism. My own little distraction at the moment ("yes, I've written a few trifling monographs on the subject ...") is the sketching out of the notes for a historical epic, perhaps a trilogy of novels, revealing or darkly hinting at the black magic rotten heart of the British Empire (carrying on the mantle of the Romans; now passed on to the Americans).
MAKE NO MISTAKE, A BLACK IRON CAGE SURROUNDS US
Look in the sidebar - there is a blog called Holy Smokes!!!, kept by one NARDAC, one of my first blogging friends/acquaintances [then why didn't you know that she is on nardac.blogsome, fool - I.:.S.:.], and the only one to guess correctly in the realgem competition (the knife photo referred to can be seen here - scroll down a little). First she linked me, then she didn't, then she did again, then she didn't. Why? She told me once, in no uncertain words, that I should MOVE THE FUCK ON from whingeing about a) my addiction and b) the woman I married who broke my heart (but that was all a good long time ago), and just write good old stories like I used to. I can't find the original email conveying this sentiment, so instead, I reproduce an example of the charming sort of thing I used to leave in her comments section ages ago, the point being - how can NARDAC possibly not like me?
"And, it's true...Paris has put me to the test but I am now officially bilingual."[says Nardac, who lives in Paris]I am getting the valium-sodden sensation of circling and circling the point I want to make, without quite being able to... Why do I bring this up? Because here is ONE MORE POST about the HEROIN, and there is ONE MORE POST about THAT WOMAN, and then, onto other things.
My deepest respect and admiration and thank you very many! Every one of us Anglophone who learn to speaking other language make good karma for the cursed Anglo-Saxon English-speaking planetary cancer! May God blessing you! Thank you please!
Posted by M to holy smokes!!! at 2/18/2005 05:05:21 PM
My head is spinning, my head is all a vortex of difficult-to-express emotions and ideas, all vying for pre-eminence. I have... I am... I am here to write about IBOGAINE, "the cure" of the title. The cure for my heroin addiction, detailed throughout this blog, but perhaps best through April 2005 (not a great deal to scan through). Have no doubt I have been to the ends of desperation, have no doubt I've been to hell, have no doubt I have been ever so near to death by my own hand.
I have spent all day researching this miraculous African root-bark, this heavy shamanic hallucinogen, this healer-god in vegetable form. I have spent hours on the telephone with some of the leading specialists in its therapeutic use. The best-written summary of what it's all about is in this article, headed 'The Dreaming', reproduced from the Independent on Sunday (London) in 1999. While the information is now dated, and there are now more practitioners using it in the UK and Europe (though still not many), it is a fine piece of writing, a great piece of feature-writing, and incidentally, wins a prize for the best use of a William S Burroughs quote in a quality broadsheet feature article ever.
My head is spinning: with sheer joy and relief; with a near-religious awe; with gratitude to the people (particularly Edward Conn) who took the time to speak to me today; with sadness; and anger, fierce and burning; these, and many other things - most of all, perhaps sheer information overload. And so I don't know how to write about this at all. Read the IoS article.
I knew about ibogaine before. I knew it was a shamanic psychedelic used by certain African tribes, which by accident, a New York junkie in 1969 discovered had the property of instantly curing the Sickness.
It is expensive, whether I choose to obtain some myself, or sign up for therapy. Does not matter. No obstacle at all. I have faith in it, and nothing else matters.
It is not necessarily a pleasant experience. It strips down your ego, cleans and oils the parts, and reassembles it.
It can remove 85-100 per cent of withdrawal symptoms in one night.
It has been described by some psychiatric specialists as "10 years of therapy in one night".
It has been known about in the West for over 35 years now. Why is it illegal in the USA, and not receiving the attention it should elsewhere?
If you were a pharmaceuticals giant in the business of making chemicals for drug "rehabilitation", which would you market - a pill that does the cure in one night, or a substitute medication like methadone or LAAM that leads to long-term "stability" (as the "experts" call it - a placid, law-abiding, comfortable, never-ending narcotic stupor)? The LAW WOULD REQUIRE YOU to maximise profits for the shareholders and choose methadone. Choose life... no... choose a half-life... forever... for millions of people you don't know... married to the methadone molecule, til death do us part. And the dollars keep rolling in.
That's where the anger comes from, and sometimes, anger can save.
I swear, I swear by the spirits of enforced wakefulness, by the things you see from the corners of your eyes when you would kill for something to put you to sleep and end the suffering, that I will heal myself and become powerful once more. And then I will fight them, fight the greedy fucking bastards, punish the deserving, fight them 'til I die.
And best of all, confused as lazy still may be, realgem is back! realgem endures...
:::coming up on realgem:::
-that was the last heroin post (pace NARDAC); now the last post about that woman
-more on the occult history of the British Empire
-the coolest man on Earth
-the best Sunday hang-out in London
-books and journalism review
-and much, much more...
meanwhile, lazy and ishmael are racing each other to produce a splurge of vintage realgem shit like it used to be.
the problem is not a lack of material; no. we could fill pages and pages and pages effortlessly. but there is something holding that back, perhaps our well-documented fear of information overload; nothing but some sort of rudimentary sense of duty has motivated page-filler for a good while now... and look at, say, something from Feb to Oct 2005; we seem to recall that was a reasonable good spell. upcoming is also a set of side-bar links to classic posts.
editorial policy is changing focus from quality(?) to quantity, the "throw stuff at the wall and something will stick" or "throw enough hash crumbs in the fishtank and at least one of the goldfish will get stoned" school of thought.
publish and be damned, for ye are damned already
and at best, as a generator of what Brian disapprovingly called "slick, well-oiled... [and here he faltered in disgust, the Goan surf hissing benignly across the sand in the background]" phrases
recently, i was invited to join a secret society. however my morphine intake is still too high and therefore i cannot be initiated. something bad will probably happen to me now cause it's not secret any more. the only member i know of certainly has some fierce orixas, savage macumba spirits behind her, she is the demon princess who commands legions and strides the earth burning all like jengiz khan...
i wish the gentle and beautiful girl from south london came to see me more often (are you reading this?)
i've abandoned all pretence of an experiment in 1st person journalism (I'll let Mr Ishmael Smith take care of that) and this is here just to say hi to friends. hi mum!
[posted by lazy on Ishmael's account - i lost not just my password but my name)
To: xxx hotmail.com
Subject: a bit of whoop-ass
i like the american spelling ass better cause it's less germanic but anyway, sometimes it's good to be able to sit and concentrate too, hein? voltaire or maybe blaise pascal (i don't know why he would have any opinion on this subject, though) said something like man's troubles basically all stem from the fact that he can't just sit still, in a room, alone. what a bizarre observation, when you think about it.
now speaks the Zen meditation master:
NEGLECT NOT THY ZAZEN WHACK!!!!!
sit still and concentrate
yeah, on what? on enjoying *every* moment???????? can it be possible??
so this is my email to you, but because i'm lazy i'm going to put it on my blog, too, to save writing twice.
[posted by lazy on Ishmael's account - i lost not just my password but my name]
Russia impresses me. The blatancy of the elitny crass noveau-riche kleptocrat oleaginousgarchs. The fact that the place is so blatantly fucked up (when I went to Viipuri/Viborg, the historic city taken from Finland during the Second World War, it was cratered and collapsed walls blocked back streets and it looked like it hadn't been repaired since the war), when Strategic Rocket Command outside Moscow have their electricity cut off for non-payment, and yet they have a fucking space programme!
I am, as you know, a great believer in Space and in exploration of other planets. When I saw that (Sir) Richard Branson (Brit entrepreneur, Virgin brand) was investing in commercial space-flight, I was pleased, and I wrote him a letter to that effect. Then I told him the artist's impression of the first Virgin Galactic flight in 2012 or whenever, a spaceship painted in Virgin colours, had made me think of a submarine, and would he like a submarine (with portholes for 12 passengers) painted in Virgin colours for some publicity stunt, and it would only cost him £300k (this being the size in the gap of the budget of my submarine-building friend of a friend). I got a polite letter back from him saying no. I'll reproduce our correspondance, only I can't find it right now, and tell you the whole story later. Well. When the final human leaves earth for that final time and looks around and the sun will be big and red burning the orange-haze sky... yes, I'm sure it will be most poignant.
Perhaps some of the occasional visitors who still get lost here are wondering what happened to fucking Mikey? Well, he is alive... We must remember the function of the blog also as a method for old friends and family wanting to know the news, like this. Look, here he is: What?!? That webcam has been running all this time? Even when I... That time when...? Jesus God.
In the shadows, we plot our return. The phrase "oleagenous omega male" has stuck in our mind and we wish we could forget it. Other snippets include: Colby Buzzell (God, Americans have funny names) of "My War" milblog fame (there is nothing there now but rave reviews of My War: Killing Time in Iraq) has his book out, and since then, Esquire have sent the lad on assignment here to Londonistan, to write story about graffiti artist Banksy (why Banksy? Someone asked just now whether this stuff (scroll down) was by Banksy - no, that's by Arofish, who have done his stencil art on walls in Baghdad and Gaza strip, being arrested by US Army for anti-Coalition graffiti, as well as the South London tunnel which is his sketchbook), as well as a few pieces on the war itself. His writing style, idiosyncratic like fucking Mikey's, pleases us; and Esquire, in general, is a fine magazine. I wonder how conscious the wish was that the war would make him as a writer? (Because the wish was there - certainly - though how conscious, if at all, we don't know. More on this idea later, using example from fucking Mikey's life.)
I know how this grates on Mikey. He has many times complained about the... about this, how you say? Modern life. How there is nothing, nothing to do which will put him in physical danger, test his wits to their limits, force him to think sharp, force him to deal with people well (psychology, psychology); challenge him on every side. To the point that (I know this because I hear him on telephone speaking about it today) he would like to be spy, like to be special forces, like to be war correspondent, some boyish adventure fantasy like this. Instead, he say, he have no choice but to dull his mind with opiates. And similarly, this purgatory of addiction, and the challenge of maintaining functioning meanwhile, gives him sense of extreme experience with the masses unshared which he crave for.
I am glad to say, though, there are signs of many improvement. He is even considering taking up writing again ("You're a writer? What a limited remit..." I have heard him say, on other hand.) Here is the danger (do not take this lightly) of one who achieves their dreams (humble as they may have been) and then... and then what? What is there to do else? No, I think he is waking up to find new dreams. Paradoxy as that may sound. But he has lost his desire to record all on the flickering page, one confessional among a million; and the story does nothing but repeat itself. Nor will this ever become a collection of links, but some other form it must assume. The experiment in citizen journalism. The experiment.
Other snippets include: Pete Doherty shooting heroin in the tabloids. Oh, he have picked up the needle. Some months ago it was still the foil. Look, Peter, what will happen to your arms (and then your hands, and then your feet, and then your legs). And remember to enjoy while it lasts.
(Funny story apropos this: the former gentleman landlord ask Doc O, after Mikey moved house, "How did he manage to get blood on the ceiling?" Doc O had to explain: after the veins in the forearm collapse, there is method whereby you swing your arm around around (thus spraying blood from any previous missed hits) to force all blood into hands, then pull belt tight around wrist and jab one of the bulging veins.)
And Indigobusiness, though he cannot acquire the taste for Jagermeister, now has blog devoted solely to absinthe. It is a fine drink, but remember to find the one which has high wormwood (I believe thujone? is the psychoactive) content. Indigobusiness is the one who kindly designed the glowing green realgem heading, by the way; I have added a thank-you to that effect at the bottom of the page.